Addressing the parents of kids aged 1-3, the parenting educator shares some valuable advice to help parents handle kid mischief.
Have you ever noticed a toddler doing the exact opposite of what they're asked to do? Sometimes, they just do things much faster when the parents actually tell them to stop doing it. Others may find it funny but for the parents, it is a nightmare. Especially, in a group setting, the parents' embarrassment makes them just lose it on their child. Very few parents have cracked the code for making their kids listen and act accordingly but that does not come easy and needs a lot of practice and patience. Parenting educator, Jon—who goes by @wholeparent on TikTok—share why toddlers do the opposite of what they are told and gave a simple solution to tackle this issue and many find it useful.
Jon began his video by saying, "Parents of kids ages 1 2 3... This one's for you." His main advice to the toddler parents is to stop giving negative directions. He then explained, "I'm not saying you can't tell your kid not to do something or to stop doing something or don't do something," and added, "I'm saying that saying it that way is incredibly ineffective." Jon then introduced himself and said, "I help people parent better." Talking about why parents should not say negative statements, the coach said, "It's incredibly ineffective because of the way that little kids' brains interpret language."
"Generally speaking, they work backward from the end of the sentence and grab the first verb they find, then they will move on to the rest," explained Jon. To paint a clear picture of how a toddler's brain works, he gave a few examples. "When you say 'No, don't touch that,' what they hear first is the 'Touch that'. When you say 'Stop running,' what they hear first is 'running.'" He then mentioned humorously, "This is why they can look dead a** in the face and just do it anyway."
Explaining this "opposite" behavior, Jon said, "It's not that they're trying to be defiant all the time. It's usually just that their brains are still developing." In his video's caption, he pointed out, "Negative directions are really complicated for new brains. For one, we are trained to focus on the end of sentences because the meaning usually comes at the end. So little brains have to first work out the command and then reverse it… they usually stop before they get to that." So he advised the parents with a few examples, "Instead, give them affirmative alternatives. 'Let's walk', 'Let's leave that on the ground', 'Let's go over here' and see how that works."
Thousands of responses came in and several parents related to Jon's advice. One user @cheezwizzer commented, "Thank you, thank you! I wish more parents would understand kids aren’t trying to be bad they are just babies." Since Jon mentioned that the kids process the language backward, another user @roamingheifer jokingly wrote, "Not my brain wanting to say 'running stop' or 'touch that don't.'" One parent @charlieriv1990 wrote, "Even with my 12-month-old, saying 'No don’t do that,' she just smiles and keeps going. If I say 'Leave that alone please,' she usually stops."