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Negative Sentences Turned Positive and Positive Teachable Moments

Negative Sentences Turned Positive and Positive Teachable Moments

Negative Sentences Turned Positive and Positive Teachable Moments


The Assignment: Negative Sentences Turned Positive and Positive Teachable Moments: 


Please take the following ten negative sentences and rewrite them to make them much more positive. They are a great collection of sentences I found in a textbook.

The author stated that these are sentences you should never say to your children. I want the same message or a similar message said in a positive, encouraging way. You will need to find a positive way to respond to the child. That means: no negative words, no threats, no “I” (poor me) statements about yourself, no criticism, no bringing up old fights. Absolutely no mention of other siblings in the family, for that creates resentment.

You are welcome, and seriously encouraged to get help with this assignment. That means, asking for advice from friends, spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents, relatives, co-workers, anyone!  Teens are especially good at recognizing negative words and ideas; enlist their help! This is a group project. This looks easy, but it is not. I will be grading them very stringently.


This assignment is worth 10 points or ten per cent of your grade in the course.

Some hints: Again! This assignment looks easy, but it is NOT! Please ask help from your children, from teens, from relatives, co-workers, etc.  If you receive a grade below 7.5, you will be able to do over again the sentences that lost points.

  • Perhaps you need to say what age group of child you would be addressing.
  • Are you conveying support for your child? Good!  Are you giving veiled (passive aggressive) criticism?  Don’t!
  • Are you making martyr statements (statements about “poor me” and “how hard I work” statements beginning with “I” and having complaints in them)? Many parenting textbooks like “I” sentences, but I find that they usually end up being angry complaints directed at the child.  For this assignment, I would not use “I” statements.
  • Please do not use sarcasm.  Sarcasm is always interpreted very negatively by children. The angry message we think we hide in clever or funny sarcasm shouts loud and clear to children and hurts them terribly.
  • No threats, even hidden threats or sugar-coated threats!
  • Do not ever compare siblings.  That produces resentment by children.
  • Sometimes a sentence is SO negative you cannot use it at all.  Please substitute a positive, motivating sentence for any really bad, negative sentence.

Important:  Please collect advice from everyone on these.  Teens often to the best job of identifying negativity, and so do children.  Good luck!


Here are the Negative Sentences: 

You are to compose and turn in the completely rewritten, positive versions of these. If you think the sentence is just terrible, you should change the content enough to make it a sentence that is positive and encouraging.

1. “Look at the dirty footprints you put on my clean kitchen floor. You never consider how hard I work.”

2. “You are the sloppiest person. Just look at your room!”

3. “If you don’t start doing your share around here, I’m going to cut your allowance.”

4. “Take the garbage out this minute and no back talk, young man.”

5. “Now, do you think that was a nice thing to say about your friend? You should learn to treat your friends the way you want to be treated.”

6. “Don’t step off the sidewalk. You’ll get hit by a car.”

7. “Why are you doing this to me, hard as I work?”

8. “Why can’t you try as hard in school as your sister does?”

9. “You knew you had to get up early, but you were so smart and stayed up until midnight.”

10. “If you continue in the same manner, you’ll never amount to anything.”


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