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#31 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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I agree 100%. I posted a page back that I feel like I can't keep up with all the "rules" of AP as discussed on MDC anymore. I mean, there seem to be just so many...

That said, I also don't think AP is "supposed" to be about these do's and don'ts. I thought it was just supposed to be about being a tuned-in parent, no matter what that means to you as an individual parent. Dr. Sears describes it very openly and inclusively, yet I feel at times here like it's some exclusive club that's almost impossible to join.

I don't mean to point fingers at anyone or any particular topic--it's just a general feeling I have from time to time. Mostly I feel it's a wonderful community, though, and I'm grateful to be part of it.
This is exactly how I feel. There are so many rules that I feel like I need to defend my membership to the AP club. I mean, I can't even tell my kid she did a good job now? I really think that completely misses the point of raising self assured children. It isn't the phrase itself that is going to mess things up and I don't like feeling that if someone were to overhear me say good job! to my kid, they would have all these assumptions about me and even possibly shudder over it thinking I'm going to raise this codependent child who can't enjoy ANYTHING because they are so addicted to just being told they did 'good.'
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#32 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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This is exactly how I feel. There are so many rules that I feel like I need to defend my membership to the AP club. I mean, I can't even tell my kid she did a good job now? I really think that completely misses the point of raising self assured children. It isn't the phrase itself that is going to mess things up and I don't like feeling that if someone were to overhear me say good job! to my kid, they would have all these assumptions about me and even possibly shudder over it thinking I'm going to raise this codependent child who can't enjoy ANYTHING because they are so addicted to just being told they did 'good.'

Exactly my point.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#33 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Oh phew, I started reading this thread last night and was just shaking my head about it. We're in a different boat sometimes b/c DS is on the autism spectrum, but his self esteem has always been my priority since day one. Recently when I read his Occupational Therapy eval the therapist wrote that DS would clap for himself when he completed a task, I got the warmest in my heart because I knew he felt good about himself. I wouldn't trade that for anything and am a little annoyed that anyone would try to keep that from him!
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#34 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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A child clapping for him or herself isn't about giving a child praise. In fact, that's the opposite - a child finding appreciation for what he did from the inside and celebrating without being told to celebrate. The question is whether praise actually improves self esteem or hinders self esteem. There was a movement mainly in the 70s and into the 80s called the self-esteem movement where it was assumed frequent praise would improve children's self esteem, but it was an assumption without testing or much looking into it, and there are some indications that it didn't work and still doesn't.

It isn't a contest, for those who said they felt that way. If you disagree with the research Alfie Kohn works with and his writings and the work of others who agree, then by all means keep doing what works for you. But it does ring true to me based on my experience as a child who grew up during the 70s at the height of this movement, so I will keep reading about this issue and discussing it.
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#35 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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Tway - Are you sure your 11 month old wouldn't understand you talking about what she did? Kids can be pretty surprising, and the more often and earlier they are exposed to words the more often and earlier they tend to use them. Just a thought.

I personally WAS praised a lot as a kid - especially if how my parents praise my kids is any indication. I DO think it has affected me in a negative way. I am talking about the "good job" and clapping for using the potty every time even a year or so AFTER my kids have been doing it all the time. And really? Good job for going to the bathroom? We all do that all the time.

I praise my kids a lot BUT I do it more as happy observations, not judgements on them. I don't feel like my kids are missing out that way, and I do feel like it lays a stronger internal foundation for the future.

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#36 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I want to be told I did a good job too, not how I am screwing my kid up because I don't say every little thing right, geez.
Good job praising! (that's meant to be lighthearted and silly )


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Originally Posted by Tway View Post
I agree 100%. I posted a page back that I feel like I can't keep up with all the "rules" of AP as discussed on MDC anymore. I mean, there seem to be just so many...
I think this is one of the topics where it's not a "rule." It's just something that some parents think about, and want to do a certain way. The very nature of a forum dedicated to a single topic (GD in this case) leads itself to discussing minutiae like this.
I, for one, certainly don't think that people who praise are not AP, nor do I think anything negative of them as a parent for doing so. I'm sure that's true for other people who use descriptive praise and not evaluative praise (aka don't praise). It's just the way I want to relate to my kids. And those of us who don't praise start threads and talk about why, how, what to say, etc, and if people post asking to know more, most people are happy to explain our POV.
(Though I must say I do find it amusing when I overhear a parent saying "Good sliding!" or something like that.)


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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
A child clapping for him or herself isn't about giving a child praise. In fact, that's the opposite - a child finding appreciation for what he did from the inside and celebrating without being told to celebrate.
Exactly my thought. If you read the article I posted, you see that *this* is exactly the goal of using descriptive praise and not evaluative praise. We want the praise to come from the child. We want HIM to evaluate himself, based on the information he gets from the world and from us.

eta- oh, and I do believe that praise and rewards did have a negative effect on me, especially in relation to getting good grades in school.

I will say that I think that praising constantly is preferable to praising only when it's "deserved." My grandma is like this with my boys. She praises them all the time, over every little thing. It used to sort of annoy me, but not any more. Heck, at least they don't feel like they have to behave in a certain way to get her approval.

And also (then I'll stop writing), I just want to clarify- I think some people get the impression that "not praising" = not showing lots of affection. I show loads of affection. I give hugs all the time, I tell my kids I love them, say things like "you're the best!" We play together. I definitely show my enthusiasm when they are impressed with themselves, and I encourage them when they are unsure. Ds1 went through a phase where it seemed that he wanted evaluative praise from me, and I did it. He wanted to hear that his pictures were good, and that I liked them. (This just occurred to me just now, but he doesn't like coloring now. It's his least favorite thing to do in 1st grade. hmmm). But for the most part, I don't sense any sort of feeling on ds's part that he wants more. When he does a big jump (the whole: "Mom! Watch what I can do!") I respond something like "wow! That's a big jump!" or "You did it!" and he responds "Yep!" with a big ol' grin on his face.

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#37 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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I guess for me I just want my kids to know that they did a "good job" be it saying that one way or another. I just worry that too many people get so involved and wrapped in the how they say it the moment is lost because they are trying to find the right words to convey the message w/out damaging the psyche. I for one am just fine telling my kid they are awesome, because well they are to me. I just don't feel it necessary to bubble wrap all my words in case I may damage my kid's esteem. I guess I just believe what I am saying, so it never occurred to me that saying "good job" might not be genuine.

As for myself as a child the only things that did in fact negatively effect me, were negative comments. My ballet teacher telling me at 10 I was too fat to be a ballet dancer(or any dancer for that fact, when she weighed 250lbs) or the teacher's assistant who ruined my love for art by telling me that "art will never get me anywhere." Thanks to those two women, for they were the ones who conveyed to me I wasn't doing a "good job" being me. My point is even if you do everything right, someone else can undermine all that with a couple of words.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#38 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen has some great ideas for making praise specific.

I try to share my delight, which may or may not be praise.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#39 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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Tway - Are you sure your 11 month old wouldn't understand you talking about what she did? Kids can be pretty surprising, and the more often and earlier they are exposed to words the more often and earlier they tend to use them. Just a thought.
She's just understanding individual words or ideas right now. But when I use long sentences, or big groups of words, she does her "eh?" forehead frown that says she's not getting what I'm saying. So for now, it's a clap, a big smile, a "good girl!", a hug, a kiss, even a hair rustle from DH. It's simple and straightforward, and it will grow as she grows.

Woman, Wife, Mom to beautiful DD (10/14/09), Copywriter, occasionally tearing my hair out but usually pretty happy about it all
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#40 of 47 Old 09-18-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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I personally think praising a child is a great thing to do! I do not really understand the idea that one should refrain from praising a child, or why some people recommend that.
As for the idea that it creates a dependency on others to need to be praised, personally I don't find that a compelling reason! I think kids Are dependent on parents, and people in general Are dependent upon each other. I think it is good to have people supporting each others' self esteem by telling people they are good. It doesn't make sense to me to instill an idea in a child that they can not be praised by their parents and must only find their own self worth. Because childhood is the time of life where the parent is instilling all those things into the child- and validating and praising a person, I think, makes them feel good about themselves.
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#41 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 02:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I guess for me I just want my kids to know that they did a "good job" be it saying that one way or another. I just worry that too many people get so involved and wrapped in the how they say it the moment is lost because they are trying to find the right words to convey the message w/out damaging the psyche. At first I thought about what I was saying a little more, but once you are out of the instant "good job" habit it reallly isn't any more thinking than I always do when I speak. I for one am just fine telling my kid they are awesome, because well they are to me. I just don't feel it necessary to bubble wrap all my words in case I may damage my kid's esteem. I guess I just believe what I am saying, so it never occurred to me that saying "good job" might not be genuine.For me, at least, the issue isn't that my feelings aren't genuine, it's that I don't want to be judging my childrens' actions for them, I really want them to do that.

As for myself as a child the only things that did in fact negatively effect me, were negative comments. My ballet teacher telling me at 10 I was too fat to be a ballet dancer(or any dancer for that fact, when she weighed 250lbs) or the teacher's assistant who ruined my love for art by telling me that "art will never get me anywhere." Thanks to those two women, for they were the ones who conveyed to me I wasn't doing a "good job" being me. My point is even if you do everything right, someone else can undermine all that with a couple of words.
I'm sorry that you had two terrible teachers in your past. I guess for me, part of why I don't do the "good job" thing is because I'm really trying to instill a resiliency and a self-evaluative frame of reference. So if my DD's ballet teacher ever said dumb crap to her she'd either brush it off or talk to me about it and we'd evaluate it together.

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#42 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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So how do you encourage your kids to try and share their enthusiasm for learning new things without praise?
For me, it's really important to focus on the TRYING part of doing things. I learned in professional development classes as a teacher that one of the biggest differences in children who succeed and those who don't is whether the child attributes their success (or lack thereof) to their own EFFORT, or to other circumstances (their intelligence, luck, or the difficulty of the task).

That being said, I have a little song I sing to dd (3yo) when she's trying to do something challenging.

Katy's trying, Katy's trying
It's so great when Katy tries.

I made it up on the spot once out of sheer joy that she was actually trying to take her own socks off. She loved the song, so now I use it all the time. If she succeeds, I show enthusiasm for that, but then I go back to saying how great it was that she kept trying even though it was hard. And if she doesn't succeed, she can still walk away feeling good about how much effort she put forth.
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#43 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I'm sorry that you had two terrible teachers in your past. I guess for me, part of why I don't do the "good job" thing is because I'm really trying to instill a resiliency and a self-evaluative frame of reference. So if my DD's ballet teacher ever said dumb crap to her she'd either brush it off or talk to me about it and we'd evaluate it together.

Tjej
I just think there is more to it than saying "good job",people are reading way too much into 2 words. If your parents are evaluate everything you do no matter how they say it kids will feel like they are being evaluated. If someone genuinely tells them they are doing a good job, and the person giving the praise believes it, then I think a child can see that. I really think that kids can see through more than parents want to give them credit for.

I guess the point is I believe it's an over-analysis of a simple thing

ETA-no reason to apologize for the actions of those teachers, they really weren't good teachers, if they were they would have never said that stuff.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#44 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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Well, you're not addressing me, but I feel like butting my nose in anyway.

I just wanted to respond to your concerns about him needing your approval for everything.

I do praise. A lot. All four of my kids and my dh. I think if someone does a good job, then someone else should say so. Pretty simple and nice IMO.

My kids do *not* seek or need my approval. They like it, it encourages them, but they far from hang on it. My oldest is 13, and this is simply not an issue in his choices or behavior.

I think we have better things to be doing with our time as mothers, than to dissect what to say when our child does a good job instead of "good job".

Ok, I'm buggering off now.
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#45 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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i was raised with two styles of parenting in this regard.

my mom is a very no-nonesense, practical kind of person. that kind of effusive, over the top "good job" praise is totally foreign to her. when she says something positive, it is very much in the style of what other people are mentioning... "i think you used perspective very well in this picture" etc.

my dad is the opposite. he is an enthusiastic, effusive praiser. lots of "good job", "wow you amaze me" "i'm so proud of you" kind of praise. with good grades, paintings, crafts, skills, winning a game, he was always very vocal about his pleasure in our abilities.

as an artist, my mother is my best critic. i know i can come to her for an honest appraisal of anything i've created. however, as a daughter, i appreciate my dad's style more. and guess who i worry about impressing? that's right, my mom. her praise is very hard to get, so i crave it. my dad loves me and everything i do (not that he isn't honest when i really screw up) and i feel much freer to be myself around him. i feel like he is my cheerleader, and i honestly think children need a cheerleader. it is great to know that no matter how you perform, someone will be standing by your side, letting you know they are proud of you. despite plenty of "good job"s from my dad, i am perfectly capable of self-evaluating.

i don't think you can force yourself to be different from how you are. i am an enthusiastic and effusive person like my dad anyway... i couldn't possibly hold myself back from expressing the wonder and amazment that my daughter is growing up and becoming skillful. "good job" and its like will definitely be a part of my vocabulary.
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#46 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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as an artist, my mother is my best critic. i know i can come to her for an honest appraisal of anything i've created. however, as a daughter, i appreciate my dad's style more. and guess who i worry about impressing? that's right, my mom. her praise is very hard to get, so i crave it. my dad loves me and everything i do (not that he isn't honest when i really screw up) and i feel much freer to be myself around him. i feel like he is my cheerleader, and i honestly think children need a cheerleader. it is great to know that no matter how you perform, someone will be standing by your side, letting you know they are proud of you. despite plenty of "good job"s from my dad, i am perfectly capable of self-evaluating.


I try really hard to be both.

I never lie to them. So, that is the really challenge in the life of a parent, giving constructive criticism. It is not easy.

So far, my two older children are very level-headed, so I can speak to them very on the level - and they get it. They know that I'm not judging them, or disapproving of *them*.

My girls, I don't know. They're still young, and so far highly emotional. I may have my work cut out for me there. But, I'll do my best, and thankfully I'm very flexible.

In the end, I don't *think* I'll screw them up too much! Oh, seriously though:
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#47 of 47 Old 09-19-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I think people are truly misunderstanding the why's and how's of non-praising in day to day life. (At least for me, and I'm sure others in the GD forum).

Here are a couple things that stuck out to me from the Continuum Concept:
Quote:
The familiar expedients of praise and blame wreak havoc upon the motives of children, especially the smallest ones. If the child does something useful, like putting on his own clothes or feeding the dog, bringing in a handful of field flowers or making an ashtray from a lump of clay, nothing can be more discouraging than an expression of surprise that he has behaved socially: “Oh, what a good girl!” “Look what Georgie has made all by himself!” and similar exclamations imply that sociality is unexpected, uncharacteristic, and unusual in the child.
Quote:
[A] child may very well understand the reasoning of the caretaker and even reason similarly, while being motivated to behave contrarily. In other words, he is more likely to do what he senses is expected of him than what he is told to do.
And my fave quote from TCC, which ties in with those, Imo:
Quote:
Children need to see that they are assumed to be well-intentioned, naturally social people who are trying to do the right thing and who want reliable reactions from their elders to guide them.
Leidloff talks a lot about how children (specifically the Yequana children, but says that it applies to kids in general) do what they believe is expected of them. If you expect they will behave in a socially acceptable way, they will. (what you tell them that you expect of them is irrelevant).

Also, some of my motivation to not use evaluative praise came from Unconditional Parenting
Quote:
Let kids know you’re delighted to be with them, that you care about them no matter what happens. This is completely different than praise, which is doled out as a response to something a child does.
Quote:
Children’s sense of competence, and perhaps of their worth, may come to rise or fall as a result of our reaction. They look to us, figuratively and sometimes literally, to see whether we approve of what they’ve done. (It’s a little like toddlers who take their cue from us when they fall down…)
As a result of praise, children become less able or willing to take pride in their own accomplishments- or to decide what IS an accomplishment.
My take on this: Kids deserve the chance to decide for themselves what actions are worthwhile.

Quote:
Why do we feel the need to keep evaluating our children's actions, turning them into "jobs" that may, if they're lucky, be deemed ‘good’?
We don't need to evaluate in order to encourage.

So my motivation doesn't actually have much to do with self esteem. I think that my kids have a right, and are capable of, deciding what actions are worth repeating, how impressed with themselves they are for doing them, and what they want to improve at, without me evaluating those actions. I give them information such as how their actions affect other people, and what is likely to happen as a result of doing x. I celebrate WITH them when they are impressed with themselves. I celebrate that they are who they are, regardless of their accomplishments or what they do.
I expect that they will, and want to, behave in a socially acceptable manner if they are capable of doing so. I don't praise for socially acceptable behavior; I tell them how their actions affected the other person (if anything needs to be said at all). However, if dc were to trying to perfect some sort of social behavior, and finally accomplished it, and was visibly impressed with himself, I would celebrate with him. And I don't do this in a cold "well, you should know better, so I expect this from you" type of way. For example, when ds pets the dog properly (and isn't hitting her) I might say "oohh, Shiloh LOVES it when you pet her. oohh, look how happy she is! Yeah, she LOVES to be pet!" in an excited voice the expresses that he's doing something that makes Shiloh happy. Ds2 loves flushing the toilet, so I often ask him to "help" me by flushing the toilet for me. He's happy to assist, and I typically say something like "Oh, thank you! Thank you! It's so helpful when you help me flush the toilet!!" (I'm telling him how his actions affected me, and expressing gratitude for his help).

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Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
Yesterday he asked me several times to say, "Good job!" to him, to Daddy, to his plastic bath toy.... I told him the plastic bath toy would have to do something great for me to say that...
In this case, I, personally, would play the game with him. I'm relatively opposed to praising just for something "great." Like I said earlier in the thread, if one is going to praise, I think it's best to praise for every teeny thing (and nothing at all), because then it doesn't become about the child having to do something great in order to get the praise.

Quote:
So how do you encourage your kids to try and share their enthusiasm for learning new things without praise? Or is it not really about praise, but about any emotional connection that indicates approval/disapproval? I'm not quite sure I get it, but I know I don't want him to become dependent on my approval to do things.
I was lost on this one for a minute, and couldn't figure out why I didn't have an answer for it. I think it's this- kids want to learn. They are designed to have a hunger for knowledge. They learn because they want to, they are driven to. It goes along with my belief that kids will behave in a socially acceptable manner if they are capable of doing so. Mind you, I only have one school age child. But he loves to learn, and doesn't seem to need my approval to do so. However, he DOES sometimes need encouragement when things don't come super easily to him, which I freely give, of course.

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Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
As for myself as a child the only things that did in fact negatively effect me, were negative comments. My ballet teacher telling me at 10 I was too fat to be a ballet dancer(or any dancer for that fact, when she weighed 250lbs) or the teacher's assistant who ruined my love for art by telling me that "art will never get me anywhere." Thanks to those two women, for they were the ones who conveyed to me I wasn't doing a "good job" being me. My point is even if you do everything right, someone else can undermine all that with a couple of words.
I think you are the poster who mentioned that praise from the heart is better than fumbling around for the "right" words, then missing the moment, right? I agree with that But if someone agrees with the ideas behind not praising, then it makes sense for them to practice until it becomes second nature. But I do think you make a good point- learning to not praise shouldn't become important to the point of missing out on situations where you could celebrate with your child.


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Originally Posted by SilverFish View Post
i was raised with two styles of parenting in this regard.

my mom is a very no-nonesense, practical kind of person. that kind of effusive, over the top "good job" praise is totally foreign to her. when she says something positive, it is very much in the style of what other people are mentioning... "i think you used perspective very well in this picture" etc.

my dad is the opposite. he is an enthusiastic, effusive praiser. lots of "good job", "wow you amaze me" "i'm so proud of you" kind of praise. with good grades, paintings, crafts, skills, winning a game, he was always very vocal about his pleasure in our abilities.
I'm a non-praiser, but I'm not like you describe your mother at all. Like I said, I think people misunderstand the whole non-praising thing. I'm sure there are some people who don't praise and are like that. But I don't think you could call me cold at all. I'm enthusiastic about something my kids do when they are (or if they are discouraged and need encouragement). My reaction often matches their feelings. Ds1 is learning to read, and last night I exclaimed to him "Wow! You are getting really good at sounding words out!" I was genuinely impressed!

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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