For Parents
2-3 years
Positive Opposites

Positive Opposites

July 7, 2022

Using positive opposites means describing the behavior you WANT to see instead of the one you DON’T WANT to see.


“Listening” instead of “Not listening”

“Taking turns” instead of “Grabbing a toy”

“Walking” instead of “Running”

“Keeping food on the table” instead of “Throwing food on the floor”

Why They Work:

Positive opposites create goals for children.  They tell them what you want them to do and send a clear message to children.  When you simply tell children to “STOP,” you don’t tell them what to do that is OK.  That leaves a lot of room for misbehavior to continue.  By identifying what you want children to do and then prompting for it, it is easier to teach your child how to behave.

This information presented above is based on the work of Alan Kazdin and the Yale Parenting Center.  For more information, please visit http://yaleparentingcenter.yale.edu/

Content created in partnership with

Seedlings Group

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