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What is so wrong with "good job"?? - Page 2

post #21 of 91
I thought Jenn made a great point (as you often do, Jenn!) In the situations where I feel it's most appropriate to say "good job"... it's usually even more appropriate to just say "thank you".
post #22 of 91
Alfie Kohn is an anti-behaviorist, so what he's talking about is the use of praise as a behavioral tool. He is not not trying to get parents to stop expressing genuine appreciation.

Praise is often used as a behavioral tool. More so when I was a kid - the trend does seem to be shifting a bit - but still to some extent. The idea was that every time you saw a kid do anything you liked, you'd say, "good job!" with the hope that the child would do it again. The other side was to ignore behavior you didn't like, or say something negative about it, so your gave constant carrots for good behavior even if you never gave a stick for bad behavior, and in doing so you would shape your child's behavior for the better. Kohn feels that kind of empty praise can make children think your love for them is tied to when they do things you like.

He is not talking about genuine appreciation, as in, "Wow! I loved listening to your song!" He's talking about, "Good singing!", "Good eating!" "Good standing!" "Good pooping in the potty!" "Good sharing!" "Good jumping!". That kind of thing, often done almost continually through the day.
post #23 of 91
This is my honest opinion... if we are the point of critically evaluating a comment like "good job"... then we are over-analyzing parenting and need to just chill. Seriously! There are a million other issues with children that we need to be concentrating on rather than if "good job" is a traumatic and disturbing aspect of our parenting. Have we micromanaged parenting down to the very essence of HOW we praise our children? Ugh!

ETA: I don't say "good job" because it's just not something I say. I actually usually say "Bravo!", but in this context it's the same.
post #24 of 91
Here's a great article on generic praise vs. observation : The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids. There's 5 pages worth reading about how different types of observation helped children, and how generic praise hurts self esteem.
post #25 of 91
Human beings create meaning. It's an essential part of what makes us human. And one of our primary ways of doing that is through language. Words matter. Word choice matters. "Good job" and "bravo" don't mean the same thing (if they did... we wouldn't have different words for them!) The specific words we use and how we use them send a powerful message to our children about how the world is constructed and what we think is important. So why on earth wouldn't we critically evaluate our language?

IME, the "protesting too much" syndrome crops up when somebody wants to deny that something matters, because they don't want to have to critically evaluate their own lifestyle and choices. I can't count how many times I've been told I "think too much" when I talk about why we nursed full term, co-slept, don't vax, etc.

I happen to think *everything* about how I parent matters, and that critical thought is key to a full and joyous life. Others, of course, are free to disagree.
post #26 of 91
You think "good job!: is bad...you should come to my house and watch me treat my DD like she is a dog. "Come, come on, awesome, give it to me, GOOD GIRL!!!" - it's ridiculous.


I try so hard to keep it to a minimum with the "good girl"....but the fact is, it's an intensly hard habit to break for me, as I have spent years before she came along training our lady dogs to perfection. My pack is my life...so, before kids, THEY were my kids and every day all day I trained them to listen to me, come, stay, etc...they are marvelous animals and we love them so much...since our DD came, she has sort of melted into them...SHE LOVES THEM TO PIECES. THe three of them, little 8 lbs shih tzu and a 10lbs mutt...both of them sweet as heaven, and my little scallywag baby girl...they are inseperable...they roll around together, they snack together, they hike together....our dogs are with us 24/7 and they are like her sisters...so, when I call the dogs, I'm usually also calling my DD and it just sort of comes out as "come come!" - and they all come scampering to me! When my lady dogs do a great trick or listen to me the first time, whatever else...it's "good girl" and so, when my 15 mos old tugs her own shoes on or throws on her shirt all by herself....it's so hard to stop "good girl!" from slipping out and most of the time, to be perfectly honest, it does.

I don't want her to grow up doing things because she wants to please me...I lived that way as a kid and I don't want it for her...so I have been trying to curtail it and turn to more constructive praise "That is NICE!!!" or "You did it by yourself, cool, high five!" - but it's hard not to scoop her up and squeeze her and laugh out "good girl!" - I'm deeply, contagiously and emphatically in love with this little cherry blossom...she is the light of my universe and I love to praise her, joyously and with passion, as I watch her doing all of these incredible new things....she rocks my world, she absolutely lights me on fire....it's so hard not to just let it slip...now that she can climb and is talking, she can run, figured out how to carry things in a bag, which she slings over her shoulder...she rocks and it's super superhard for me to think before I speak...but I'll get there.

In the meantime....my kid is adored, played with, had free roam of a "kid safe" house and spends her days making things, making messed, eating awesome food and being snuggled and read to. There is no one in her life who is not SICK...I mean ILL...with love for her...and as far as I can see, there are worse fates for a kid in this world. We will try to stop the vague praises, we will try to incoporate more contstructive praises into her life...but in the meantime, she knows that we are her biggest fans and are so proud of all her little baby girl accomplishments!! :
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
This is my honest opinion... if we are the point of critically evaluating a comment like "good job"... then we are over-analyzing parenting and need to just chill. .
Bravo!
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
He is not talking about genuine appreciation, as in, "Wow! I loved listening to your song!" He's talking about, "Good singing!", "Good eating!" "Good standing!" "Good pooping in the potty!" "Good sharing!" "Good jumping!". That kind of thing, often done almost continually through the day.
Yes, true. But that isn't how it filters down to the parenting discussions, you know? And, really, who does that? (good standing! lol) Most of us are in the middle, and Kohn is talking about two extremes (extreme praise, and extreme avoidance of praise).
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
Yes, true. But that isn't how it filters down to the parenting discussions, you know? And, really, who does that? (good standing! lol) Most of us are in the middle, and Kohn is talking about two extremes (extreme praise, and extreme avoidance of praise).
Like I said, people don't do it so much NOW, but really in the 70s, and particularly in the 80s, it was really common. And I think what he says about praise is taken out of context too often.

I have actually heard "Good standing!" and "Good rolling!" said to babies. But the other ones are more common.
post #30 of 91
My mother-in-law actually said the words "good swinging"... to my 2 year old... who was in a baby swing... being pushed. who was she praising, there? :
post #31 of 91
I think the relationship behind the phrase is far more important than the phrase itself. Kids who grow up trying to please their parents or others aren't doing it because of a simple phrase "good job," they are doing it because the whole attitude that they are treated with is "do it to make me pleased." Our actions as parents go a lot farther than just the simple words we use with our children, thought the words ARE important. If you say "I love you" but your actions are saying something different, then the kids are NOT going to believe the words, etc. It's the old saying "shut up and DO something."
post #32 of 91
Sorry, but I'm in the 'good grief' camp. Speak to your child lovingly in many different ways every day. Whatever is natural to you will get the point across. Spend more time playing with them and less time worrying about how to phrase everything. My two cents ...
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
This is my honest opinion... if we are the point of critically evaluating a comment like "good job"... then we are over-analyzing parenting and need to just chill. Seriously! There are a million other issues with children that we need to be concentrating on rather than if "good job" is a traumatic and disturbing aspect of our parenting. Have we micromanaged parenting down to the very essence of HOW we praise our children? Ugh!

ETA: I don't say "good job" because it's just not something I say. I actually usually say "Bravo!", but in this context it's the same.
I totally agree.

Off-topic: AverysMomma, are you a writer? Do you have a blog or something, cuz I love to read your writing! It makes me grin when you talk about your little girl; I think you perfectly capture the astounding love that overwhelms me when I look at my little sweet potato baby Meadow! I am so damn proud of her and I love her so much, and I will tell her that every day of her precious little life, Alfie Kohn be damned!
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
This is my honest opinion... if we are the point of critically evaluating a comment like "good job"... then we are over-analyzing parenting and need to just chill. Seriously! There are a million other issues with children that we need to be concentrating on rather than if "good job" is a traumatic and disturbing aspect of our parenting. Have we micromanaged parenting down to the very essence of HOW we praise our children? Ugh!
:
post #35 of 91
Yeah, I think most of the conversations about avoiding "good job" stem from two things:

1. Avoiding over-praising, where every little thing is praised and it becomes meaningless or the child expects to be praised for everything. And I agree with other PPs, this is not so much of a problem now as it was in the past, though it vary based on your location/family/etc.

2. Trying to use more appropriate or specific phrases instead of all or nearly all general praise. I think general praise is fine sometimes, but it's good to make an effort at times to say something more specific as it forces you to really pay attention and give meaningful feedback, especially on something that a child really cares about or has spent a lot of time/effort on.
post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinalla View Post
Yeah, I think most of the conversations about avoiding "good job" stem from two things:

1. Avoiding over-praising, where every little thing is praised and it becomes meaningless or the child expects to be praised for everything. And I agree with other PPs, this is not so much of a problem now as it was in the past, though it vary based on your location/family/etc.

2. Trying to use more appropriate or specific phrases instead of all or nearly all general praise. I think general praise is fine sometimes, but it's good to make an effort at times to say something more specific as it forces you to really pay attention and give meaningful feedback, especially on something that a child really cares about or has spent a lot of time/effort on.
This is a great post.

I do also agree with PPs who say that we overthink our parenting decisions sometimes, and I think we overthink the praise thing sometimes too. The best thing we can do as parents is to relax and be natural with our kids. At the same time, I think looking at this issue and considering this viewpoint is useful. Not stressing over it or overthinking it, but giving it some consideration.
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissyCham View Post
Sorry, but I'm in the 'good grief' camp.
post #38 of 91
I think making a big deal about saying good job is what turns in to a negative thing, I just personally think that many of these new school parenting no-nos are just to make you second guess what you do as a parent(and sell books).

I say good job, my DD is 3 and she's not falling to pieces, I also say I like that and I tell her she's beautiful, if I am screwing up her self esteem I guess that's my bad and some day I may have to pay for her therapy(joking). I just think so much of this is just silly.
post #39 of 91
This is so interesting. I dunno the rules here so well yet, so if I should be starting new threads for the following questions feel free to move them to a new thread.... Ok this conversation makes me ask 2 questions:

1) I've never read the literature on this question and I'm wondering, if Kohn and others are concerned that all this praise makes kids think their value is based on pleasing their parents vs. their own accomplishments, what impact does the negative stuff parents do have on this? Like it's hard for me to imagine a child raised with tons of general "Good job!"s not being proud of their accomplishments later in life if the parents are sincere and don't do something negative on top of the good jobs, like withholding praise or being harsh and overly critical when the child does something that doesn't please the parent. Like if you think your son should play with cars but he builds a really cool dollhouse instead, if you say "Good job!" because he built something, isn't that still positive, vs. withholding praise or saying "I'd say good job if you were playing with cars but I'm not gonna say it for this!"?

Just seems like the kids who grow into insecure adults mostly get that way because they either got no praise at all or lots of negative comments/criticisms. Doesn't it take negative or no parent engagement to make kids insecure?

2) I've heard many stories on the news about how employers these days generally hate hiring middle class kids currently in their teens or twenties because they have this huge sense of entitlement. That whereas 20 years ago it was just expected that an employee would do the basics of their job and they mostly only got celebrated when they excelled, now younger employees want to be praised for just doing the bare minimum of their jobs. And apparently many feel like the drive to excel has almost vanished in most of these employees, because they feel like just doing their basic job is such a big accomplishment.

Do you guys think these feelings of employers is somehow connected to the trend of overpraising our kiddies? Or do we not over-do it?
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by green betty View Post
Human beings create meaning. It's an essential part of what makes us human. And one of our primary ways of doing that is through language. Words matter. Word choice matters. "Good job" and "bravo" don't mean the same thing (if they did... we wouldn't have different words for them!) The specific words we use and how we use them send a powerful message to our children about how the world is constructed and what we think is important. So why on earth wouldn't we critically evaluate our language?

IME, the "protesting too much" syndrome crops up when somebody wants to deny that something matters, because they don't want to have to critically evaluate their own lifestyle and choices. I can't count how many times I've been told I "think too much" when I talk about why we nursed full term, co-slept, don't vax, etc.

I happen to think *everything* about how I parent matters, and that critical thought is key to a full and joyous life. Others, of course, are free to disagree.
I disagree.
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