How do you deal with other people saying "good job" to your LOs? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Friends, family, and just about anyone will say "good job" to our 21mo DD in situations where we try so hard not to do so ourselves. Once you start paying attention to it, it's amazing how many times you can hear it throughout the day...

So, how do you deal with that? I now cringe whenever I hear it, but don't say anything for fear of sounding rude. But I also sometimes feel that all our efforts are for nothing when it's negated by other people using those words throughout the day...

Any suggestions on when it's appropriate to say something about it, and what to tell them?
Thanks.
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#2 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 05:00 AM
 
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I used to hate it, too. But, my third child really needs it. So, I've actually had to make myself use it. I don't think there is really much you can do without hovering. I don't think it's harmful especially if they aren't getting that from you. Most people are probably just excited about something your child is doing that they don't get to experience.

Like grandparents who see their little children in your little child.

Perhaps if it's someone you are really close to you can share your concerns about the the statement. Ask them to be more specific...like wow look at you tackle those stairs!

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#3 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 05:27 AM
 
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I figure that my children get most of what they really learn from me. I don't sweat what the relatives do. It may help that our relatives are far away - so the 1-2x a year that my kids were overwhelmed with 'good job' didn't really bother me.

I found that my dh, who comes from a family of knee-jerk good jobbers, slowly picked up on my more specific comments to the kids. For example, yesterday dd did chores without whining (the first time in a long time), and dh said to her as they were getting ready for bed "Thanks for doing your chores cheerfully today." I think his family of origin would have said "good job doing your chores."

And I don't lose sleep over using good job or praise. I try to be specific when the situation warrants it, but I also don't want to over think this. I think you can do your kids harm if you never tell them that you like something. If your comment is genuine, who cares if it's 'good job' or other kinds of praise? I told dd today that I really liked the curly tail she put on the imaginary animal she drew. I did. It looked cool!

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#4 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaMommy View Post
So, how do you deal with that? I now cringe whenever I hear it, but don't say anything for fear of sounding rude. But I also sometimes feel that all our efforts are for nothing when it's negated by other people using those words throughout the day...
Thanks.
I don't think this is true, I don't think your efforts are negated by other people saying "good job" to your child. I've found that my children appreciate me praising for specific things and they take it more seriously than when people just throw out a generic "good job". As your DC gets older, I think your DD will notice the difference between generic praise and genuine praise. I honestly wouldn't sweat it. . .as your DD goes through life you will hear many, many worse things. . .a wise woman once told me, "Choose your battles" when it comes to raising your child. . .I'll go to battle over the word hate, stupid, general belittling, etc. . .not over someone trying to be kind and saying "good job"

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#5 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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I would ignore it, honestly, unless it's someone who is spending significant periods of time with your children (someone who lives with you, or watches them every day, etc.).

Trying to set guidelines for how the rest of the world relates to your children (aside from basic abuse and human respect issues) is an exercise in futility.
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#6 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post

Trying to set guidelines for how the rest of the world relates to your children (aside from basic abuse and human respect issues) is an exercise in futility.

Yeah, this.

Part of parenting is trying to help your child live in the real world. Sheltering them from things other people do and say is not very helpful to them. People get praised in real life and people praise others to be nice. I honestly would accept it and not even pay much attention to it. Just don't draw extra attention to it if you don't want your little one to pick up on it.

I agree with the poster that says pick your battles. I think I'd choose to spend my energy fighting the mean things people will say to your child and not the nice things....

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#7 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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It depends on who it's coming from. If it's someone I'm close with or someone we spend a lot of time with, I ask them not to say it. If it's a random person on the street I just roll my eyes and go on with my day.
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#8 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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Trying to set guidelines for how the rest of the world relates to your children (aside from basic abuse and human respect issues) is an exercise in futility. [/QUOTE]


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#9 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I wouldn't say anything, especially not in front of your child because he may take it as you thinking he isn't doing things well and that will be more damaging than someone telling him he has done a good job. You could try talking about your view on telling kids they have done things well and see if that helps. Depending on how extreme your view about praise is your words may or may not make a difference.
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#10 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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I agree with ignoring it, for most situations.
All the "good job" from my family used to really bother me. I told my grandma some of my complaints about it (don't like the phrase, when you praise it implies that you are surprised they did it), and she replaced it with "Good show, I knew you could do it." hehehe That's when I gave up. They praise ALL the time for everything. They've praised him for eating spagetti (for slurping it in) and for blowing his nose. Heck, at least he knows he's adored.

Praise from others is much different than praise from you. Keep being specific, and dc will likely eventually read those specifics into the praise from others.

The only praise that I'd be very concerned about is blatantly manipulative praise. (I'd be concerned about any blatanly manipulative stuff, regardless of praise) Like "be a good girl and do x." In THAT case, I would say something if it were someone who was going to be around dc much or for very long.

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#11 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 10:59 PM
 
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I agree with pp about saying something when it's overtly manipulative.

Otherwise, it may be that your dc will end up saying something about it at the point when it really bothers her (if it does). My eldest two dc came to talk to me about our friend constantly 'good jobbing' them and I told them to tell her how they feel. My then 4 yr old did, and she stopped with our boys. She still does it with her dc, but ours feel much better not being under constant scrutiny (even if it's intended to be positive).

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#12 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaMommy View Post
Any suggestions on when it's appropriate to say something about it, and what to tell them?
I agree with those who've said that it's probably almost never appropriate to challenge people about this. These people are not your child's primary caregivers and they are, truly, only trying to be nice. I can't fathom how this could be harmful to your child.

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#13 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 04:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
I figure that my children get most of what they really learn from me. I don't sweat what the relatives do. It may help that our relatives are far away - so the 1-2x a year that my kids were overwhelmed with 'good job' didn't really bother me.

I found that my dh, who comes from a family of knee-jerk good jobbers, slowly picked up on my more specific comments to the kids. For example, yesterday dd did chores without whining (the first time in a long time), and dh said to her as they were getting ready for bed "Thanks for doing your chores cheerfully today." I think his family of origin would have said "good job doing your chores."

And I don't lose sleep over using good job or praise. I try to be specific when the situation warrants it, but I also don't want to over think this. I think you can do your kids harm if you never tell them that you like something. If your comment is genuine, who cares if it's 'good job' or other kinds of praise? I told dd today that I really liked the curly tail she put on the imaginary animal she drew. I did. It looked cool!
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#14 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about it either. There will be lots of things you will do/try to do as a parent that others won't do/try to do. That's just reality.
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#15 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Good job is not inheritanly bad and the occasional good job doesn't bother me in the least. if I notice him getting lots of them then I just follow up with specifics.

say we are out at the playground and someone says good job when he swung off of the jungle gym. I would say "yes- he really used muscles to swing down from there"

or if we are at the library and the librarian says good job when he picked up a book that he dropped. I would "yes it is important to pick up after yourself and not leave things on the floor."

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#16 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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I typically ignore it. My parents "good job" EVERYTHING DS does from throwing a ball to finishing yogurt. They're just so enamored with him and everything he does I think it's their way of expressing their joy to him. I've mentioned it to my mom a couple times and she tries when it's appropriate, like when he picks up toys or tries to help clean up a mess. I just usually let it slide.

We probably say it more often than some on here do but each time we catch ourselves saying it we follow up with something more specific. For example if he cleans up after himself or helps me with dishes and I catch myself right in the middle of a "Good Job!" I follow up with, "You're really helping Mama out. That's what we do, we help other people!"

As someone else said, you don't realize how often you say it until you really start trying to not say it. If it's excessive from a specific person and I hear it, I either ignore it or add to it saying, "Yes, you're working very hard to climb the steps!" or something of that nature.

For the most part I figure we are his main influences so outside "Good Jobs" from others won't hurt and in grandparents' cases, I don't think we could change that no matter how hard we tried. So I just shrug it off.

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#17 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Just curious, why is 'good job' so bad? I'm getting the sense that many here see it as bad (based on this & other posts) and I thought it was because it's so generic but it sounds like there is some deeper reason many of you are against it? Fill me in here!!

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#18 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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crunchy_mommy, you may get more responses if you start a new thread on this.

Here are 2 articles that may help:
Praise That Builds a Child's Self-Esteem
Rewards and Praise: The Poisoned Carrot

This one talks about the difference between genuine praise and artificial (manipulative) praise:
Praising our Children: Manipulation or Celebration?


Here's a page from the Continuum Concept on praise

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#19 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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Thank you DevaMajka!!! The last link wouldn't open for me but the other 3 really described it well, I totally get it now

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#20 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good job is not inheritanly bad and the occasional good job doesn't bother me in the least. if I notice him getting lots of them then I just follow up with specifics.

say we are out at the playground and someone says good job when he swung off of the jungle gym. I would say "yes- he really used muscles to swing down from there"

or if we are at the library and the librarian says good job when he picked up a book that he dropped. I would "yes it is important to pick up after yourself and not leave things on the floor."
I like that approach. Thanks for sharing.

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tell your friends and family that now that your son is starting to talk, it is making it difficult for you to understand him because he is ALWAYS adding '''goodjob'' to the end of everything he says......and you wAnt to understand your son....so even tho he IS doing a good job......we would prefer you not say that anymore for a little while.....and see how that works for you
That's funny. I can't imagine it would get to that point, but would be really funny if it did... They do pick up on everything you say though, that's so true.

For the most part, I mostly cringe when it's from someone we see regularly. One of our friends will say "good job" or "good one" just about every other word when talking to our DD (and I'm not exagerating here; well, almost not...). We see him everyday, so that gets a bit irritating after a while.
I think I'll mention something to that person, just because it's soooooo often, but will use the other suggested approach with other people.

Thank you all! This is so helpful.
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#21 of 25 Old 01-17-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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as a good jobber in recovery, i just wanted to say "oops" to all my friends who hate "good job"!

i got into the habit way back in the late 80s when i was working my first job at a preschool (good job was the preferred phrase in those days, as a newer version of "good boy" or "good girl"). now that i have twin toddlers, i find myself saying it ALL the time, even if i do give an explanation of the behavior i'm praising afterward.

it's not that i even want to be saying it, but darnit, i'm tired, and it just comes out so easily.

for my part, i cringe probably the same way you do when people say "good boy" to my kids. i have a friend who is always saying that her little tiny baby is "a good baby"... it drives me nuts! but i always remember in the end that people are just expressing their love and their praise, and neither of those is wrong. my kids will be just fine with my imperfect praise, and although i know it bugs my best friend and i am working at being more conscious, i hope she'll know that it comes from a place of love.

good for you for having a habit of describing the behavior you are calling attention to. maybe having a conversation with your friend will be useful to you both.

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#22 of 25 Old 01-18-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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The links that DevaMajka posted are great. I find myself saying "Good boy" a lot to my 8 month old son! I cringe every time I do, but I'm so used to having dogs, and this is my first child. Reading articles like this and hearing other suggestions on how to phrase my comments is really helpful. Thanks!

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#23 of 25 Old 01-19-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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My DH is a constant good jobber, and he's the primary caregiver of our DD. It drives me crazy, but I fear if would be niggling to bring it up. He is so incredibly good with her otherwise. I try to be very specific in my praise in hopes that he'll pick it up, but he usually follows my specifity with a "yeah, good job!" Ugh. What can you do? I just tell myself to let it go.

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#24 of 25 Old 01-21-2010, 02:39 AM
 
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I don't think you can really stop others from saying it and I don't think it matters that much. As long as your child is getting other feedback from you then it will be balanced. I myself tried to stop saying good job and my daughter didn't react well, so I mix it in with the "you did it" and such comments. She often will say "I did it!" when she finishes a task and sometimes she will tell me "good job momma". I think it's all about balance. You can always model the behavior you want from others and maybe they will pick it up on their own.

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#25 of 25 Old 01-21-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyKT View Post
My DH is a constant good jobber, and he's the primary caregiver of our DD. It drives me crazy, but I fear if would be niggling to bring it up. He is so incredibly good with her otherwise. I try to be very specific in my praise in hopes that he'll pick it up, but he usually follows my specifity with a "yeah, good job!" Ugh. What can you do? I just tell myself to let it go.
My husband is all about using praise as a carrot, and I can't get him to read anything (I think if he *did* read Punished by Rewards he'd get it!), so our agreement is that I won't hassle him about it and he won't interject praise into *my* interactions with the kids.
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