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Don't Busters for Parents

Updated on July 2, 2012

Improve Your Children's Lives by Removing the word "Don't" from your vocabulary

One Simple Change = More Better Now

Remove the word "don't"  (which is really a contraction of the verb "do" and the word "not").

So, the mantra is really to remove the word "not" from your vocabulary, but as most of us use "don't" more than "not," I call it the "Don't Busters" Program.


Why avoid the words "Don't" and "Not"?

Because your brain ignores the word "not."

In fact, your brain focuses on all of the other words in the sentence. Watch this:

"Son, do NOT touch that hot stove."

Hmmm, thinks little Johnny, a hot stove, huh . . .

Why? Because even though you said the word "not" louder and tried to emphasize it, little Johnny's brain heard, "Son, do touch that hot stove."

(My neighbor realized the truth of this when her golf game improved by mentally saying "land on the far side of the water trap" instead of saying "don't land in the water"!)

Rate Your Addiction

It's told to us since before we could walk or talk. We've become addicted to the words "not" and "don't."

Rate your addiction.

Jot down today how many times you use the words "not" and "don't."

If it's less than 10 times, either your brain is ignoring the words automatically or you are lightyears ahead of the rest of the pack!

Most people say "not" and "don't" more than 50 times a day.

"Don't" = Law of Attraction Sabotage

The result of Americans' addition to "don't" and "not"? We continually state - usually vehemently and passionately - what we do not want.

We actually have very little practice at stating affirmatively, confidently and calmly what we DO want.

Want to test that theory? Read on.

Simple Example

What would you say to a child splashing water out of the tub?

"Little Sally, please don't do that."

How would you eliminate the word "don't?" [Most parents are absolutely dumb-founded by this question.]

Okay, take a breath. What do you want Sally to do?

[not to splash the water!] See how addicted we are? And then, you're going to try to replace all of this negativity, this negative-oriented energy and language with 10 minutes of meditation and reading a wonderful book on abundance.

Change this one negative, insiduous habit today, and your actions will speak louder than any words in any abundance book!

Okay, back to our situation, what DO you want little Sally to do? Yes . . .

"Sally, please keep the water in the tub."

Quiz Yourself - [answers below]

How would you convert the following statements into affirmative statements about what you DO want? [And, oh, by the way, do these sound familiar to you? If you were ever a child, you heard them. If you are a parent, you've said them.]

  1. Hurry up, I don't want to be late.
  2. Suzie, no running in the school.
  3. Nooo! Don't write on the wall, sweetie!
  4. I am NOT going to be talked to that way!
  5. Don't you take that tone with me young man.
  6. Don't spill the milk all over like that.
  7. Don't let the dog come in the house when he's all muddy like that.
  8. Oh, I hope I don't get another bill in the mail because I'm running low in my checking account as it is.
  9. I'm so tired, let's not go out tonight.
  10. I don't want to cook tonight.

Voila! Your New Positive Transformation

Positive statements to replace the negative ones above (and set your life back onto a positive, high energy course).

  1. Let's get going, I want to be on time.
  2. Suzie, walking only.
  3. Sweetie, let's write only on paper. Let's get some paper for you to write on.
  4. Please talk to me calmly and kindly.
  5. Please talk to me respectfully.
  6. Keep the milk in the bowl when you pour it.
  7. Dry off the dog before you let him in.
  8. I hope the next bill arrives after more money gets added to my checkbook.
  9. Let's stay home tonight.
  10. Let's eat out tonight. [or] Would you be willing to cook tonight?

Great Positive Book for Children About Children by Dr.Wayne Dyer

Incredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine through
Incredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine through

Teach your kids to be positive while they're young! Starting with - how to be positive about yourself!


Team UP

Do you have a partner or a spouse? Make an agreement to help each other with the "Don't Busters" Program.

Gently remind each other when one of you use the words "not" or "don't."

Note, I said GENTLY. For 3 big reasons:

1. Kids sense dissention in the ranks very quickly - if you "gently remind" the other person in front of the kids, you want it to appear to kids as a Team effort.

2. Most of us need alot of practice stating what we do want, which means that . . . our brains need some delay time between when we say "don't" and when we can conceptualize and articulate what we "do" want.

3. Sometimes we have choices about what we do want (like #10 above). So, in addition to the extra time needed to take the "I don't want to cook" feeling, to a "What DO I feel like doing?" thought, you also need time to choose between the multiple answers to that question.

Give each other space - especially with strong feelings - for your spouse or partner to say what he/she doesn't want. Validate that. Then encourage him/her to rephrase it into what he/she does want.

Remember, being a GREAT example is 100 times better than being a nudgy teammate. Be 100 times more aware of yourself than you are with others about this topic.

Watch Your Life Transform

Of course your life will transform because you will constantly be conceptualizing your life and surroundings in terms of what you DO want - and your language will be aligned with those thoughts.

Again, some of us are good at affirmations about specific goals, but put us in a day-to-day situation with kids splashing water, and our age-old automatic "don't" addiction kicks in. Wishing you,

All the Best,


Anyone can submit comments and questions - even if you are just visiting Squidoo (notice how I adroitly avoided the phrase, "even if you're NOT a Squidoo member"?).

YOUR Comments & Questions (go ahead, try to stump me w/a "not" conversion challenge!)

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    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 5 years ago

      @ViJuvenate: Thanks for visiting this lens on your special lens hunt, and thanks for the Purple Star that appeared after your visit!

    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 5 years ago

      @Ann Hinds: Thanks for "blessing" this lens! I soooo appreciate the support & helpful comments!

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      I agree that this is a focus we all should apply, but we also need to give our kids the skill of being able to accept a no or don't. They will run into them in their lives and they need to learn how to respond correctly. Still, you are absolutely correct that positive statements of action are typically far more effective than negative statement of inaction. For every 'stop', there needs to be a replacement 'go'. Today I am on a special lens hunt. Not telling the parameters, but this one was perfect! :o)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Not only am I blessing this but also adding it to one of the top ten in my children topics lens. I just wrote "I don't how I missed this one", and then caught the "don't" Now I have to figure out what I want to say. I must have overlooked this when I was in the neighborhood before. Great lens!

    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 6 years ago

      @reasonablerobby: Wow! That's a GREAT idea! I'll have to start using that as an example!

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      Great theme. I tell my student's about 'don't' and often say 'now don't think of a purple elephant' and ask them what happened!

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      i liked the word to use isntead of don't will be fun to try and not say it :)

    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 6 years ago

      @Senora M: Senora_M, Thanks so much for your SquidAngel Blessing!

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 6 years ago

      Great lens! Definitely something I need to do.


    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 10 years ago

      Rahul - You are a winner! Your email with a link for a free "Kids' Bank Book" will be emailed to you shortly! Thanks for stopping by & for reading with enthusiasm!

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      You have used NOT in following sentence below..not as a conflict...

      1. Kids sense dissention in the ranks very quickly - if you "gently remind" the other person in front of the kids, you want it to appear to kids as a Team effort, not as a conflict.

      my email: for free book.