OK so I know you’re thinking about pink elephants. You ignored what I said and did the opposite.
Does this happen with the kids too? Yes of course it does. Why? Well when someone says don’t do something you have to process what it is you are not supposed to do in order to make sense of it. Once you’ve processed it, it is in your head as a thought and a possibility. That’s why when you say to a child ‘don’t do that’ they do it because subconsciously you have told them to do it. ‘Don’t’ is an embedded command in NLP.
Action point for you: Tell them what you do want them to do.
Lots of us are what we call 'away from' programmed in NLP as we are thinking about what we don't want. A good example of this might be people who focus on living a Healthy life, eating lots of fruit and vegetables , lean white meat and keeping tea-total because they don't want to be ill, fat or unhealthy. This is 'away from' because they are focusing on what they don't want - to be ill. But it has been proven in research that when we focus on what we do want - to stay healthy, to live a long and active life and be slim this is much more successful as a strategy. People who spend their life trying to avoid stress by holding in their emotions or not expressing their anxieties end up more ill because all that ‘holding in’ causes illness. Stress related illness tends to happen to those you wouldn't normally describe as stressy people because they seem so quiet and controlled.
The issue is knowing what you do want if you are a person who normally thinks about what they don't want. Ask yourself “what do I want?", and answer honestly. Ask this question at all points of the day for all sorts of situations because even when you are answering a text or an email, getting used to thinking this way will really help in your communications. People will be clear what you want from them, there won't be any misunderstandings while they try to guess what you want because you've only told them what you do want.
For example I had a mumom come to me so tired, she hadn't slept the whole night through for years. She said " Judy I don't know what to do, every night my daughter comes into our bedroom and wakes me up" we chatted a bit and she and her husband had even considered locking the door, putting grease on the handle, sleeping on the child's floor so that they stayed in bed, in fact they had considered everything. Except the obvious "what do you want?" I asked. "I don't want her to come into our room" she answered, Almost crossly, after all, what had she been telling me all this time? Again I asked her "so what do you want?" She stopped and looked at me as if she had never thought of this before. "Oh gosh oh, well I suppose I want her to stay in her room, yes I want her to stay in her room", “and have you ever asked her to do that?” I asked. She hadn't. If you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always got. When you want something different to happen, it’s you who has to change. We have to take responsibility for what we want to happen and express very clearly what that is.