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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How To Get Children To Stop Doing Something

If you are around children for any good quantity of time, you will know that there are times when you would give just about anything to make those children stop doing whatever it is that they are doing.  Perhaps they are make high-pitched screeching noises directly into your ear canal, or maybe they are repeatedly throwing wooden blocks into your face.  It would not at all surprise me to find them jumping up and down on the couch while eating ice cream sundaes.  But whatever it is that they are doing, you can rest assured that they are not going to stop doing it, especially when they know that what they are doing is naughty.  Kids love being naughty.

Therefore, we adults are left frustrated, plugging our ears and rubbing our faces, with seemingly no way to stop the behavior, short of physically picking up the child and throwing them out of the window.  But I have recently discovered the perfect way to get any child anywhere to immediately stop doing whatever it is they are doing.  I call this fool-proof method, "trying to get them to keep doing it."

When using the "trying to get them to keep doing it" method of trying to get them to stop doing it, you must remember that children will generally want to do the opposite of what you say.  "Reverse Psychology" some call it, but I take it further than that.  To really get the best effect, you should also try to take a picture or a video of whatever they are doing.  There is no better way to make a kid stop doing something than to try to take a picture of them doing it.  I cannot tell you how many times I have personally witnessed my children doing something adorable, which they have been doing over and over again for up to ten minutes, and which they stop doing the instant I get a camera pointed at them.

These kids are not stupid.  They do not want any photographic evidence of them doing anything at all, lest it be used against them in the future.  They have already seen their own baby pictures, in which you have dressed them up as such non-cool items as bumblebees and flowers, and they know that what is cute today is embarrassing only a few years later.  They also never really know for sure just how bad they are being at any given moment, and so to avoid jail time they will probably not want anything they do caught on video, just to be safe.

Is your kid doing a funny dance that you would like to post on youtube?  Just get that camera out and watch them refuse to ever do it again.  Did you baby finally start saying "Mama" or "Dada" and you want to capture it for posterity?  Your hand will not even get to your pocket before they will clam up for the rest of the day.  We all know that this happens, so why not use it to our advantage?  The next time your kids start fighting with each other, grab your phone, switch to camera mode, and tell them "Okay, keep fighting, I want to send this to Grandma!"  I'll bet they will instantaneously go off to separate rooms and start reading books.  If your toddler is about to throw their food onto the floor again, just train the camera on them and tell them to go ahead and do it.  There's no way they will do it with you right there holding a camera.  And if they do, well hey, you've got a cool picture of mid-air food!

I haven't officially tried this method out myself yet, so I can't guarantee 100% that it works, but how could it not?  All of my theoretical work thus far has shown that the "trying to get them to keep doing it" method is a slam dunk.  And if, for some weird reason, encouraging your kids to behave badly actually causes them to behave badly, then your kids are too smart for you and there was nothing you could have done anyway.  But to everybody else, you're welcome.

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