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I am using advice from Playful Parenting, Parent Effectiveness Training, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, and am trying to do this without using praise and punishment. I have two of Kohn's books -- Unconditional Parenting and Punished By Rewards. I've heard and read enough that I'm convinced by his general argument. Here's where I'm confused. I'll try to explain this with an example.<br><br>
Simon started making towers with blocks lately. My response: An excited sounding "You built a tower!" This wasn't a full blown HOORAH! response, but still fairly excited-sounding. Similar variants happen fairly often. He started putting a puppet on his hand the other day and I said "You put a puppet on your hand! This is your first puppet show! Look Matt (dh), Simon is giving us a puppet show." At other times I notice that I smile at him a lot when he does certain things. I tend to smile at him a lot regardless of what he is doing; it just seems like a natural and nice thing to do. He smiles a lot in return; people are forever commenting at what a happy boy he is. Anyway... can even a smile in certain situations be construed as a reward? It seems like it could. I can imagine other alternative responses, but I like my current approach, so unless it's problematic I don't want to change it. Hopefully Kohn's books will cover this. I'll get around to them soon. I just have so much on the go right now.
 

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We have the same "top list" of books. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
What I tell myself when I get caught up in the "is this praise??" mentality is that it is OK for me to express emotions. I mean, that's what we teach our kids, right? That it's okay to feel sad or angry or frustrated, and happy too! So when I feel so much pride and love for my child I tell her that, like I tell her I'm angry sometimes. I try to focus then on it being my thing, not a judgement on her. So in your example I might say "I like watching you make towers!" with a big smile on my face. Or "when you make a puppet, I feel like smiling at it!"....or you know, sometimes I just come out and say "I love watching you do X!".<br><br>
In short, praise is okay when it's an outward expression of your own emotions, but not when it becomes a judgement or when the focus becomes on how the child is "making" you feel.<br><br>
That's what I tell myself, anyway. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent">
 

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i have only just started reading unconditionalparenting, but this is the way i see it. praise and positive responses that are desinged to manipulate are a big no no, emotional responses that happen just because we are creatures of emotion are different, i cant help thinking not smiling and ever being positive toward your child cant be a good thing.<br><br>
in the same vein if i am unhappy with something my child has done i try and talk to him about why i am unhappy and why he cant do that but in such a way that assumes that he is a great child and in a way that lets him know i love and accept him.<br><br>
i try to love unconditionally at the same time as guiding and teaching him about what is and isnt acceptable behaviour.<br><br>
however, i have only just started reading the book but that is how i interpret it so far.
 

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I have never read these books and have only recently started reading some of these threads in this forum. Sorry if i sound so "new".<br><br>
I realy don't understand why praise is bad. In my experience it has been very good. My father always praised us, told me and my sister that we are great, smart, beautiful girls. We always tried to live up to his praise.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dal</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">...I like my current approach, so unless it's problematic I don't want to change it.</div>
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Read my siggie....<br><br>
While I'm sure those books have some really wonderful things to say about gentle parenting, don't forget that you are a very wise woman. Leave room to listen to your heart, and follow your own instincts. They are more important than anything Alfie Kohn has to say- honestly, if he said to stop smiling at your baby would you? I doubt it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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i think there is a *world* of difference (which a child can discern!) between genuine excitement / enthusiasm and contrived praise.<br><br>
what you are describing sounds to me like spontaneous, loving comments and interactions!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>vegmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We always tried to live up to his praise.</div>
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I know you already found an answer to your question, but I think this is what sums it up for me...<br><br>
As a result of a similar parenting style ("You're so smart! You're so pretty!") I adore my parents, but am *really* dependent on praise, and petrified that I'm going to do anything to prove that I'm really *not* "so smart" or "so pretty." So that paralyzes me at times...<br><br>
KWIM?<br><br>
I'm not saying that every kid will internalize this stuff the same way, but *I* sure did. I almost never do anything major if I'm not sure it's going to be nearly perfect-- *and* I'm going to get praise for it. As a writer, I find it's a big deal for me to be posting on message boards, and not editing my posts more than once.<br><br>
I had to write a piece for my paper a few months ago that turned out pretty well... But not nearly as well as it could have if I had more time to do it (I couldn't, I only had a few hours). I knew it was fine, and that it was a pretty good effort considering the constraints... but I was secretly terrified that people would see it and think that it was the best I could do.<br><br>
Which would be a fate worse than death? I don't know.<br><br>
And I hated to have it confirmed by loved ones (only after I *badgered* them into telling me that it was sub-par-- relative to what I *could* do, anyway). I couldn't let it go-- no matter how much DH tried to tell me how great it was that I wrote *anything* in such a short period.<br><br>
Then I went home and got an email from a reader telling me how great the article was-- and all was right with the world. Well... better, anyway.<br><br>
How f'ed up is that?<br><br>
I mean, everyone likes praise, but I've got a serious problem here... I find it's like a drug... I'm desperate for it, but once I get it, I am very demotivated to do the praiseworthy action lest I screw up this time-- AND EVERYONE SEES MY MISTAKES. After all, I know they're paying attention now!<br><br>
Probably why I chose a career with high visibility... and why I almost only *ever* considered highly-visible careers (writing, entertainment, politics, etc.)<br><br>
But enough about me... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"><br><br>
I'm not 100% sold on Kohn, since I'd like to read some rebuttals (and his rebuttals to the rebuttals) and make up my own mind. But, personally, his work has really resonated for me...
 
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