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#91 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 03:41 AM
 
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so how do you explain all the people on here who wern't praised as kids and need praise now?
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I think it's already been pointed out that most of the people who were rarely or never praised as children and consider it a detriment to them were also not shown unconditional love and acceptance.

I think for this "non praising" for good behavior thing to "work," it has to be used with the reverse, as in, no condemning for bad behavior. Surely if behaviorist principles are used on kids whenever they do something wrong, they'll be looking for the flip side of the coin when they do something right. So if they don't get that, yeah, I can see problems arising! But if acceptance and encouragement and "positive regard" is shown unconditionally, no matter what the child does, where is the need for added "verbal doggy biscuits" when he does something good?

And yeah, Kohn is definitely in favor of sharing enthusiasm and joy. In UP he gives a few examples... trying to remember right now, something about being excited with his daughter for climbing the stairs for the first time and saying something like, "You did it! You made it all the way up by yourself!" and another one about when a child rides her bike for the first time.

I think he said something about watching the child's expression/amount of enthusiasm for her accomplishment and matching it. Let it be about HER, don't turn it into something about you by making an even bigger deal about it than she thinks it is.

Not sure where I was going with all that.... oh yeah, to show that no, AK is not about just being expressionless and joyless for fear of, I don't know, overstimulating their egos or something.
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#92 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happeeevraftr View Post
Jumping in here

I think it's already been pointed out that most of the people who were rarely or never praised as children and consider it a detriment to them were also not shown unconditional love and acceptance.

I think for this "non praising" for good behavior thing to "work," it has to be used with the reverse, as in, no condemning for bad behavior. Surely if behaviorist principles are used on kids whenever they do something wrong, they'll be looking for the flip side of the coin when they do something right. So if they don't get that, yeah, I can see problems arising! But if acceptance and encouragement and "positive regard" is shown unconditionally, no matter what the child does, where is the need for added "verbal doggy biscuits" when he does something good?

And yeah, Kohn is definitely in favor of sharing enthusiasm and joy. In UP he gives a few examples... trying to remember right now, something about being excited with his daughter for climbing the stairs for the first time and saying something like, "You did it! You made it all the way up by yourself!" and another one about when a child rides her bike for the first time.

I think he said something about watching the child's expression/amount of enthusiasm for her accomplishment and matching it. Let it be about HER, don't turn it into something about you by making an even bigger deal about it than she thinks it is.

Not sure where I was going with all that.... oh yeah, to show that no, AK is not about just being expressionless and joyless for fear of, I don't know, overstimulating their egos or something.
I think what bugs me about AK is that it's more about the intention and attention, IMO, than the words. I do think that being specific (like the stairs example) conveys that you're really paying attention so it is great to do that. But I think taking it to the extreme can actually be annoying and a "good job" here and there is perfectly fine.
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#93 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by happeeevraftr View Post
I think it's already been pointed out that most of the people who were rarely or never praised as children and consider it a detriment to them were also not shown unconditional love and acceptance.

I think for this "non praising" for good behavior thing to "work," it has to be used with the reverse, as in, no condemning for bad behavior. Surely if behaviorist principles are used on kids whenever they do something wrong, they'll be looking for the flip side of the coin when they do something right.

(...snip...)

I think he said something about watching the child's expression/amount of enthusiasm for her accomplishment and matching it. Let it be about HER, don't turn it into something about you by making an even bigger deal about it than she thinks it is.
Two very good points.
I'm learning a lot in this thread, and it's helping me figure out where I want to be in the whole praise thing. I love the term used by a pp "mindful praise"!

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#94 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happeeevraftr View Post
Jumping in here

I think it's already been pointed out that most of the people who were rarely or never praised as children and consider it a detriment to them were also not shown unconditional love and acceptance.
One post suggested that, but I know it used my post as one of the "See, you didn't get unconditional love" examples, and I think I've said repeatedly that I did get lots of love, and I never had the impression I was loved conditionally. I just was raised with a father who had a very strong sense that "you should do things because they're the right thing to do, not because I praise you for doing them."

While there are some people who have said their parents were quite conditional, there are enough of us who have said our parents were *not* unloving and did not put conditions on being loved to suggest that it is more than just the lack of praise being part of a conditional love situation.

I know Kohn doesn't say you should be a joyless drone to avoid praising your kids, but frankly, there are way too many people who seem to interpet it that way -- and there are MORE people who have never read Kohn, but come to read the Gentle Discpline forum or other similar forums and BECAUSE They haven't read Kohn, take away the bullet point "don't praise. At all. Ever."

Which just shows the real lesson is not only "Don't treat any 'expert' as an infallible guru," but also, "Never rely on an Internet bulletin board's summary of any 'system' and assume you've got all its nuances."

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#95 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
One post suggested that, but I know it used my post as one of the "See, you didn't get unconditional love" examples, and I think I've said repeatedly that I did get lots of love, and I never had the impression I was loved conditionally. I just was raised with a father who had a very strong sense that "you should do things because they're the right thing to do, not because I praise you for doing them."

While there are some people who have said their parents were quite conditional, there are enough of us who have said our parents were *not* unloving and did not put conditions on being loved to suggest that it is more than just the lack of praise being part of a conditional love situation.
My post was similar to yours, I know, and have always known, that my parents love me regardless of what i did/didnt do, and even regardless of my life choices.
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#96 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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ITA with GuildJenn--great post.

I feel I was praised "the right amount" as a child. And I think it really helped me develop into an intrinsically motivated person. Of course, it may be personality, too, but I was praised some (midfully, I'd say) and I am not a praise junkie.

One thing my parents were very un-praisey about was grades. I was sort of just expected to do well, and I generally did. On the other hand, if I slipped up, I wasn't give the third degree. It was just kind of my business. Somehow this worked, and I've sometimes wondered HOW! I would love my own kids to grow up with the independent attitude towards school and grades that I had. I went to HS with many kids who got money for grades, and even then I looked on this with bewilderment and scorn. The grade was its own reward. (And sometimes there wasn't a good grade, and it wasn't the end of the world--maybe there were good reasons for the poor grade, YK?)

I notice that my DD needs praise for things that are hard for her and responds in the problematic ways Kohn decsribes if we praise her for things that are easy or that she is naturally motivated to do. DH still is praising her too much for art, IMO...she loves it by nature and doesn't need "Oh, I LOVE it!" for every scribble. But I've seen her really internalize pride and self-confidence after I've praised her for keeping her cool in a difficult situation.

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#97 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 05:11 PM
 
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think it's already been pointed out that most of the people who were rarely or never praised as children and consider it a detriment to them were also not shown unconditional love and acceptance.
I was deffiently shown unconditional love and acceptance and to this day have a very close relationship with my parents. I wasn't praised though or VERY rarely so when I was it felt fake I was always told if I feel good thats enough but I often really desired the verbal aproval of my parents not that I needed it at least not as much as I grew but as a child growing I did I valued there opnionions and had trouble reading how truthful they were because of there lack of any praise. I always felt loved though. I always felt accepted.

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#98 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
One post suggested that, but I know it used my post as one of the "See, you didn't get unconditional love" examples, and I think I've said repeatedly that I did get lots of love, and I never had the impression I was loved conditionally. I just was raised with a father who had a very strong sense that "you should do things because they're the right thing to do, not because I praise you for doing them."
oops, I think that was me. Sorry! I guess I read too much into "and only when earned by something incredibly out of the ordinary." like, only praise when it's really been earned or something.

I do see what Octobermom is saying. Parent's (and partners) opinions DO matter.
If dp said about dinner "wow, you sure did use a lot of spinach" (which he loves, btw) I wouldn't know how to take that. Did that make it tasty? Or was it too much? etc.
I like hearing "Dinner is really good." (but I still don't think I'd like to hear "good job cooking" )

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#99 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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That's so true, Deva! And hilarious about the "good job cooking" comment...that wouldn't go over well here, either.

We all want to please and be validated by the people we love. It's very natural. That's why I think sometimes the observations and details can get to be a bit much sometimes.

"Everything in moderation" is my motto for most things.
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#100 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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My mom was (is!) an effusive, affectionate, verbal Italian-American. We grew up with lots of hugs, kisses, and I suppose you would call it "praise", but it wasn't that simple. A flat and serious "Good job" was not what it was- it was what you might call "gushy". There was no holding back! But it was real. She really felt our art was beautiful. She told us how wonderful we were (are! ). And if there was something we were proud of that didn't strike her fancy, she was happy we were happy, and she was more than glad to encourage us to say why we were proud of it and enjoy the pride in ourselves. And, never being short on words, her praise was always thorough- we both talked about why we were happy and proud- it was a private "brag-fest". We talked about effort, beauty, success, accomplishment, etc. It was never just "good job" it was a 15 minute "praise experience" in which she gushed, but also taught me the things involved with these feelings. In these praise times, she taught me how to see myself and find the good and trust it. I'd leave her praise sessions not only feeling valued, honored and special, but also confident and self-secure. And, when things didn't go well, we'd have long, long talks on that too. I knew she was proud of me. I knew she wanted me to be proud of myself. She taught me the things to be proud of and how I should trust them and know I could do them. Her praise was always real. It was always sincere. And I didn't do things specifically to please her- I knew she would find a way to tell me she loved me no matter how things came out. She was always honest. And I knew I could trust her, because on the flip side, if she didn't like something, she'd tell me that too. But she had a way of doing it that never made me feel bad or that I would not be loved or I was any less. And she'd usually be even able to find something good in that too ("Dang, A! You're stubborn as a mule! You should think of being a laywer..." She'd say with a laugh). As I grew up, I knew I was loved and could talk about anything and my mom would give me a straight answer that would always be right somehow.

So- I had the opposite. If you looked in my house growing up, you'd see an estatic mother over childrens art, clapping vigorously at our pretend puppet shows hailing our creativity, smiling with a tear in the eye about how wonderful we were... Alfie's worst nightmare!

And I'm a totally independent, internally motivated, stable, happy, confident adult... And my mom is the most amazing person I know. I can only hope I do as good a job as she did with the praise.
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#101 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I do see what Octobermom is saying. Parent's (and partners) opinions DO matter.
If dp said about dinner "wow, you sure did use a lot of spinach" (which he loves, btw) I wouldn't know how to take that. Did that make it tasty? Or was it too much? etc.
I like hearing "Dinner is really good." (but I still don't think I'd like to hear "good job cooking" )

Exactly! THis is what I've been reaching for in some of my posts.... while we should acheive for the pleasure of achievement -- our achievements don't exist in a vaccuum and without SOME feedback ("evaluative praise," yes?) we can't get a decent idea of the results of our work on the people it impacts -- and children are seeking feedback on how the social world works.

TO continue your example (I LOVE "you used a lot of spinach" BTW)

I know, objectively, that the very act of cooking dinner is an achievement of some kind, no matter how the food turns out.

However: to know whether my efforts had their intended effect (ie, whether the people for whom I cooked dinner enjoyed it), I need actual evaluation -- I need praise, particularly descriptive, evaluative, praise. "The spinach is really good," tells me I did something I should do again. "The spinach is really good, you made it spicier than last time," tells me that I can spice things up and my target audience will enjoy that more.

Yeah, hearing "you cooked dinner! Good job!" would get on my last nerve. But so would night after night of DP commenting on my technique in absolutely neutral terms because he's not wanting to use evaluative praise in case I start cooking dinner JUST for the praise. Frankly, I'd probably stop cooking dinner if I heard "you used spinach!" every night...

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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#102 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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So- I had the opposite. If you looked in my house growing up, you'd see an estatic mother over childrens art, clapping vigorously at our pretend puppet shows hailing our creativity, smiling with a tear in the eye about how wonderful we were... Alfie's worst nightmare!
I don't think that sounds like the opposite of what Alfie Kohn promotes at all. From your description, I really think it sounds a lot like what he described in Unconditional Parenting. It certainly sounds like you felt unconditionally loved.

AK doesn't recommend responding without emotion to whatever your kid does. He doesn't say you shouldn't celebrate with your kid when she's happy about something she did. He doesn't say you should avoid telling your kid how wonderful she is.

As Savithny said, it's really a bad idea to decide you disagree with Alfie Kohn based on what people on MDC say he says. Threads like this are full of misconceptions about his ideas. I didn't find that article of his people always link to ("Five Reasons Not to Say Good Job" or something like that) very convincing, either. I read Punished by Rewards without any expectation I would agree with it, but it actually made a lot of sense, and so did Unconditional Parenting.
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#103 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
Exactly! THis is what I've been reaching for in some of my posts.... while we should acheive for the pleasure of achievement -- our achievements don't exist in a vaccuum and without SOME feedback ("evaluative praise," yes?) we can't get a decent idea of the results of our work on the people it impacts -- and children are seeking feedback on how the social world works.

TO continue your example (I LOVE "you used a lot of spinach" BTW)

I know, objectively, that the very act of cooking dinner is an achievement of some kind, no matter how the food turns out.

However: to know whether my efforts had their intended effect (ie, whether the people for whom I cooked dinner enjoyed it), I need actual evaluation -- I need praise, particularly descriptive, evaluative, praise. "The spinach is really good," tells me I did something I should do again. "The spinach is really good, you made it spicier than last time," tells me that I can spice things up and my target audience will enjoy that more.

Yeah, hearing "you cooked dinner! Good job!" would get on my last nerve. But so would night after night of DP commenting on my technique in absolutely neutral terms because he's not wanting to use evaluative praise in case I start cooking dinner JUST for the praise. Frankly, I'd probably stop cooking dinner if I heard "you used spinach!" every night...
ITA, I love to hear things like "that dinner tasted great huney, thank you!" but if I got... you used alot of herbs or pasta etc...... I'd be wondering if that was good, did you like it, was that an insult made to sound nice?
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#104 of 105 Old 10-27-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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I'm learning a lot in this thread, and it's helping me figure out where I want to be in the whole praise thing.
Yep, me too. I haven't ever been sure how I much I wanted to say to my kids about the things they do really well. I know I don't want to make them feel like I'm evaluating everything they do, but this thread is making me think about how I also don't want them to think I'm paying no attention, or don't care, or don't realize how much work has gone into their accomplishments.
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#105 of 105 Old 10-28-2007, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
Yeah, hearing "you cooked dinner! Good job!" would get on my last nerve.
That is freakin hilarious. It's much funnier than what I said. lol

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But so would night after night of DP commenting on my technique in absolutely neutral terms because he's not wanting to use evaluative praise in case I start cooking dinner JUST for the praise. Frankly, I'd probably stop cooking dinner if I heard "you used spinach!" every night...
Good point there. I'm on the self conscious side when it comes to cooking. It's kinda like hearing "it's...interesting..." lol (but then, did that come from school, and grades, and all that? I say that instead of praise, because I think I was much more affected by grades than by any praise by my parents or grandparents.)


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Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
My mom was (is!) an effusive, affectionate, verbal Italian-American. We grew up with lots of hugs, kisses, and I suppose you would call it "praise", but it wasn't that simple. A flat and serious "Good job" was not what it was- it was what you might call "gushy". There was no holding back! But it was real.
That was my grandma. There was constant praise. There's no way it could have been conditional, because EVERYTHING was praiseworthy. lol. I definitely felt unconditionally loved by her and my mom. I thought it was just her wierd way of doing things. lol. She does it with ds, and I'd much rather have that type of praise, than the type that's doled out only when it's truly "earned."
Funny though, I don't remember praise from my mom. I know she did it, and I know that I felt unconditionally loved by her. But I don't remember it at all.

I must say, I really really appreciate how gentle this thread has been. It makes it much easier to have an open mind.

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

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