Originally Posted by mamazee
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.
Yeah, I think this is where UP generally gets completely misunderstood. He's talking about using praise as a form of reward. I took from the book that, it's got a lot to do with the tone you use, and HOW you frame your words. You can still say "good job" without saying "good job".
Personally though, I'm not a fan of "good job", or the idea that you should congratulate children on normal things they always do (eating, standing, sleeping, etc). Having a good heart to heart, and letting your child know that it was appreciated and why, to me, goes a million times farther then just saying a quaint "good eating!"
I felt that a lot of his ideas fell right in line with the GDing spectrum.
He also adds that when we say "good job" all the time, children look for us to constantly say it. This doesn't just stop when they are kids, these children grow into adults who are addicted to praise, who need to be told they are doing a good job, and sometimes, lack the self-esteem to continue unless someone notices. This is sort of an extreme situation, but I see it in my own husband. His parents were always riddling him with "good job", and now when he does something in the house that he's SUPPOSED to do, and I don't notice, he gets really upset, and thinks I didn't notice or care. Even when I tell him "I appreciate that you did X"- he just wants me to hug him and say "good job!" For him, and he's admitted this, it gives him a temporary high that makes him feel accomplished. Even when I shouldn't be saying good job when he's picked up after himself, or when he's put PJ's on DS, or something that is part of his daily life.
And for the argument that anything other then "good job" doesn't come naturally, try to think about how you were praised or how you saw praise happen in your childhood and growing up. Saying good job has been around for years, and years- of course, it's hard to NOT say something when that's what we've seen for years.