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Home » Toddler

How reverse psychology works with Toddlers

Submitted by on Tuesday, 21 April 2009No Comment

Picture this: It’s a warm sunny day.  I’m out shopping with my toddler boy, Smarty Pants.  We were just at a toy store where he was frolicking about with dusty sample toys that the store so kindly provided.  His hands are full of dust and dirt from the floor, and I don’t have wipes or a cloth on me.  There’s no bathroom in sight either.  We’re going home soon anyways, so I let it ride.

handsinmouth1Suddenly, he decides he wants to put his fingers in his mouth.  He usually doesn’t, but given the circumstances, he figures this is the best time to start doing so.

“Don’t put your fingers in your mouth!” I say,  “They’re all dirty.”

Seeing that he has caught my attention and has started an intriguing discussion, as smile comes to his face.  “I want to do that.”

“No, don’t” I try to reason, “they’re dirty, it’s not good.”

I don’t like where this is heading.  He does.  “Yeah, it’s good!“  He exclaims, as he puts his other hand in his mouth.

I’m not really in the mood to argue.  “Okay fine” I say, “Go ahead and do it.  Put your fingers in your mouth all you want.  They are dirty and its not good for you, but if you want to do it, go ahead, have fun.”

He looks at me, confused.  He takes his fingers out of his mouth and thinks about it for a second.  Then decidedly declares, “No, I don’t want to do that.”

He moves on, I smile a victorious smile.  Until I see what he’s gotten his hands into next….

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever used reverse psychology to get your toddler to follow your instructions?  I don’t use it very often, but after this episode, I’m going to try it more!  If you haven’t tried it, give it a try!

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