If you weren't praised as a child - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How did/do you feel about it?

Were your parents involved and supportive?

Did your parents give positive feedback and encouragement?

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

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#2 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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I grew up in the home of no praise or with the idea that my persoanl success should be reward enough.. My parents were involved and overall supportive however the lack of ANY praise caused me huge issues to question everything I do and to really wonder if I was ever good enough. If I asked for an opnion on something I was always met with how do I feel are YOU happy ect comments which made me question every thought and doubt my abilities. I alos got comments like wow you sure used lots of red or that looks like you spent hours creating type comments which paired with there never saying "Good" made me think gee so I guess I used too much red or maybe should have done more and maybe I spent too much time or not enough...
To this day I don't take most compliment well. It feels weird and fake to me and thats not a good thing. I alos have my own self doubts on many things my opnions feels are never enough for me because I overly question my own thoughts and opnions.
My parents especially my mom now has a totally diffrent outlook and she wishes she could go back and redo that part of our childhood.

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#3 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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I grew up with praise, but two different kinds. My dad used manipulative praise, praising what he thought was admirable and the characteristics and skills (especially skills) that he wanted us to develop. This was really hard, it's exactly the kind of praise that I think anti-praisers rail against. He would even exaggerate things we had done when he told other people, and it wasn't because he was bragging about us, but to send us a message of how we should be. It put a lot of pressure on me, and my sisters felt the same way. I've never talked to my brother about it, because he's using the same technique with his kids.

Anyway, my mom was much, much better at praising. She told us "good job", and it always made me feel good, which is one quibble I have with the UP/no praise. She homeschooled us and she had a way of putting the praise squarely in our laps, and it always made me feel proud of myself and capable. I'm guessing that's because she was encouraging, and she was more like a cheerleader for our accomplishments, instead of trying to subtly influence us to do the things she wanted like my dad was. Plus, she was direct, whereas my dad was not. You always had to guess what my dad wanted, but my mom would tell you.

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#4 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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I wasn't praised, except in a sarcastic way. "Thanks for FINALLY doing xyz. Maybe you aren't useless. I guess we shall see if you do xyz next."

I grew up being a very negative person and not knowing when people were seriously telling me I was doing a good job or just being sarcastic. I still have issues b/c of it.
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#5 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
I grew up in the home of no praise or with the idea that my persoanl success should be reward enough.. My parents were involved and overall supportive however the lack of ANY praise caused me huge issues to question everything I do and to really wonder if I was ever good enough. If I asked for an opnion on something I was always met with how do I feel are YOU happy ect comments which made me question every thought and doubt my abilities. I alos got comments like wow you sure used lots of red or that looks like you spent hours creating type comments which paired with there never saying "Good" made me think gee so I guess I used too much red or maybe should have done more and maybe I spent too much time or not enough...
To this day I don't take most compliment well. It feels weird and fake to me and thats not a good thing. I alos have my own self doubts on many things my opnions feels are never enough for me because I overly question my own thoughts and opnions.
My parents especially my mom now has a totally diffrent outlook and she wishes she could go back and redo that part of our childhood.

i'll just quote you b/c i could have written your post....

i have issues with constantly, thoughtlessly praising children, but i also feel the same about no praise at all. i think everyone is different and need different types of feedback...
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#6 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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I grew up in a home with very little praise and it has had a detrimental effect on me. I believe that praise is an important part of childhood, as children are looking for validation and guidence in everything they do. Praise should NOT be manipulative or mindless, but thoughtful and caring.

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#7 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 04:22 PM
 
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i'll just quote you b/c i could have written your post....

i have issues with constantly, thoughtlessly praising children, but i also feel the same about no praise at all. i think everyone is different and need different types of feedback...
Quote:
Originally Posted by octobermom View Post
I grew up in the home of no praise or with the idea that my persoanl success should be reward enough.. My parents were involved and overall supportive however the lack of ANY praise caused me huge issues to question everything I do and to really wonder if I was ever good enough. If I asked for an opnion on something I was always met with how do I feel are YOU happy ect comments which made me question every thought and doubt my abilities. I alos got comments like wow you sure used lots of red or that looks like you spent hours creating type comments which paired with there never saying "Good" made me think gee so I guess I used too much red or maybe should have done more and maybe I spent too much time or not enough...
To this day I don't take most compliment well. It feels weird and fake to me and thats not a good thing. I alos have my own self doubts on many things my opnions feels are never enough for me because I overly question my own thoughts and opnions.
My parents especially my mom now has a totally diffrent outlook and she wishes she could go back and redo that part of our childhood.
My parents were lovely and supportive, but Dad especially was very Dutch Calvinist about praise - it should be rarely used and never effusively, and only when earned by something incredibly out of the ordinary.

My parents naturally gravitated toward the Kohn end of the scale, with more of the "what do you like about it?" "You used red, didn't you?" "Tell me what YOU think?"

I agree with the others. My life experience makes me disagree pretty strongly with Kohn. You don't have to Good Job kids to death, running life on a reward system taht makes all motivation extrinsic surely can be a problem -- but there is nothing wrong with judicious praising. I try not to overpraise, but when my child achieves something big for him/her, we celebrate together and I let the kid know I'm excited for them.

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

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#8 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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Oh my! This tread makes me feel good. I know that rearing my family without praise would just not feel natural for me. If I'm excited about something, I'm going to let it be known and I don't see any harm in it. Insincere praise is bad, but when my child works really hard at something and succeeds, I'm going to tell or show him I'm impressed.
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#9 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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This is interesting. We've been going with no praise so far and I think it has been find so far. Ds is only 21 months. Basically, we've avoiding the meaningless "good job" phrases. He isn't old enough yet to do a lot of things. He is a very happy kid.

But reading this is making me second guess no praise in the home at all as kids grow up. I'd never heard from actual grownups who have grown up this way. Sounds like none of you liked it and it was actually detrimental! Yikes!

Maybe we'll just stear clear of meaningless praise and use meaningful descriptive praise when something has really made a child proud?

Gosh....now I'm confused. :

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#10 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jrose_lee View Post
This is interesting. We've been going with no praise so far and I think it has been find so far. Ds is only 21 months. Basically, we've avoiding the meaningless "good job" phrases. He isn't old enough yet to do a lot of things. He is a very happy kid.

But reading this is making me second guess no praise in the home at all as kids grow up. I'd never heard from actual grownups who have grown up this way. Sounds like none of you liked it and it was actually detrimental! Yikes!

Maybe we'll just stear clear of meaningless praise and use meaningful descriptive praise when something has really made a child proud?

Gosh....now I'm confused. :
I agree that this has been surprising to hear but so useful and helpful and it really makes a lot of sense. This is why I go through phases of tossing the books and trusting my instincts. I think Kohn goes too far but it does speak to the overuse of "good job" that sometimes comes out of parents' mouths at almost every turn. It does become meaningless then.

I love this thread and thank all of you for sharing your experiences about this. I came from a home without much praise at all except when I was lying in bed with my severely depressed mother and she was clinging to me for her emotional survival...not so good. So I have nothing much to offer in this regard that would be helpful but what everyone else has said makes so much sense. Sometimes when a kiddo makes a picture, they want their mama to say "wow, that's beautiful!" instead of "you used a lot of red!". It just doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?
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#11 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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Maybe we'll just stear clear of meaningless praise and use meaningful descriptive praise when something has really made a child proud?
Meaningless praise I think is just as bad as no praise. Kids are smart you start spoiuting off a gushy OMG thats sooo amazing at every turn they will close up and regard you as that wacky mom who gushes over air.
However even the occasional simple "good job" can go along ways to reinforce there own confidence. Remember kids are still learning there seeing how they fit how society (as in the world they live in) accepts them whats right and wrong how to address others how to work things out for them selfs how to form friendships stay no to temptation and all sorts of things. Each age deals with these to some degree. As parents we help mold these mildstones were NOT looking at creating stepford children only aiming to do what pleases us at the same time though they look up to us they seek our approval and use that opnion to learn and form there own way and beliefs. No matter how withdrawn or independent parents play a HUGE role.
Soo we use consructive praise. I will reinforce my childs excitiment.
Did you see me mama I did it I did it did you see??
Yes honey I saw and look your soo hapy you have such a huge smile I bet you feel very happy inside do you feel happy inside?
I will point out effort and thank her..
Honey I was upstairs and I just saw your room and how you made your bed. You did a great job with it and that was a very nice thing of you to do.
I will even find the good and reward it..
Cecilia we've been working on you not saying I want and saying may I instead and you have been doing such a great job doing it I thought it been fun if we celebrate and go get an icecream cone at Mc Donalds after dinner
All these things when used appropiatly and especially in a family that practices GD where "bad" isn't in the picture all can reinforce and bbuild character.
What I wont do it be sappy about it use bribes set up for failure or instill a belief that somethign is bad is we don't praise each thing.

Wife to DH since August 01 mom to a bubbly girl October 2002 and our newest gal March 2010
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#12 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by savithny View Post
My parents were lovely and supportive, but Dad especially was very Dutch Calvinist about praise - it should be rarely used and never effusively, and only when earned by something incredibly out of the ordinary.

My parents naturally gravitated toward the Kohn end of the scale, with more of the "what do you like about it?" "You used red, didn't you?" "Tell me what YOU think?"

I agree with the others. My life experience makes me disagree pretty strongly with Kohn. You don't have to Good Job kids to death, running life on a reward system taht makes all motivation extrinsic surely can be a problem -- but there is nothing wrong with judicious praising. I try not to overpraise, but when my child achieves something big for him/her, we celebrate together and I let the kid know I'm excited for them.
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.
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#13 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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I agree that this has been surprising to hear but so useful and helpful and it really makes a lot of sense. This is why I go through phases of tossing the books and trusting my instincts. I think Kohn goes too far but it does speak to the overuse of "good job" that sometimes comes out of parents' mouths at almost every turn. It does become meaningless then.
I agree and I think thats who Kohn is essentially speaking too. I re-read the last few chapters last night and have come to this conclusion - that he is not saying 'to praise, ever'. He is saying 'what how your child reacts to the praise or expects the praise and go from there'. I think from reading discussions online that there has been a very big misperception about what he is saying.

The 2nd poster nailed my DH right on the head. Exact same situation - no praise, own rewards, and now never being able to take a compliment without it seeming unnatural or fake. In addition, he is 35 and still craves their approval or pleasing - yet never gets it - not even when he announced our pregnancy.
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#14 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jrose_lee View Post
This is interesting. We've been going with no praise so far and I think it has been find so far. Ds is only 21 months. Basically, we've avoiding the meaningless "good job" phrases. He isn't old enough yet to do a lot of things. He is a very happy kid.

But reading this is making me second guess no praise in the home at all as kids grow up. I'd never heard from actual grownups who have grown up this way. Sounds like none of you liked it and it was actually detrimental! Yikes!

Maybe we'll just stear clear of meaningless praise and use meaningful descriptive praise when something has really made a child proud?

Gosh....now I'm confused. :
Trust your instincts. If you are excited over something that your dc does, express that. Express what comes naturally to you. I have never felt comfortable with the Kohn model - reading these personal accounts has just reinforced it for me.
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#15 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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I agree with the others. My life experience makes me disagree pretty strongly with Kohn. You don't have to Good Job kids to death, running life on a reward system taht makes all motivation extrinsic surely can be a problem -- but there is nothing wrong with judicious praising. I try not to overpraise, but when my child achieves something big for him/her, we celebrate together and I let the kid know I'm excited for them.
Same here. My parents didn't praise me -- I had no idea, for example, that my mother thought I was any good at art when I was a kid until I was about 35, when she suddenly presented me with a framed watercolor I'd done when I was in elementary school. While I did feel that I was loved, I didn't feel that any of my accomplishments were valued, which I found demoralizing.

I will say that I feel this upbringing contributed to my strength and independence of thought as an adult. However, I really think there has to be a better way, and I think it's not very authentic to stop yourself from expressing delight and joy at your child's achievements.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#16 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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My mother seemed to only praise near perfection, and even then, she would look for flaws. "You got an A-. Why wasn't it an A+?" She also pulled me out of anything I couldn't immediately do perfectly, such as saying, when I was 7, "Why don't we stop ballet lessons? Dance is just not your strong suit" or something like that. Maybe she meant well -- every kid excels at different things, etc. -- but it hurt. Badly. So now I'm a perfectionist and I never want to try anything unless I know I can do it perfectly. With my DD, I don't "good job" every little thing, but when there are particular successes that seem important to her, I do celebrate them with her. I could never go the Kohn route. I'm thrilled when 2-year-old DD echoes me in a pep talk or in celebration, saying, "I feel so PWOUD!"
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#17 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 09:50 PM
 
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I wasn't often praised in the traditional sense. They told me specific things like they were proud of how well I did on a test or something, but I didn't get a lot of "good jobs." When I was a kid, it kind of peeved me. I'd whine for recognition... "did you see how well I did in the game?" "did you know I got an A"? And they'd acknowledge it in a way that I knew that they were proud of me for just existing and they'd be no less proud if I got a B than an A. As a kid, I wanted the "good jobs" but now I'm glad I didn't hear it all the time. I'm very internally motivated and I don't beat myself up if I come in second place if I know I did my best, you know? I wish I could articulate it better than that, because I think they did a great job with that aspect of my upbringing. They totally supported me but also let me know that my achievements weren't why they loved me at all.

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#18 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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I remember feeling like I always caught crap when I goofed up but wasn't recognized for doing well.

I remember mentioning it and being told that they shouldn't have to say anything to get me to do what I was supposed to be doing anyway.

I try to recognize my kids' achievements and strong points (and especially improvements!) without being embarrassing or condescending. Kind of the Faber-Maslich version of praise.
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#19 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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I remember feeling like I always caught crap when I goofed up but wasn't recognized for doing well.

I remember mentioning it and being told that they shouldn't have to say anything to get me to do what I was supposed to be doing anyway.
thats exactly what my dad would say!
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#20 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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My mother seemed to only praise near perfection, and even then, she would look for flaws. "You got an A-. Why wasn't it an A+?" She also pulled me out of anything I couldn't immediately do perfectly, such as saying, when I was 7, "Why don't we stop ballet lessons? Dance is just not your strong suit" or something like that. Maybe she meant well -- every kid excels at different things, etc. -- but it hurt. Badly. So now I'm a perfectionist and I never want to try anything unless I know I can do it perfectly. With my DD, I don't "good job" every little thing, but when there are particular successes that seem important to her, I do celebrate them with her. I could never go the Kohn route. I'm thrilled when 2-year-old DD echoes me in a pep talk or in celebration, saying, "I feel so PWOUD!"

This is my dad exactly.

It kind of made my brother and me into perfectionists. Actually my brother struggles a LOT with failure, and has quit probably over 10 jobs now. I'm lucky because I've been with DH since I was 18, and he's very encouraging, but my brother has not been so lucky.
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#21 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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Interesting thread. Those of you who weren't praised, and feel bad about it - did your parents show a lot of love and affection that wasn't based on what you did? Did you know they loved you and thought you were terrific, but you wished they would also recognize your big efforts and achievements? Or did you feel you needed praise as evidence that they loved and valued you?
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#22 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 10:52 PM
 
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I always knew and kno that my dad loves/ed me, even though hes not a hugger etc, my mum and me have a close bond and I know both love my no matter what.

It just would have been great to have efforts and acomplishments made a bigger deal of. I worked hard/tryed hard for those things, and just some acknowledgement would have been nice. even a thank you for doing all the housework without being asked etc.
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#23 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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Thank you to all of you who wrote about your experiences about not being praised. We haven't praised DS (14 months) because we had read Kohn early on. At that time I found it amazing how over-used praise was. "Good job for pooping" was possibly the most ridiculous one I had ever heard. I've been thinking about the no praise idea and wondering how DS will feel about that as he grows up. Thinking back to my experiences growing up I don't think that I was praised often at all. In fact I think I was told that I wasn't living up to my potential (another thread altogether). So I think that praise that isn't meaningless may be the way to go. Recently, DS has been petting the cat and when he is gentle I say, "yes that's gentle" but adding "good" couldn't hurt could it? Gosh parenting is hard! Can kids understand the "good jobs" without understanding what a "bad job" is??
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#24 of 105 Old 10-23-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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I grew up with loving and supportive parents. My upbringing wasn't completetly absent of praise, but it was used sparingly. And I developed an anxiety disorder terrified of anything less than perfect in everything I do. When I did anything, it was evaluated, both achievements and areas for improvement. I never thought anything was good enough, because there is always room for improvement.

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

She never intended this. But that's how my childish brain interpreted it, and I can't say I've moved past that.
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#25 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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I personally love what Faber and Mazlish say about praise in "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk". There's a whole chapter on it, but in a nutshell they say to avoid praise that evaluates, and instead give "helpful praise", where the adult "describes with appreication what he or she sees or feels. The child, after hearing the description, is then able to praise himself."

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#26 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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I had a parent who praised me for stuff that she genuinely felt was praise-worthy, and I feel I don't have any lingering praise-related issues as an adult. (That sounds so ridiculous now that I have typed it out!)

But seriously, she didn't hand out "good job" left and right for any little thing, but if I did something genuinely cool, or difficult, or challenging, she definitely praised me for it. It came from a place of honesty, which IMHO is the best you can do as a parent, and it is what I strive for as a parent myself.

Am I going to tell my kid "good job" for drawing a stick figure that he has drawn a million times before? No. But am I going to tell him how impressed I am when he draws a recognizable picture of himself for the first time and even includes the little alligators on his Hawaiian shirt? You bet I am. It would be dishonest of me not to express my genuine appreciation of his work. Again, IMHO.
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#27 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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Interesting thread. Those of you who weren't praised, and feel bad about it - did your parents show a lot of love and affection that wasn't based on what you did? Did you know they loved you and thought you were terrific, but you wished they would also recognize your big efforts and achievements? Or did you feel you needed praise as evidence that they loved and valued you?
For me, the bit below from dealic *really* struck a chord with me:

Quote:
because the A's I normally got were seen as expected and never an achievement.
.

To have things that were truly work be treated as just another thing I did..... made the work that went into them seem less, somehow. And not in a "many hands make light work," kind of way.

You know, when they put the capstone on the great pyramid, and the work crew stood back and looked at it, I'd bet money that the foremen didn't say, "well, it looks like you used limestone on that last course. How do you feel about that?" They probably yelled something about how much Egyptians kicked butt and then led the way out for a lot of beer.

More praise would have made some of the acheivements more exciting. Celebrating an accomplishment is a lot more fun with other people. Sure, its important to have an internal motivation and sense of accomplishment -- but human beings celebrate in *groups*, generally, not alone in little monastic cells (except, I suppose, for monks!).

To their credit, they were dealing with a gifted/talented kid in a small town in the 70s with no support. There was a certain amount of "we want her to be normal and not get a big head."

There's a lot I found out *later* how proud they were of me about. I knew they *were* happy with what I did (content, maybe?), there was never any doubt that they loved me and cared for me and wanted the best for me. I just feel like some of my lifes celebrations wound up... muted. When a different reaction could have ...amplified?... them.

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

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#28 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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Interesting thread. Those of you who weren't praised, and feel bad about it - did your parents show a lot of love and affection that wasn't based on what you did? Did you know they loved you and thought you were terrific, but you wished they would also recognize your big efforts and achievements? Or did you feel you needed praise as evidence that they loved and valued you?
Hi, Daffodil -- Every so often, growing up and still today (though less often), it would come up in conversation how my mom seldom praised me. At that point, she would launch into a speech about, "Oh, you KNOW I think you're perfect, you're beautiful, you're blah blah blah." But it went/goes in one ear and out the other, because you know what? I don't know that. If she didn't tell me in small ways day by day, then no, I really didn't have an overarching sense that this was so. Growing up, I really envied kids whose parents were more generous with their praise -- not a "good job" for everything, but more than I got -- and I looked for that kind of validation outside my own family or myself, and continue to.
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#29 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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To have things that were truly work be treated as just another thing I did..... made the work that went into them seem less, somehow. And not in a "many hands make light work," kind of way.
Yes, that. Friends were complimented on completing grades, or graduating. I once asked my mom why she didn't, and she said that it was expected that I pass, not an accomplishment to be praised.

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To their credit, they were dealing with a gifted/talented kid in a small town in the 70s with no support. There was a certain amount of "we want her to be normal and not get a big head."
That too, only it was the 80's and 90's.

I am also quite jaded against the education system because they continually decided that because I was so advanced, I didn't need to ever be acknowledged as such. I was never given top mark awards despite having earned the top mark, I never won speech competitions despite having them tell me I was the best (and it was an obvious difference). My entire educational career they told me I didn't need it, I already knew I was good, but other people needed to hear they were good. I never understood why my giftedness precluded me from normal human need to be acknowledged... :
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#30 of 105 Old 10-24-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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My entire educational career they told me I didn't need it, I already knew I was good, but other people needed to hear they were good. I never understood why my giftedness precluded me from normal human need to be acknowledged... :
In elementary school, my gifted class took place once a week at a different school. My sixth-grade teacher deliberately scheduled a big classroom party for the day of the week when all the kids in the gifted class would be gone. She said we "already had enough fun as it is." I'll never forget it.
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