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Too much positive feedback? Resources for other ways to build self-esteem. - Page 2

post #21 of 25

 

My mom said once that I was her favorite 10 year old girl in the world. And I pointed out that she's my mom and of course she'd say something like that. eyesroll.gif  But it DID stick with me. Even though I said otherwise, I took the sentiment to heart.  Basically it felt great that I was that important to her, even if she was humorously over-stating it.

post #22 of 25

For me, the key is giving authentic feedback and sharing my joy with my kids. I do praise my kids. I do tell my children they're beautiful/handsome (ds won't let me call him beautiful anymore). I tell them they look really nice in something, just like I would an adult.

 

What I'm more careful about is praising achievements. I don't want to have them feel like my love is conditional on their achievements. On the other hand, sometimes they do some really good or interesting work. Then we talk about what makes it good or interesting. I will say "wow, I really like that". I'll put it on the fridge. When they're report cards come, we talk about them. We read the comments and talk about them. We talk about whether they think they're an accurate reflection of their work. We pay as much attention to the effort grades as the achievement grades.

 

When our kids have made sustained effort to accomplish something, I'll tell them. Ds and I spent 45 minutes working on a drawing (he had to draw a literal interpretation of an idiom) the other night. He'd been asked to redo it because his first drawing sucked. Ds' drawing skills are very limited. (I mentioned to dh that he needed remedial art skills and dh said "there's no "re-" about it, he never had any to begin with!). He managed to produce a recognizable drawing that had 3D figures and didn't involve stick figures. But it was hard work. After that he asked me "Do you think it's good enough?" I asked him what he thought, I told him honestly that it was a lot better than his previous drawing and that I was proud of him for putting in the hard work to make it better. He didn't leave the table thinking he was the world's greatest artist. But he did leave it understanding that he can achieve some basics if he works hard, and that I was proud of him for making the effort.

 

The other thing we do is to make sure that our kids know they're worth our time. Ds's drawing experience with me showed him that he's worth my time, even when it's not great art. More that that, we do things with them. They are important conversation partners in our home. We have dinner together 98% of the time. We take the time to teach them things and give them responsibility.

 

So, while I would say that it's good to be careful of the vacuous "good job," I wouldn't say to never praise your children.

 

 

post #23 of 25

I think a way to look at whether the praise is a problem and what Alfie Kohn is talking about is to look at your reasons for praising. If it's because you want the behavior or whatever to continue and you're hoping that praising will make your child want to do it again, then it's a manipulative behaviorist type of praise. Also, not everything people think of as "praise" is praise. Praise is an appraisal. Not everything nice you say is an appraisal.

post #24 of 25

My children respond really well to me commenting on what I see. "Your legs went all the way over with that cartwheel" or "your lines are really strong in that picture" It totally blew my mind that they had such a great response to this, way more thoughtful and content than when it was "great job!"

post #25 of 25

My children respond really well to me commenting on what I see. "Your legs went all the way over with that cartwheel" or "your lines are really strong in that picture" It totally blew my mind that they had such a great response to this, way more thoughtful and content than when it was "great job!"

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