One of the first things us Playcentre mums learn is that “don’t” has the opposite effect.
For example, tell anyone “don’t smile!!” Immediately, they will smile.
“Don’t jump on the couch!” and a second later, the child is jumping on said couch.
“Don’t” works on adults too. “Don’t spill your coffee!” Hope you’re out of the way when you say that!!
It took me a good two years of practice to turn my words around when talking to my children. “Keep your bum on the chair!” (Instead of “Don’t jump on the couch.”) “Keep your head up when you’re riding your bike!” (Instead of “Don’t look down!”) “Keep your hands to yourself” (Instead of “Don’t touch your sister!”)
But now a new one has surfaced that I am very guilty of. “I’ll try.” As Yoda says, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”