Advice from a Ukrainian Psychologist

I’m listening to the videos of a famous Ukrainian psychologist, and he has great suggestions on interacting with small children (up to 10 years of age or so).

Here are some:

1. Don’t tell children what NOT to do. Tell them what to do. A negative command prompts the behavior you are trying to discourage. Instead of “don’t splash water on the floor” say “move the water around gently.” Instead of “don’t leave your backpack by the door” say “put your packpack on the chair in your room.”

It’s all about how the human brain works, and stages of brain development. I said “don’t leave crumbs on the floor” yesterday, and immediately ended up with the floor covered with a layer of crumbs. It’s my own fault because I literally commanded the child to leave crumbs on the floor.

2. Don’t give multi-stage tasks like “take off your shoes, wash your hands, and come to the table.” Instead, give one task (“take off your shoes”), wait for it to be completed. Then give the second task. Wait for it to be completed. Etc.

As somebody said in the comments, this method works on husbands, too. (Not mine. Mine is such a treasure, he doesn’t need to be asked at all. He’s proactive.) Speaking about marriage, this psychologist says that an important symptom of a marriage that is nearing a crisis is when you have no time for yourself. Not the two of you but just your own self. A good marriage gives time and space for each spouse to do something that he or she enjoys doing for him or herself. Why do I lie in a bathtub with a mystery novel for hours? I’m being a good wife by doing it, that’s why.

For Russian speakers, the psychologist’s name is Дмитрий Карпачев, and his videos are all in Russian.

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