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

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#61 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 04:06 AM
 
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I was never praised as a child and never felt like I was up to par. I still don't. To make matters worse, my mother had a habit of comparing my brother with me, trying to create more competition to encourage us to excel even more. I had some pretty heated arguments with my mom when I became a teen - everything along the lines of I'm never good enough, why bother trying? I was a straight A student (I was even valedictorian!) and she had a fit about me pulling a B in one class instead of another A. Drove me nuts. I think it's too bad that even today I still feel like nothing I ever do is good enough.

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#62 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by verde View Post
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.
verde, too bad you never sat in on any of my therapy sessions!! I wonder if a lot of people don't complain about too much praise because they've been so manipulated (by well-meaning parents) that they might feel guilty about resenting the over-praising. Kind of a co-dependent sort of thing? (my dose of pop-psych for the day!)

There were times when I got such effusive praise, that I just felt really crummy inside, as though I was getting praised so much because I was a real loser and my parents were trying to make me feel better. The things that I was passionate about pursuing were encouraged only as "extra-curricular" things, to be enjoyed once I had excelled in areas that were approved of, and I was praised most heavily for the things I didn't like doing instead of the things I did.

I think there's a big difference between praising someone for what YOU think they did well, and being enouraging and enthusiastic about what THEY are proud to be achieving or attempting. (I certainly wish my efforts had been noticed as well as my achievements.)

One of the best things I have taken away from UP is the idea that the important message in communicating with kids is not what the parents think they're saying, but what the kids are hearing.

For a while now I've been trying to give DS lots of hugs and kisses when we're in disagreement (to put it politely), and also to STOP what I'm doing frequently during the day and really look him in the eyes and listen carefully to what he's saying, and this has been really good for us. For me, I think it's more about the total message I'm trying to give, and to be present and aware, rather than specific words. If I let a "good" or "great" slip in that matters less to me than if my child knows that I really SEE him and love him for who he is, the easy and the challenging and all of it rolled up together.
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#63 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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My boss JUST knocked on my door to say "hey good job on the XXXX Brief"

So 1) yes adults get praise and 2) yes it is often in the form of 'good job' and not in any way specific"
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#64 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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this is all VERY interesting to me....thanks everyone for your perspsectives....

Just wanted to add that looking back, the issue for me was not praise (my mom was a BIG overpraiser and it led to all sorts of problems in our relationship) but that the people I got the best sense of self esteem from were my dad and my nana....and what they had in common was that they gave me a continuous positive regard - even when I did something wrong. Somehow, they both let me know that they still respected me and loved me and just basically valued me. It's not something they put into words - it was just a feeling that kind of shined from them.

The sad irony with my dad was that he *wasn't* able to do that for my brother...it was clear that he basically disapproved of my brother from the get go and nothing my brother did (even though he was praised for winning soccer games or playing his instrument or making an A) was ever quite enough.

there is a jewish story about a rebbi (I forget which) who had "the good eye"...he always chose to saw the best in people. He once invited the town drunk to sit at the head of his shabbas table. When asked why he would do this he responded, "well even though he doesn't attend the synagogue, he has alot to teach us about being who you are authentically" (implying that many people just went to synagogue out of appearance sake not because it was in their heart)....the point being that he saw that EVERYONE had something positive in them and that's what he chose to see.

the book "liberated parents, liberated child" also has a chapter about your role as a parent - it's not to "teach" kids how the world is - it's to be their repository of positive experiences - their biggest cheerleader and a positive reflection of themselves....if your mom doesn't like you, who else ever will?

anyway, that's what I'm thinking about these days - especially after reading all your posts!
peace,
robyn
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#65 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
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?
Yeah, but wouldn't it be even better for a child to cultivate generosity, not just because YOU admire it, but because she sees its value herself? And, you know, if she does something generous, it means she already gets that generosity is good. If you bring your admiration into it, you're making it about pleasing you as much as about being kind to other people.

I don't have a problem with commenting on good deeds as a way to give a young child vocabulary and to help him see himself as someone capable of good deeds. But I think with kids who are more than about 4 or 5, even a "neutral" comment about something you observed is likely to feel like a judgment, because they understand that you wouldn't mention it unless it was important to you.

I think there a lot of ways to teach a kid what traits you admire that don't involve praising the kid when she demonstrates those traits. You can show those traits yourself, you can talk about how much you admire them, and why, you can point out examples in books, etc. Of course, the kid is going to become aware that you get warm feelings when she's generous, and I don't think that's so terrible. I think what you want to avoid is having her feel that you only have warm feelings toward her when she's doing good deeds - that she needs to do good deeds to be loved. Praising her for sharing probably isn't such a bad thing, as long as you're also willing to give her extra attention and love sometimes even when she's doing exactly the opposite of what you like.
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#66 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really like hippymomma69's post about positive regard.
I grew up with lots of "positive regard" and I was praised a lot, by my grandma- basically for everything I did. lol. It honestly wasn't conditional, though, and that's what I took from it.
Heck, that's the same woman who praised ds over and over for- get ready for this....blowing his nose. lol. I'm talking, every single time for 5 days "wow! You are the BEST nose blower that I've ever seen. I'm going to tell your Aunt how GOOD you are at blowing your nose! That is amazing for a 3yo!"
I don't think my mom overdid praise, but I'm sure she praised.
I think the only negative effect was grades. But I honestly don't see that it had to do with praise, I think it was the grades themselves. I was one of those A students who would always opt for the easiest way to get a good grade, instead of trying something more difficult that I could actually learn from. I'd REFUSE to do something I didn't already know I could do well. I wouldn't even answer questions on tests unless I was positive I'd get it right.

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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.
That's my general feeling with most of the posts, too.

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"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.
Honestly, I see the word "generous" as a value judgement. That would put it in the praise camp for me personally. I'm definitely not saying that it's a bad thing to say. I've been trying to avoid those types of evaluations, but I'm starting to think they are perfectly fine. I'm just talking semantics here, really.
Now, if you said "You shared your cookie with your brother. Look how happy he looks now!" THEN I'd say it wasn't praise at all. A very very slight difference. In the first, YOU (general parent) are evaluating dc's actions (I have deemed your actions to be generous. lol).
In the second, you are telling dc how their actions affected brother. So the motivation to share the next time comes from the knowledge of how that action will affect others, not of what mom will think of that action.
Same basic effect though, I'd imagine. I don't see either as harmful- like I said, I'm just arguing semantics.

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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.
Quite interesting, and I think I've seen what you mean. I guess I do agree in a sense that kids try to figure out how others see the world.
I think that can be accomplished by saying "I think your painting is neat!" rather than "Good job painting." Both evaluations. But the first...doesn't claim to be the ultimate judge of what is good and what isn't. Just what *I* think.

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#67 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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I'm sure that my Dad must have praised me occasionally during childhood, although I cannot think of a specific example right now.

Positive reinforcement and acknowledgement would have been more beneficial to me though. It tooks many years to overcome my lack of inadequacy and self-confidence (although that wasn't only related to the topic of this thread)

In relation to my son, I don't 'praise' for the sake of it. I attempt to be mindful and consider what I'm about to say the majority of the time. It IS very easy to say 'good boy', it's a lot harder to fight the urge to do it and it does rely upon being mindful not to do this with him.

I will reinforce him in a positive manner however and acknowledge him in a positive manner too....

Peace
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#68 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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my parents never knew of kohn, but had very little praise, and I was constantly looking for acceptance or validation for stuff I did, I just wanted to hear "thats great!!" when I got straight A's.

I disagree with kohns approach and a house with little to no praise feels extremely unnatural for our family.
ITA. My parents also used to tell us "Stop looking for praise!" if we mentioned any acheivement to them.:

I still have self esteem problems, and seem to need a lot of validation.
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#69 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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verde, too bad you never sat in on any of my therapy sessions!! I wonder if a lot of people don't complain about too much praise because they've been so manipulated (by well-meaning parents) that they might feel guilty about resenting the over-praising. Kind of a co-dependent sort of thing? (my dose of pop-psych for the day!)
Pradiata, what you say may be true for some, but as the responses to this thread indicate, it's the LACK of praise that troubled and still trouble so many. My question to you is if the parents were sincerely well-meaning, then were they really manipulative? My experience has been that if people recognize their parents were sincerely well-meaning even if their parents did less-than-perfect things, people realize that (with exceptions of course) and work through it -- but it rarely takes them to the hospital. However, people who feel their parents withheld praise and recognition either thoughtlessly (like neglect) or thoughtfully (sometimes being blatantly cruel) have a longer road to walk in order to work through the effects of that.

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Yeah, but wouldn't it be even better for a child to cultivate generosity, not just because YOU admire it, but because she sees its value herself? And, you know, if she does something generous, it means she already gets that generosity is good. If you bring your admiration into it, you're making it about pleasing you as much as about being kind to other people.
Daffodil, why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't you praise a child and have her know HERSELF that generosity (or whatever) is valuable AND that it pleases the parents? Why be so picky about the nuances of individual words? Do you think that the outcome can ONLY be one thing -- that the child will respond to please the parent? Do you not think that children are also complex creatures who can integrate more that one concept at a time?

I think children pick up complexities more that we often realize. They do have to go through developmental stages, but by the time they're preschool they can read and interpret a lot of their parents behavior. For example, if one parent is an alcoholic, even four year olds know to avoid the drinker after a certain period of time because the drinker can become violent.

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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.)
Daffodil, I respectfully disagree. As some have responded, they knew as children that some of the praise was empty, meaningless, overblown. I think children and adults glow when they receive heartfelt, sincere praise. For some people it is THE turning point in their lives. I think the desire for praise is part of the human condition. I think we would do better as parents if we try to do praise right instead of trying to avoid it altogether because we fear that we will do it wrong.
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#70 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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I didn't get a lot of praise. And it made me kind of bitter. I was a good kid, I was smart, I was talented at lots of stuff, and it was just kind of like it all went into a vaccuum. Though I got plenty of negativity if I brought home a B or if I didn't do the chores. So that sucked. I don't *think* it was a philosophy with them, though my mom was an educator and a sort of crunchy type (hence the Barbie ban), so maybe...but I'm more inclined to think that they just weren't particularly demonstrative people, and the negativity was easier for them to express. I always knew that I was loved, but I didn't always feel appreciated.

It's only since I have had kids myself that I feel more warmth from my parents--they are very sweet and genuine with the girls, and they do praise them, and it makes them feel good as well as me.
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#71 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 11:23 PM
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Wait a minute...some people don't praise their children on purpose??? I must've missed something...is this the new parenting thing these days?
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#72 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 11:27 PM
 
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It IS very easy to say 'good boy', it's a lot harder to fight the urge to do it and it does rely upon being mindful not to do this with him.
I took "good boy" out of the language that I use completely. This has made life easier and I have to think less about the way I use praise or encouragement. Saying "good boy" or "good girl" labels the person rather than their efforts or talents or skills.

I guess this is one area I stick to pretty much 100% because I don't ever want to think my kiddo isn't good. He is good even if his behavior or choices aren't! I still defer to "good job" a good bit...I try to mix it up with more specifics but I don't really think it does he nor myself a lot of good to overthink it too much. I try to just connect with him and focus on that rather than the semantics.
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#73 of 105 Old 10-25-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Yeah, but wouldn't it be even better for a child to cultivate generosity, not just because YOU admire it, but because she sees its value herself? And, you know, if she does something generous, it means she already gets that generosity is good. If you bring your admiration into it, you're making it about pleasing you as much as about being kind to other people..
Well, I guess this begs the question of the roots of altruism. Why are we kind? Doesn't knowing that people would admire you encourage you, if ever so slightly, towards doing kind deeds? Isn't that one thing that makes us feel good about doing charity? The image of ourselves as a kind person that others would find pleasing?

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I don't have a problem with commenting on good deeds as a way to give a young child vocabulary and to help him see himself as someone capable of good deeds. But I think with kids who are more than about 4 or 5, even a "neutral" comment about something you observed is likely to feel like a judgment, because they understand that you wouldn't mention it unless it was important to you.

I think there a lot of ways to teach a kid what traits you admire that don't involve praising the kid when she demonstrates those traits. You can show those traits yourself, you can talk about how much you admire them, and why, you can point out examples in books, etc. Of course, the kid is going to become aware that you get warm feelings when she's generous, and I don't think that's so terrible. I think what you want to avoid is having her feel that you only have warm feelings toward her when she's doing good deeds - that she needs to do good deeds to be loved. Praising her for sharing probably isn't such a bad thing, as long as you're also willing to give her extra attention and love sometimes even when she's doing exactly the opposite of what you like.
I guess I have two arguments with your above paragraph.

One, I think it's splitting hairs to say that there's a whole lot of difference between discussing the traits I like and directly labeling them in my child. Four and five year olds can easily extrapolate from my comment on how Dick shared his cookie with Jane in the book to their actions. So I think if you're interested in placing value judgements on actions at all (which I am), then you might as well tell your kid.

Second, who's to say that loving your child unconditionally is enough? I can't really argue this point very well, because again, I haven't read UP, but I want to give my children a whole lot more than the simple knowledge that they are loved unconditionally.

Also, to respond to Deva33mommy, I agree that it's important to point out the reactions of others when kind deeds are done. Good point.

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#74 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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Wait a minute...some people don't praise their children on purpose??? I must've missed something...is this the new parenting thing these days?
Yep, pumpkinyum. The main guy seems to be Alfie Kohn, who has lots of fans here, but also many who disagree. The common ground here seems to be that "good job" or calling your child a "good boy" or "good girl" are a little hollow and perhaps counterproductive. The main point of disagreement seems to be over what other kinds of statements count as this type of praise, and whether any sort of evaluative statement is harmful. Also over what, exactly, Kohn says about this -- which I wouldn't know, as I haven't read him and don't plan to.
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#75 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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Honestly, I see the word "generous" as a value judgement. That would put it in the praise camp for me personally. I'm definitely not saying that it's a bad thing to say. I've been trying to avoid those types of evaluations, but I'm starting to think they are perfectly fine. I'm just talking semantics here, really.
Now, if you said "You shared your cookie with your brother. Look how happy he looks now!" THEN I'd say it wasn't praise at all. A very very slight difference. In the first, YOU (general parent) are evaluating dc's actions (I have deemed your actions to be generous. lol).
In the second, you are telling dc how their actions affected brother. So the motivation to share the next time comes from the knowledge of how that action will affect others, not of what mom will think of that action.
Same basic effect though, I'd imagine. I don't see either as harmful- like I said, I'm just arguing semantics.
Yes, I really agree with you. I've been trying to focus on how dd's actions affect others rather than how I feel about them. I actually got that idea from reading UP. My friend also does that naturally, without having read UP. I try to do this when she has made others (usually her brother) both happy and upset.

I also think it's not such a bad thing to say that a child was being generous. At the very least it gives a young child a word to describe her actions. If it's not being used to manipulate (as in, "Be generous with your brother! Stop being so stingy!") I don't see why it would be terrible now and then.
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#76 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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I think there's a big difference between praising someone for what YOU think they did well, and being enouraging and enthusiastic about what THEY are proud to be achieving or attempting. (I certainly wish my efforts had been noticed as well as my achievements.)
Very, very interesting discussion. We've been following Kohn (we use a lot of "You did it!" "Did that make you feel good about yourself?" "Look at all those lines you drew!" etc) but I've "slipped" and said "I'm so proud of you" when DS has done something really amazing that he's obviously proud of... although it felt natural to me at the time, I questioned it later. This thread, though, is making me rethink my avoidance of heartfelt evaluative praise. I like what was said in the quote above, and I'm going to use this as a guide: if the child is excited about his/her accomplishment, then why shouldn't the parent celebrate that as well, and why should we, as parents, hesitate to express to the child that we are proud/happy/excited for them as well? It seems like a good way for me to avoid praise that is manipulative is to try to take my cue from my child.

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#77 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 02:07 AM
 
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If it feels natural to you to make observations and not praise, then do it. I think any praise might come across awkwardly or insincerely if it doesn't feel natural. (I'm not directing this at anyone in particular, but the posts that prefer Kohn's examples over "good job" kinds of comments).

To me, it feels totally natural so I do it. I've come to realize that my instincts are much more spot on than any book. My kid is a unique person and doesn't fit into a book's characterization of him in entirety. Yes, children follow patterns of development, but they are unique individuals and it's our job to figure out who they are and what they need from us.

I have a friend whose child hates being praised so she doesn't do it. She would like to but she noticed early on that it had the opposite affect on him and actually irritated him and didn't make him want to continue to do x,y or z. My kiddo loves to be encouraged and praised and I see him doing it now with his little brother.

Different strokes for different folks. I would really discourage anyone from taking what any book says hook, line and sinker.
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#78 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 03:11 AM
 
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I took "good boy" out of the language that I use completely. This has made life easier and I have to think less about the way I use praise or encouragement. Saying "good boy" or "good girl" labels the person rather than their efforts or talents or skills.

I guess this is one area I stick to pretty much 100% because I don't ever want to think my kiddo isn't good. He is good even if his behavior or choices aren't! I still defer to "good job" a good bit...I try to mix it up with more specifics but I don't really think it does he nor myself a lot of good to overthink it too much. I try to just connect with him and focus on that rather than the semantics.
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#79 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 01:24 PM
 
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I've skimmed a lot of this, read the first couple pages in detail. Really interesting thread! My DH was overpraised, his mom constantly layered it on, the evaluative kind, and he felt like it really set him up for depending on extrinisic reward/motivation, and truly he does now have a deep-rooted self-esteem problem. I'll add that he felt he was never good enough for his over-worked Dad, so that was part of this issue, but he tends to feel it was more rooted in his mom's praise.

I on the other hand had a mom who leaned more toward careful praise, how do you feel about it, tell me about it, etc. Not too many good jobs, but she did not do NO Praise. In fact she always shared in my excitement about things in a really enthusiastic way, and didn't mind showing her excitement even if it ended up classified as praise. I still have some issues with how she parented me, but honestly as I grow older, I'm more and more aware that my issues were those of all gifted children and she made them better not worse. I can honestly say I don't have self-esteem or depression issues and am very intrinsically motivated, so she must have done something right.

Fast forward to how we parent our boys. Because of DH's issues with praise, we did almost no praise in his first few years, but then switched to a more Easy to Love Difficult to Discpline style of descriptive praise, not evaluative praise. I don't hesitate to say Good for you! etc., but I do shy away from "I'm proud of you (implied for such and such), because that sounds too much like "I love you for such and such"). This feels much more right and natural, and more like my mom did. My oldest son does have some self-esteem issues, and I wonder how much comes from his first few no praise years, but mostly I think it stems from some neurological issues he has. IMHO the most important thing is to be truly present and in tune with our children as much as possible, whatever the words are. And to show them and tell them that we love them unconditionally explicityly and frequently, in ways totally unconnected with anything they do. I highly recommend Becky Bailey's "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discpline". I'm also a Faber-Mazlisch fan.
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#80 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think there's a big difference between praising someone for what YOU think they did well, and being enouraging and enthusiastic about what THEY are proud to be achieving or attempting. (I certainly wish my efforts had been noticed as well as my achievements.)
Very good point. As long as my "praise" is in line with how ds feels about his action, and doesn't put MY evaluation over HIS evaluation, I feel ok about it.
I wouldn't want to say something that made it seem like my perception mattered more than his, though.
So, if he builds a tall tower and he's quite impressed with it, I try to go with what he's happy with, and agree with him, "You did build it really tall! Neat!" does that make sense?

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Originally Posted by pumpkinyum View Post
Wait a minute...some people don't praise their children on purpose??? I must've missed something...is this the new parenting thing these days?
Well, I think it's important to know that there is a difference between praise and positive feedback/encouragement.
So the people who don't praise a la Kohn are using the word "praise" to mean, basically, value judgments. Good boy/girl. Good job. I'm proud of you for being such a good sharer. (is that a word? lol).
All of those put the emphasis on how the parent feels/views dc's actions, instead of putting the empasis on DC, and how their actions affect others.
So, a person who limits praise might say: "Thank you for helping me clean up. It made it go so much faster!" or "Yeah! You climbed up the slide all by yourself! That was pretty fun wasn't it?" (the fun part, you'd only say if dc looked to be having fun). Or "Lily looks really happy now that you shared that ball with her."

In all of the non-praise (or at least limited), there is still encouragement, sharing excitement, and positive feedback. It's just not as full of value judgements.

Also, a big part of non-praising the AK way, is that you show unconditional love even when dc does something that is not acceptable. So while you wouldn't say "good boy" you also wouldn't say "bad boy" when dc does something wrong. Again, at least for me, I use the same types of phrases. I try to leave value judgments out of it, and describe what I see "Oh no! You dumped the juice, and now there's a big mess to clean up." Or "Lily seems pretty upset that you won't let her play with the ball. Let's find a solution."

Not saying "good job" and "good boy" are really easy for me. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever said either one to ds. Now, stuff like "neat" and "cool" I do use. And I say stuff like "What a neat picture! Tell me about it."

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

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#81 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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I grew up with one parent who praised fairly conditionally (when it reflected well on her) and one parent who didn't praise and was often disconnected.

I developed a reasonably good (I think) sense of intrinsic motivation and although I still have trouble when someone compliments me (first thought: no way; second thought: what are they trying to get out of me?) I feel like I do okay on the "life satisfaction" meter. Most days.

My sister became very extrinsicly motivated and actively seeks praise and rewards and is very much driven by those things. (In a good way, but she also has shared that it can be very hard if she doesn't get them.)

I honestly think how one is affected by praise is partly related to personality and partly related to how one experiences one's locus of control and partly a reflection of the relationship to the praiser, and all kinds of things.

Which is just to say... I honestly think each child is different, and may need different things at different times.

I have no trouble with a mindful approach to praise, reflection of feelings, reinforcement both positive and negative, etc. (We could say a natural consequence of good effort is a happy parent, in some ways.) But I am really suspicious of dogma that suggests that all of X kind of praise is bad, or good, or whatever.

Except maybe "good boy/girl." That one I really shy away from. But I think a grandparent can get away with it because a grandparenting relationship is different.

~ 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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#82 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I grew up with one parent who praised fairly conditionally (when it reflected well on her) and one parent who didn't praise and was often disconnected.

I developed a reasonably good (I think) sense of intrinsic motivation and although I still have trouble when someone compliments me (first thought: no way; second thought: what are they trying to get out of me?) I feel like I do okay on the "life satisfaction" meter. Most days.

My sister became very extrinsicly motivated and actively seeks praise and rewards and is very much driven by those things. (In a good way, but she also has shared that it can be very hard if she doesn't get them.)

I honestly think how one is affected by praise is partly related to personality and partly related to how one experiences one's locus of control and partly a reflection of the relationship to the praiser, and all kinds of things.

Which is just to say... I honestly think each child is different, and may need different things at different times.

I have no trouble with a mindful approach to praise, reflection of feelings, reinforcement both positive and negative, etc. (We could say a natural consequence of good effort is a happy parent, in some ways.) But I am really suspicious of dogma that suggests that all of X kind of praise is bad, or good, or whatever.

Except maybe "good boy/girl." That one I really shy away from. But I think a grandparent can get away with it because a grandparenting relationship is different.
Well said! ITA.
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#83 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:10 PM
 
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Alfie Kohn is an anti-behaviorist, and that's the point he makes with praise. When we use words as a carrot-stick method of parenting, it's still a kind of reward/punishment system. So if we praise our kids when they do well and tell them we're disappointed when they don't do well in an attempt to get them to do what we want, it is no different than sticker charts and time outs as far as behaviorism goes. If you are moving away from behaviorism, using praise in that way is another thing to steer clear of.

Praise that comes naturally and is not related to manipulating children through behaviorist psychology is not the same issue. This behaviorist type of praise looks pretty obvious when you see someone doing it. "Good job cleaning up your toys!" It's certainly better than swatting a kid for not cleaning up, and it's probably better than giving a kid a sticker for cleaning up to put on a sticker chart, but it's still using behaviorism and external motivating factors to get your kids to do what you want.

Also, there are thousands of ways to show appreciation, pride, and joy for your children other than speaking the words "good job." Kohn's point about those words is that when kids are doing things to hear the words "good job" and therefore to know they've pleased their parents rather than doing things to please themselves, they can grow up to be "praise junkies" who simply NEED to be praised to be happy.
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#84 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Also, there are thousands of ways to show appreciation, pride, and joy for your children other than speaking the words "good job." Kohn's point about those words is that when kids are doing things to hear the words "good job" and therefore to know they've pleased their parents rather than doing things to please themselves, they can grow up to be "praise junkies" who simply NEED to be praised to be happy.
so how do you explain all the people on here who wern't praised as kids and need praise now?
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#85 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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so how do you explain all the people on here who wern't praised as kids and need praise now?
Parents aren't the only people who do this. I think it's been even more common in schools. Constant.
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Parents aren't the only people who do this. I think it's been even more common in schools. Constant.
I was never praised in school
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#87 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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I was never praised in school
Really? Odd. I come from a family of school teachers and they were specifically taught to use praise as a motivating factor. I'm sure not all teachers took to that but it seems odd that you never came across a teacher who did that. Unless you went to school before the 70s, when it became so commonly used.
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#88 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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Really? Odd. I come from a family of school teachers and they were specifically taught to use praise as a motivating factor. I'm sure not all teachers took to that but it seems odd that you never came across a teacher who did that. Unless you went to school before the 70s, when it became so commonly used.
I grew up in another country. I wasn't praised because I was the smart kid who got put up 4 classes, and then when i changed schools and they didnt provide me with the level of education i needed, I became the trouble making kid, mainly because i had all my work done before everyone else and i always got in trouble for finding my own quiet activities to occupy myself.
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#89 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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Ah, well growing up in another country explains that. I'm sure the wave of behaviorism didn't wash over every country on earth.
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#90 of 105 Old 10-26-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
Alfie Kohn is an anti-behaviorist, and that's the point he makes with praise. When we use words as a carrot-stick method of parenting, it's still a kind of reward/punishment system. So if we praise our kids when they do well and tell them we're disappointed when they don't do well in an attempt to get them to do what we want, it is no different than sticker charts and time outs as far as behaviorism goes. If you are moving away from behaviorism, using praise in that way is another thing to steer clear of.

Praise that comes naturally and is not related to manipulating children through behaviorist psychology is not the same issue. This behaviorist type of praise looks pretty obvious when you see someone doing it. "Good job cleaning up your toys!" It's certainly better than swatting a kid for not cleaning up, and it's probably better than giving a kid a sticker for cleaning up to put on a sticker chart, but it's still using behaviorism and external motivating factors to get your kids to do what you want.

Also, there are thousands of ways to show appreciation, pride, and joy for your children other than speaking the words "good job." Kohn's point about those words is that when kids are doing things to hear the words "good job" and therefore to know they've pleased their parents rather than doing things to please themselves, they can grow up to be "praise junkies" who simply NEED to be praised to be happy.
I totally get this and think it's important...but I'm not an "anti-behaviorist". It's not my primary mode of parenting but I certainly use it from time to time and I think there is absolutely no harm in it if it isn't overly used. A friend of mine is using a sticker chart for a few things and her child is thoroughly enjoying it...it's something he gets a big kick out of. She's tried a lot of other things with him on certain issues and it's clearly making him more anxious and out-of-control feeling. For him, this provided structure and something visual and he loves it. I think the proof is in the pudding.

I think it's very wise to listen to these women's accounts of their own childhood and give it some careful thought. I actually put a lot more weight on that than Mr. Kohn.

I again, I think GuildJenn said it best that following any theory 100% can be ineffective. We're all a bit more complex than that.
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