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Is it ok to tell your child not to do something just to get him to do it?

We all know most toddlers like to do what you point out they shouldn't do. And my kid does the same, of course. When I say "Don't brush your teeth", he runs to the bathroom to brush them. So I've been using that "trick" lately just to get him to do stuff.
For instance I say:
"Don't finish your dinner" when I want him to eat something he doesn't really love.
"Don't go to bed" at bedtime
"Don't get in the tub" at bathtime
and so on...

He's going to be 3 in December. He's very mature for his age and he's generally very well behaved and polite.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 5:53 PM on Oct. 4, 2012 in General Parenting

Answers (6)
  • I would maybe do it every now and then, but not regularly. If you do it too regularly, it'll end up backfiring on you.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 6:11 PM on Oct. 4, 2012

  • I think it's a dangerous thing to's like you're reinforcing your child's decisions not to listen to you., and I agree with Wendy that can backfire. You want your child to respect you and understand there are consequences for not listening.

    Answer by ohwrite at 6:18 PM on Oct. 4, 2012

  • I did that for a while. I used to say "don't eat your broccoli" and my son would gobble it down. It was funny and lasted a very short while. I say, do whatever it takes.

    Answer by mompam at 6:45 PM on Oct. 4, 2012

  • DD isn't like that. I say don;t do it and 8/10 times she'll listen lol. If I tell her TO DO something I don't want her to do it'll be like reinforcing the behavior of NOT listening to me....that'll come back to bite ya in the butt.

    Answer by 4xsthetrouble at 6:47 PM on Oct. 4, 2012

  • It's reverse psychology. Sometimes you gotta do whatever it takes.

    Answer by idareyou at 7:41 PM on Oct. 4, 2012

  • teaching your children to do the opposite of what you say, and then encouraging/rewarding/praising the behavior (assuming you are) afterwards - not a good foundation. they learn way too much the first two years in particular about emotional responses and appropriateness and behaviors. you should be clear in your communication and consistent in your messages in word and action unless you want big problems on your hands later on.

    Answer by figaro8895 at 9:51 AM on Oct. 5, 2012

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