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If you weren't praised as a child - Page 3

post #41 of 105
I will have a good read through this in a bit, but before I forget it I just wanted to say that on the perspective that I was praised as a child - With a lot of how we 'parent' our child, I find that there is the 'now and here' way of doing things that only benefi for now and here and the 'forever' way that not only affect now but benefit and individual throughout their lives...the 'forever' way is not always easy but I feel the best way to do things.... So in saying that, back to being praised as a child... I was praised as a child. Adults dont really get praise though. So I find now that I do suffer quite a bit of manic depression and I realised a while ago that its because I am not getting praised ... That sounds odd but its like...I expect it now and feel I didnt do well enough when someone doesnt praise me...but as I said...you never hear adults praising the other! lol If that makes any sense! Which is why I think the 'no praise' things sounds like its not fun or gives a cheery important atmosphere to your child - but I think it does and can pay off in the future as well!
post #42 of 105
I wasn't really praised as a child, and when I was it was SO overdone that it felt empty and almost like they were just frantically petting my ego instead of listening ot how I felt about what I'd just done.

I was quite bright as a child, a very early reader, and a gifted student. My parents just figured that was just me, so why praise me for being me...but then they'd gush all over me at totally random times and I remember it made me feel like a freak.

Now...a bit o/t (maybe) - but to the people saying "YES! This is great, this why I don't like the 'kohn model'"...I wonder if you're not misunderstanding what Kohn talks about in terms of praise. He says in his book, that praise in itself is not bad - it's the motivation behind it that should be questioned. He also says that there ARE times when you need to show your pride and enthusiasm for what they've done but that it should never be used in an effort to manipulate our kids into repeating something that WE want them to do.

There are ways to praise without compromising their own internal sense of value for their actions/deeds. He never really says "NEVER EVER PRAISE YOUR CHILDREN EVER!" That's ridiculous. He addresses (in a pretty clear manner I thought) when praise is bad and when it isn't. But I see a lot of people (not just here, but anytime he's being discussed) say "Well praise is good and praise is natural, and I'm not going to not show my child I'm proud of him/her".

Sorry for going off on a tangent...lol
post #43 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvansMomma View Post
He says in his book, that praise in itself is not bad - it's the motivation behind it that should be questioned. He also says that there ARE times when you need to show your pride and enthusiasm for what they've done but that it should never be used in an effort to manipulate our kids into repeating something that WE want them to do.

There are ways to praise without compromising their own internal sense of value for their actions/deeds. He never really says "NEVER EVER PRAISE YOUR CHILDREN EVER!" That's ridiculous. He addresses (in a pretty clear manner I thought) when praise is bad and when it isn't. But I see a lot of people (not just here, but anytime he's being discussed) say "Well praise is good and praise is natural, and I'm not going to not show my child I'm proud of him/her".
This is great, I've never read UP, but ITA with the above. I definitely think that manipulative praise is far more damaging than thoughtless, endless "good jobbing", but I don't want to feel restricted from ever telling my children I'm proud of them, impressed with what they did, or sharing their enthusiasm. Which I always though Kohn advocated, so thanks for clearing that up! I guess I ought to break down and read it myself!
post #44 of 105
It's something that has occurred to me, too...I have never heard an adult say "My parents told me 'good job', the fiends" But I have heard plenty of times "My dad never told me he was proud of me...I never felt like they approved of me." I think it speaks to the dangers of putting a Parenting Theory ahead of one's own heart and positive inclinations toward their children.
post #45 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by dealic View Post
I grew up with loving and supportive parents. My upbringing wasn't completetly absent of praise, but it was used sparingly. And I developed an anxiety disorder terrified of anything less than perfect in everything I do. When I did anything, it was evaluated, both achievements and areas for improvement. I never thought anything was good enough, because there is always room for improvement.

I came home in grade five hysterical because I got a B on a project. That, to me, was the end of the world, because the A's I normally got were seen as expected and never an achievement. I saw a B as a failure. My mom reassured me that it wasn't, but I never really believed her. I got basically staight A's from then on, through university, and didn't tell her when I got anything lower. If my best wasn't "good enough" then anything less was shameful.

She never intended this. But that's how my childish brain interpreted it, and I can't say I've moved past that.
I could have written much of this post. The only difference is that I didn't get As in college the first time around -- I failed miserably. School was hard for the first time, and I couldn't handle the possibility that I would do something less than perfectly. It was easier not to try. Or I would do all the work, but then fail to turn it in because I was too ashamed that it wouldn't be "right."

It took until my mid-30s to go back to school and get all those As the second time around.

I think as a result of my parents' lack of recognition of my achievements, I became only able to see perfection as a worthwhile goal, and then I became paralyzed by the shame of not being able to achieve it.
post #46 of 105
Thread Starter 
I've only read the first thread so far, but have a question. There are definitely some posters who seem to have been raised with no praise, Kohn style- who's parents were happy with them regardless of what they did, and gave feedback instead of praise ("you used lots of red" vs. "cool picture!")
Like Octobermom and this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eurobin View Post
I wasn't often praised in the traditional sense. They told me specific things like they were proud of how well I did on a test or something, but I didn't get a lot of "good jobs." When I was a kid, it kind of peeved me. I'd whine for recognition... "did you see how well I did in the game?" "did you know I got an A"? And they'd acknowledge it in a way that I knew that they were proud of me for just existing and they'd be no less proud if I got a B than an A. As a kid, I wanted the "good jobs" but now I'm glad I didn't hear it all the time. I'm very internally motivated and I don't beat myself up if I come in second place if I know I did my best, you know? I wish I could articulate it better than that, because I think they did a great job with that aspect of my upbringing. They totally supported me but also let me know that my achievements weren't why they loved me at all.
Thanks for sharing! It seems that it worked out well for you!

But there are some who seem to have quite an un-Kohn nonpraise environment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
My parents were lovely and supportive, but Dad especially was very Dutch Calvinist about praise - it should be rarely used and never effusively, and only when earned by something incredibly out of the ordinary.
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Originally Posted by bettysmom View Post
My mother seemed to only praise near perfection, and even then, she would look for flaws. "You got an A-. Why wasn't it an A+?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklefairy View Post
I remember feeling like I always caught crap when I goofed up but wasn't recognized for doing well.
So, I wonder if positive acknowledgment and unconditional acceptance would have made a bigger difference than praise?

I'm definitely not anti-praise. I say "cool lego tower!" and stuff like that, but try to stay specific and non-manipulative, and focus on how ds feels rather than how I feel about it. I'm just curious about the whole thing.
post #47 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by terpingmom View Post
Recently, DS has been petting the cat and when he is gentle I say, "yes that's gentle" but adding "good" couldn't hurt could it? Gosh parenting is hard!
With that type of stuff, I told ds "She really likes it when you pet gently. Look at her tail wagging!" (we had a dog. lol). So I'd tell him how SHE felt about his actions, since she was the one directly affected by his actions, kwim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
I personally love what Faber and Mazlish say about praise in "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk". There's a whole chapter on it, but in a nutshell they say to avoid praise that evaluates, and instead give "helpful praise", where the adult "describes with appreication what he or she sees or feels. The child, after hearing the description, is then able to praise himself."
Sounds similar to what Nancy Samalin says (I think both books are based on Haim Ginot's ideas). And like this article:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/family/W00009.html
it compares evaluative praise vs. descriptive praise

oh, I just looked, and HTT is one of the references.

I've noticed, too, that AK isn't really anti-praise (he's not CL either, btw). He doesn't really say that some praise is good, but he makes a point of saying that specific non-manipulative praise is most certainly NOT like a "good job" used specifically to get dc to do it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
But that isn't what I mean when I say I think praise isn't good. I guess manipulative, insincere, or automatic or routine praise would be a better way of putting it. But that doesn't roll off the tongue (or the fingers).
When I think of praise, I think of it as a value judgement. I'm telling my ds MY judgement of what he did. I'm not leaving it up to him to judge for himself. I really like what Natensarah said, about giving descriptions and letting dc praise themselves. Though, tbh, I can't imagine I'll ever stop saying "That is one neat tower you built!"
post #48 of 105
Quote:
It's something that has occurred to me, too...I have never heard an adult say "My parents told me 'good job', the fiends" But I have heard plenty of times "My dad never told me he was proud of me...I never felt like they approved of me." I think it speaks to the dangers of putting a Parenting Theory ahead of one's own heart and positive inclinations toward their children.
Thank you for saying this ccohenou. I'm a psychiatric nurse and I posted something extremely similar to your statement several months ago in a thread about the "danger" of praise: that in my 25+ years of working with psych patients I have never heard one person complain that their parents overpraised them but I've heard many, many pt's complain that their parents did not praise them or notice their achievements.

This is the part of Kohn that never sat well with me. However, as pointed out by several people, it seems to be a misinterpretation of Kohn. (It sort of reminds me of how fundamentalists of any religion takes certain beliefs and interprets them in an extreme way.) ITA that the point to remember is not that ALL praise is bad but that empty meaningless praise is bad.

I also think it depends on the age of the child. The argument against praise that some have posted is that when you praise a child you put YOUR value judgment on the achievement instead of allowing the child to feel some kind of internal/intrinsic sense of satisfaction. I think that can be true when your child has developed a more mature and sophisticated sense of thinking. But I have a toddler and for toddlers and younger children, they look to their parents for validation because that's part of their developmental process. It seems to me to be just downright cruel to never give young children meaningful praise.
post #49 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwyn View Post
I think I'm confused - I don't see how not doing praise means not showing your pride or excitement or joy in something your child does, when it's an authentic feeling. Not saying "good job" and being mindful to not always apply outward judgments doesn't mean never showing approval or acceptance or love or enthusiasm...
I think it depends on how far you take it. I'm not sure Alfie Kohn thinks it is possible to exhibit pride, excitement, or joy in an accomplishment without judging it. Obviously, if you're proud, exited, or happy about an accomplishment, then you must approve of it.

Hence his suggestion to make factual statements or ask questions, thus exhibiting interest in the child's accomplishment without demonstrating approval.
post #50 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvansMomma View Post
I wonder if you're not misunderstanding what Kohn talks about in terms of praise. He says in his book, that praise in itself is not bad - it's the motivation behind it that should be questioned. He also says that there ARE times when you need to show your pride and enthusiasm for what they've done but that it should never be used in an effort to manipulate our kids into repeating something that WE want them to do.
I read Unconditional Parenting with considerable care, and honestly, that's not what I got out of it at all. It's been a couple of years, but it really seemed to me that he was postulating that it would be best never to praise our children at all.

Sounds like I need to go back and read it again.
post #51 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
Thank you for saying this ccohenou. I'm a psychiatric nurse and I posted something extremely similar to your statement several months ago in a thread about the "danger" of praise: that in my 25+ years of working with psych patients I have never heard one person complain that their parents overpraised them but I've heard many, many pt's complain that their parents did not praise them or notice their achievements.
Well, I am not a pt patient, but I really did not like praise from my dad. Like I said, it was often manipulative. But, since this thread started, I've been thinking about it a lot more, and I think many times he was just genuinely trying to be kind and supportive and boost my self-esteem. But it was just like they say, it made me feel anxious, guilty, and slightly resentful.

I think it's like anything else that pigeon-holes your child - they'll just be better off altogether if you stay away from those blanket statements, whether it's "You're always so patient" or "You're always so naughty."
post #52 of 105
I think there's another aspect to all of this (and parenting in general) that is far more important that the details and semantics of praising our kids - the relationship and the combination of the parent's personality/temperment and the child's personality/temperment.

Perhaps a father who is a bit of an introvert or has a hard time emoting would have a hard time communicating praise in a way that felt good to the child. Or a mother whose perfectionist nature comes through in her praise of her child.

I think all of this is really interesting and helpful, but what I read between the lines of these posts about the past is much more about the overall relationship rather than what words were or weren't used. For me, another thing my mother never did was use terms of endearment. I craved that as a child and I find that I use them all the time with my kids...my oldest sometimes gets annoyed so I then realize that I have to pay attention to that rather than trying to make sure he doesn't feel the same hurt I did about that particular issue. All I'm getting at is that I think we have to be careful about how we interpret the past...I don't think it's all about being praised or not being praised. So much of it is about that combination of personalities in a family. Some combinations just jive better than others.

Sorry to go OT...
post #53 of 105
I agree with the posters that said this is one of the issues they have with the Kohn principle of no praise. It doesn't feel right to me to not praise my children and so I do it. On any given day, you will hear me say "Great job!" or "That looks awesome!". My kids LOVE to hear it and they get this huge grin on their face. It feels very unnatural for me not to praise my children and so I will keep doing it!

I know that when I hear "Good Job" from my boss, I feel great! And I have read posts on here that say how people's days have been made by a complete stranger telling them "You are a wonderful parent!". Why should we deprive our kids of that feeling?

I honestly don't remember how much praise my parents gave me so it must have been very little . But I do know that my dad was extremely proud of me because I would always hear him saying good things about me to his friends. He had a more difficult time saying them to me. My mom really didn't talk much (just her upbringing - she is very quiet, but still a wonderful mom) and I don't recall her praising me too much.
post #54 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde View Post
ITA that the point to remember is not that ALL praise is bad but that empty meaningless praise is bad.
I think this is actually another pretty common misinterpretation of Kohn. We all seem to have our own slightly different interpretations, but mine is that the kind of praise that's especially bad is the kind that makes kids feel their parents love them better when they do the thing they're being praised for. So heartfelt praise could actually be a lot worse than automatic, insincere praise about something a kid can tell his parents don't really care about that much. (Heartfelt praise about a specific thing a child has done, I mean - not general "I love you so much and I'm so glad you're my child" stuff, which I think Kohn is totally in favor of.)
post #55 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
I dont know the dynamatics in your home your own reactions to stuff and such. I can say from personal experience every so often I really seriously NEEDED to hear a plain simple Good job. :
Me too. I'm another one that would have loved to have heard "Good Job!" or "I'm proud of you." I could read before I started elementary school. I was asked by my teachers to skip a grade because I was ahead of the other kids. I won awards for my work both in and outside of school. Yet, I rarely heard any praise from my parents who I know loved me. I don't know why they didn't praise. It could be cultural reasons I suppose being that they are from another place but I think it's just their personalities. My grandparents on both sides were far more expressive and generous with praise. Not only did my parents not praise me but they withheld praise/compliments others had said about me because of some misguided idea that it would inflate my ego. I would hear that so-and-so had said something good about me months if not years later! It's a shame they were like this because I was such an introverted child and it would have done me a world of good if my parents could have praised me more. It's no good hashing this out with them now for it will only make them defensive. I can learn from the past and go forward parenting DD in a way that doesn't leave her feeling her parents didn't appreciate her efforts. So while we don't go overboard praising DD but you bet we say "Good job!" and "What a great effort" in our house.
post #56 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by skueppers View Post
I think it depends on how far you take it. I'm not sure Alfie Kohn thinks it is possible to exhibit pride, excitement, or joy in an accomplishment without judging it. Obviously, if you're proud, exited, or happy about an accomplishment, then you must approve of it.

Hence his suggestion to make factual statements or ask questions, thus exhibiting interest in the child's accomplishment without demonstrating approval.
But you know what? Being a baby primate is all about seeking approval and figuring out how the world, and the social unit in which you live, works.

Kids start out as infants, using whatever control they have over their bodies to try to affect the world around them, and specifically to get the big primates to react in different ways. They copy facial expressions when they are HOURS old, and they will repeat the expressions that get a smile and a coo in return. Later, they drop things, push limits, touch things they know they shouldn't - to get reactions, to see where the boundaries lie, to find out what happens if they do X or Y or Z. And the world lets them know, with at least some approval or disapproval (even if you gently redirect or renegotiate, the most CL of parents will make it clear they disapprove of hitting, for example).

To respond to everything with a flat affect: "Hey, that's green! Why is the top of it triangular?" is to refuse to engage in the child's quest to figure out How Others Think and See the World - which will ultimately, I think, give them as skewed a picture of the world as it woould if they heard nothing but constant, meaningless, praise of their very existence.
post #57 of 105
nak

When I read Kohn's book, a lot of what he said about overpraising really struck a chord with me. I think I got too much and too little, if that makes sense, though really the too much part was mostly me overhearing my mom talking about me to someone and usually exaggerating. It made me feel like I was good only for what she could brag about.

But my parents expected me to do well and didn't think I needed to hear that I had done well. I remember confronting my dad once when all three of my sisters got rewards for improving their grades, but I didn't get anything (not even a good job) for my straight A's. He said he felt I didn't need it. I told him I'm a person with feelings too. I got a B once and my parents assumed the teacher was just a b*tch, and made no secret of that, even when I told them I deserved it. When I worked really hard and brought that grade up to an A, they figured them going to have a chat with the teacher was what did it, not my hard work. They (especially my mom) would also compare me to others or ask why it wasn't better. If my sister brought home an A, my parents would throw a party. If I brought home an A, I got asked why not an A+ or what did so-and-so in your class get? Even though I know she was kidding, I never felt like I could do good enough for her. I ended up never working for my grades once my parents stopped wanting to see my report cards. I didn't do it for me, I only did it for their approval. That got me through high school and first year university, but I didn't do well in later years.

That being said, my sister and I recently had a discussion about this, and she did feel manipulated by the praise she got and at times would have preferred less. I think my parents felt she needed the approval more than me and would sometimes praise her for something she didn't put any real effort into. Personally, I think the amount of praise is a lot less important than the type/quality of praise and the reasons behind it.

ETA: One of the parenting books I have read had an example that I really liked. The author spoke of a mother who got a bumper sticker that said something like: "I am proud of my child who is on the honour roll". She cut off the part that said "who is on the honour roll". That is the kind of message I want to portray to my daughter. From the praise I did get, and what I didn't, I always felt that I made my mom proud for always being top of the class, on the honour roll, etc. I felt (still feel at times) like my mom lived vicariously through my (and my sisters') accomplishments and used them as a measure of her own parenting abilities.
post #58 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by swampangel View Post
I think there's another aspect to all of this (and parenting in general) that is far more important that the details and semantics of praising our kids - the relationship and the combination of the parent's personality/temperment and the child's personality/temperment.

Perhaps a father who is a bit of an introvert or has a hard time emoting would have a hard time communicating praise in a way that felt good to the child. Or a mother whose perfectionist nature comes through in her praise of her child.

I think all of this is really interesting and helpful, but what I read between the lines of these posts about the past is much more about the overall relationship rather than what words were or weren't used. For me, another thing my mother never did was use terms of endearment. I craved that as a child and I find that I use them all the time with my kids...my oldest sometimes gets annoyed so I then realize that I have to pay attention to that rather than trying to make sure he doesn't feel the same hurt I did about that particular issue. All I'm getting at is that I think we have to be careful about how we interpret the past...I don't think it's all about being praised or not being praised. So much of it is about that combination of personalities in a family. Some combinations just jive better than others.

Sorry to go OT...
I don't think this is OT at all, and is a great point. Every relationship IS different, and as much as we try, we can't always control the ways in which our personalities clash (or mesh) with our children!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
I think this is actually another pretty common misinterpretation of Kohn. We all seem to have our own slightly different interpretations, but mine is that the kind of praise that's especially bad is the kind that makes kids feel their parents love them better when they do the thing they're being praised for. So heartfelt praise could actually be a lot worse than automatic, insincere praise about something a kid can tell his parents don't really care about that much. (Heartfelt praise about a specific thing a child has done, I mean - not general "I love you so much and I'm so glad you're my child" stuff, which I think Kohn is totally in favor of.)
I think that heartfelt praise can have a very important role in giving children social cues, though. I like what Becky Bailey says about teaching your children the vocabulary to express the good deeds they do. For example, you would say, "You shared your cookie with your brother. That was generous." This is a simple description of what happened, you're not pigeon-holing your child into "being" generous, but I think that they would infer from your statement that they are capable of being generous. And if they noticed that you were particularly glad and warmed by their sharing, they would learn that generosity is a trait that you greatly admire. Then, they might try to cultivate it in themselves. Isn't that good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
But you know what? Being a baby primate is all about seeking approval and figuring out how the world, and the social unit in which you live, works.

Kids start out as infants, using whatever control they have over their bodies to try to affect the world around them, and specifically to get the big primates to react in different ways. They copy facial expressions when they are HOURS old, and they will repeat the expressions that get a smile and a coo in return. Later, they drop things, push limits, touch things they know they shouldn't - to get reactions, to see where the boundaries lie, to find out what happens if they do X or Y or Z. And the world lets them know, with at least some approval or disapproval (even if you gently redirect or renegotiate, the most CL of parents will make it clear they disapprove of hitting, for example).

To respond to everything with a flat affect: "Hey, that's green! Why is the top of it triangular?" is to refuse to engage in the child's quest to figure out How Others Think and See the World - which will ultimately, I think, give them as skewed a picture of the world as it woould if they heard nothing but constant, meaningless, praise of their very existence.
Exactly! What I was trying to say earlier, only way better!
post #59 of 105
"You shared your cookie with your brother. That was generous."

See, I would say that's what I aim to do instead of praise. (And not with a flat affect - with a pleased tone, if it pleased me.) But I also wouldn't do it all the time. Definitely the first time I saw it, or if he'd been being mean to his (nonexistant ) brother.

I dunno. I gotta get to bed; maybe more later.
post #60 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
But you know what? Being a baby primate is all about seeking approval and figuring out how the world, and the social unit in which you live, works.

Kids start out as infants, using whatever control they have over their bodies to try to affect the world around them, and specifically to get the big primates to react in different ways. They copy facial expressions when they are HOURS old, and they will repeat the expressions that get a smile and a coo in return. Later, they drop things, push limits, touch things they know they shouldn't - to get reactions, to see where the boundaries lie, to find out what happens if they do X or Y or Z. And the world lets them know, with at least some approval or disapproval (even if you gently redirect or renegotiate, the most CL of parents will make it clear they disapprove of hitting, for example).

To respond to everything with a flat affect: "Hey, that's green! Why is the top of it triangular?" is to refuse to engage in the child's quest to figure out How Others Think and See the World - which will ultimately, I think, give them as skewed a picture of the world as it woould if they heard nothing but constant, meaningless, praise of their very existence.


What a great post and so well said! You know, saying "hey, that's green!" etc. ,etc. to me is very similar to saying "Good job!" while getting down on your kiddo's level and really looking at their picture.

I haven't read Kohn's book but I've read a lot about praise and I think the point is really to avoid the "good job" habit when you're not even really connected to your child or paying attention. I think it's probably reasonable to mix up the good jobs with the a more detailed observation, but I think it doesn't need to be overthought too much.
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