Originally Posted by dogretro
The part I had trouble wrapping my brain around was the praise part. DH and I had a long discussion about it, too. He has been managing people for most of his working life, and he disagreed w/ using NO praise at all. He said that if you offered no feedback, then you are leaving the person floundering, wondering if they are doing things correctly. I can v much see his point. Even if it is to say, "Yes, you are using the fork correctly now," you will need to provide your kids w/ SOME kind of positive feedback at SOME point in their lives or else they won't know what is going on. How irritating is it when your boss at work never gives you a performance review, even if you love the job anyway? Very irritating. I tried to explain that you do things in a social referencing way, like saying "Giving Johnny that toy made him happy. See his smile?" instead of "Nice sharing!" and dh presented me w/ the conundrum of what if the interaction is between you and the child and you are the one made happy by their action? If it is okay to say that sharing w/ Johnny made Johnny happy, then why can't you say that peeing in the potty made Daddy happy? B/c it DOES make Daddy happy when dd pees in the potty. I gave that some thought, and it does make sense, if I am approaching this from a social reference point, that it is okay sometimes to tell dd that what she has done made me happy. I am not a non-entity in her social world & her actions do affect my feelings. Once I gave the praise thing more thought I don't think that ALL praise is bad. I don't tell my daughter "good job", or things like that, anymore, but if she does something nice to/for me, I do continue to tell her "thank you" or "That was nice to do for Mommy" b/c it made me happy, and my feelings are important, too.
I used to LOVE supernanny - it took a long time before I could even watch the show again. Then I figured that...for these families they were at a point where they had done things *wrong* for so long, that they needed something drastic to get things back on track..so to speak. Is there better ways to do it - yes, but this works, and at some point you just need something that works. Though I definately hate that she adamantly opposes co-sleeping and EBF.
As for praise. Its not about not providing feedback. Its about providing specific feedback. Rather than "good boy!" when they pee on the potty, something like "look, you peed on the potty for the 3rd time today" Or about letting the child determine the praise. Instead of "what a pretty drawing, good girl!" something like "what do you think of the drawing? I like the colour blue the best!" Its about being specific. You are still giving them feedback, its just more specific.
It is good for kids to know that you are proud of them, and that you enjoy what they are doing. I think the difference comes in when they think that they have to draw well, or have to pee on the potty in order for you to be happy. You should be equally able to be happy with them/for them when they do something you dont approve of. For example, when dd climbs the catpost for the umpteenth time and I have to go get her so she doesnt fall 6ft (again!), yes I am frustrated, and a little angry - but she is SO proud of herself for doing it. So I acknowledge her being proud, and how accomplished she feels, and then we redirect (she is still a little young for the talking about the "why" of stuff, but we do that too). I think kids need to be proud of their accomplishments, and we should recognize that, encourage that...etc..
In terms of making people happy (your johnny example). I attempt to deter, and this is JMO, dd from it being her job to make people happy. No one's happiness is dependant on her, and nor should it be. We do nice things for others because it makes *us* feel good. We notice that Johnny smiled, and is having fun with the ball - but I dont like things like "look how happy your actions made johnny". I dont want her to ever think that other people's happiness is her job. I know I felt that way growing up - and it sucked! That being said, Kohn never says what I believe, I just took Kohn's philosophies and applied them to thing I believe.