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What can I say to someone to change their negative behavior?

It is generally not appropriate to ask someone to change their feelings about something since their feelings are their own. However, in communication it is frequently important to ask someone for positive and specific behavior changes.

Several key elements of good communication are listening, using empathy and giving feedback. Following the giving of feedback, it is important to ask in a positive way for the person to change their behavior, and state what the consequences will be for getting your request met. You can use the sentence stems, “If you [behavior change], then [consequences of behavior].”

For example, if a family member forgets to pick up medicine, asking for positive change may go something like:

“If you pick up my medicine on time, I won’t run out and get painful spasms.”

Or “If you pick up my medicine when I need it, I would really appreciate it.”

So, putting the examples together:
“I know you have a lot on your mind, but when you forget to pick up my medicine, I get painful spasms and get upset. If you would pick up my medicine when I ask you to, I won’t get as many spasms and I would really appreciate it.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.