I once was faced with an angry teenager who refused to go to therapy. His parents had asked me to talk some sense into him. So, I tried to teach him about the value of therapy and to my surprise I learned an important lesson. After a pretty fruitless talk for 10 or 15 minutes, I asked why he was objecting to therapy. He answered, “I went to therapy to learn to walk. My parents wanted me to walk and I TRIED! I learned to walk but it is not good enough. I want to walk better!”

What to do? He was not going to believe me if I said that doing more of the same harder was going to lead to a different conclusion. This happened many years ago, before many of the spasticity management and innovative gait training programs had been developed. I really did not have much to offer him.

But I remembered him, years later, when I read Dr Carol Dweck’s classic book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. It is another of my must read books in your parent survival kit. I learned that the tiny word “yet” can change a demotivated, angry teenager into a dedicated exercise and fitness fan. Saying “You can’t walk well yet” can reframe a struggle into an achievable goal. I think both parents and older teens and adults need a lot more “yet” in their lives.

What do you think about reframing some of your child’s challenges in school and therapy by adding the word “yet”? Give it a try and see what happens! I would love to hear about your experiences.




  1. Saying ‘yet’ has been a huge help to me – my son is too little to understand what’s going on but it helps ME to say, he’s not walking yet. Anything is possible!

  2. Absolutely, we have always used the word yet when describing our sons abilities. He now parrots and beams with satisfaction when he says he can’t do something yet, but he will do his best now. Positive language and attitude can seriously change the atmosphere when something is not coming easily but need persistence to overcome.

  3. My daughter used “yet” with eating problems for one of her children: He was taught to say “I don’t care for this food YET” . As it turned out, he later found the nearby Ethiopean restaurant to be a favorite spot to celebrate his birthday.

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