Do you have rough housing kids and someone seems to always get hurt? Have you ever had a defiant (or any) child who really needed to listen in an emergency. Have you ever needed your child to stop arguing and listen and do what you ask them to do? If it has happened to you in the past or you expect to spend time around kids in your life then this article is for you! In my counseling, parenting, and engineering career for that matter, I have found that there are situations that require immediate attention and immediate action or cessation of action – someone’s life may be on the line or it may not be quite so serious. We are going to talk about magic words that you must train yourself and your children to immediately heed.

Okay, so I’m not talking hocus-pocus or abracadabra or anything like that. The words are “Stop” & “Now”. They are simple words but they should be given the utmost importance. Consider the following scenarios.

Two brothers are always rough housing and one of them usually ends up crying or worse. The word here is “stop”. It must be instilled in the kids that if either of them says “Stop”, the other one must stop what they are doing, immediately. It is kind of like uncle but is not a surrender. “Stop” says I’m not playing anymore, or I am hurt, or I am mad. It should be given special power and both adults and children should instantly obey and revere it.

Another place for “Stop” is when an adult is playing with a child. It happens all the time that an adult will be too rough or overzealous and the child ends up hurt, scared, panicked, or just mad. It doesn’t need to go that far. The “Stop” principle gives the child the power to protect themselves, to express their feelings, and get relief. I know it is fun to tickle a child – but there is a point where it is not fun for the child anymore. Speaking as someone who hates to be tickled – if you don’t stop I might hurt you – to me it is torture. I have a son who is the same way. “Stop” allows for some fun but doesn’t allow it to go too far.

“Stop” is also valuable when there is a dangerous situation and you need someone’s immediate attention. A ball rolls into the street and a child chases after it. You see a car coming and yell to the child “Stop!” If they have been trained to revere the word they will stop.

The other word I am going to talk about here is “Now”. This word is used in critical situations, and when pleading your case or arguing is not acceptable. An example of the “Now” Principle is as follows. You are talking to your teenage daughter about going to a party where you suspect there will be underage drinking and promiscuous sex going on. She begins to argue with you. You have trained her that if you say “Now” she knows that the conversation is done for now and she is to comply. I like to couple the “Now” principle with the 30-second principle which says that you have 30 seconds (or 2 minutes whatever has been agreed upon previously) to present your position on the subject. It gives people the opportunity to explain, but it is time limited. This prevents arguments from escalating and from things to get out of hand. It happens all the time – one person gets so upset and overwhelmed that they hurt the other one when they would never do that if they were in their right mind – (See Rules of Engagement for Time Outs).

Another example of the “Now” principle is in a life threatening situation you can yell a command and if they don’t get the significance of the command or the urgency you simply say “Now!” the person knows it is non-negotiable and is to be complied with immediately. I am sure you can see many other applications of these magic words.

The real task is to condition those that you love to understand and instantly obey the magic words. Convey that there may be a time it is a matter of life and death and you need to have a way to get their attention and compliance instantly. Empower and enforce the proper use of the words. Always be willing to explain it again and don’t use the words too much or they will lose their power.
And yes there are other magic words for relationships like – please, thank you, I’m sorry, can we start over – just to name a few. What magic words and scenarios can you think of that this magic word principle would be valuable in? I look forward to hearing from you.

Author's Bio: 

James L Hendrix is a marriage & family therapist specializing in helping people get their life back from relationship, emotional, mental health, drug, alcohol issues. He is especially good with clients and their families who struggle with such issues – getting the right help and helping all involved understand the issues. He can be reached at . Or visit .