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I hope this is the right forum. Well, I have a friend whose husband strongly believes that kids are like animals and you 'train' or teach them the same, with rewards. Their 25 month old ds has been having a hard time w/ the potty since the very recent arrival of ds #2. The other morning at 9 AM, there son pooped in the potty and her husband gave him half of a rice dream bar!! My friend and I don't agree w/ this at all but don't have any info on why. So I would love some spam about why treats shouldn't be rewards.
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I would love to see some info too, as my dh wants me to start offering ds m&m's to use the potty. That's what his mom did. I told him no, but then I don't really have the info to back up the claim as to exactly why.
 

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My mom used to insist that my dh and I should give our ds candy or cookies for going potty. We refused because we were worried that when the treats stopped then so will his willingness to use the potty. We were afraid, also, that he would only do good things for a treat.

Children aren't animals (as everyone here I'm sure knows all too well). They are human beings who are very new to the world. Everything we do, everything we say, and how we treat them is all they know of their world. If we give them treats for good behavior then they'll think that the treats are the only reasons to be good.

Instead of treats, we give my son encouragement and praise. He responds to it just as well, and it's much healthier to boot.


BTW, it can take a while for children to potty train. It's not an easy thing for them to do. For some it's simple and for others it's more difficult. The important part is to remember this and to realize that while it's frustrating they will learn to use the potty. This can happen anywhere between 2 and 4 years, so having trouble at 25 months is perfectly ok. Your child will learn to use the potty when they're ready. To force it can cause problems. But, to encourage it is fine, so long as the encouragement is positive and gentle.

*hugs* Hope this helps.
 

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I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of using food as a punishment or reward. I don't like the idea of promising treats for good behavior. As an adult, I know if I've been working hard or something, I will think to myself, "I've been good. I deserve this ice cream, soda, fries, Big Mac, whatever." It is a very hard thing to overcome. I believe it is what has contributed to my ongoing struggle with weight.

I don't want to pass on my food baggage to my children. We don't have many treats in the house, but I don't make a big deal over it either. They have them often enough that treats don't have a forbidden fruit appeal, but not so often so they expect them (we do struggle a little bit with McDonald's, but I think that is about the toy, not the food). I never use them as a reward and certainly not as a punishment (I cringe when I hear about people putting tabasco on a kid's tongue for bad language or washing their mouth out with soap).

Bec
 

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Well, I guess I'm in the minority- we did use mini-m and m's for potty training. Not because we thought our children were animals, but in recognition of the fact that there is no intrinsic motivation or reward in toileting. Really, if we waiting for the child to be self-motivated, they would be in dipes for a long, long time. So we did give m and m's to sweeten the pot, so to speak. While I don't think it's necessarily evil, neither do I think it's particularly necessary. It's worked for us, but I think we also could have done without it,
Annette
 

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The book "Punished by Rewards" is a great start. We try to avoid rewards in our home, and have done so so far. Additionally, encouraging social/reward eating could really come back to bite you

That said, the type of reward you are describing is one of the most innocuous, IMO. What you really want to avoid rewarding is behavior you hope will be intrinsically rewarding as an adult (for example, excercise or reading). Basically, having unrelated physical rewards LESSENS the intrinsic reward of the activity (knowledge & enjoyment for reading as an example). At the other end, for behavior that will not be intriniscally rewarding as an adult, it doesn't "matter" as much if children are rewarded for it (as an adult, your child will probably use the toilet, reward or no, because it is a part of daily life that is not expected to be *that* enjoyable. once rewards are removed, though, they many not want to read, excercise, etc... because those are outside of necessary and their motivation for doing so will no longer exist (unless you plan on rewarding them for life)).

HTH,
Kay
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TiredX2
The book "Punished by Rewards" is a great start. We try to avoid rewards in our home, and have done so so far. Additionally, encouraging social/reward eating could really come back to bite you
In this case, because the husband in question is a behaviorist, I think an even better book may be "Why We Do What We Do:Understanding Self-Motivation" by Deci and Flaste. Deci was one of the motivational psycholgists instrumental in ending the reign of the behaviorists. This book talks about his research and his battle in a popular (as opposed to academic) format. Very interesting read. Much if Kohn's book is based on the research of Deci and his peers.

I agree with at least one other poster, that aside from the question of whether to ever use food as a reward, that rewarding behavior during potty training is the most innocuous example of using rewards. However, I'm assuming from the OP that the father's beliefs extend to more than just potty training.
 

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Punished by Rewards is a wonderful book. I'm going to have to track down the other book, I've never heard of it before!

We don't use rewards and our kids are bigger now. There are huge benifits of not using rewards. The main lesson kids learn from being rewarded is how to manipulate others, including their parents. Kids who aren't rewarded don't ask "what's in it for me?" when they are asked to do something.

I agree about rewards to using the potty -- it isn't as big of a deal as rewards for other things.
 

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My son really likes the photos in Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and he has been asking me, for the last couple of days, to read the chapter on toilet learning. (By read he means, please interpret the photographs for me!) So I have just reread their section on toilet learning, even though I don't think that ds is ready for it yet!

(Though maybe he's getting ready, he's really interested in the TP and the flush and in being in the bathroom with me, and of course he likes to look at all these photos of other children using the potty. Hmmm. I thought that 22 months was way too young for a boy. Well. )

Okay, so, here's what the authors of Becoming the Parent You Want to Be have to say: (p. 166)

Quote:
Linking food to behavior rather than to hunger teaches children to ignore their bodies' signals. When food is withheld as a punishment, it can undermine children's trust in you and their feelings of safety in the world.
They believe that children are intrinsically motivated to learn to use the toilet, and I really liked this quote: (p.186)

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The old-school belief about toileting was that you had to make a big deal about it or children wouldn't want to do it. But learning to use the toilet is exciting for children. Too big a response on our part can actually overshadow our child's achievement. Celebrate children's successes with them, but let their feelings and excitement hold the primary position.
This went against what I had read in The Magic Years, which basically argued that children were motivated to use to potty entirely by their relationships with their mothers!

Since we have not done toilet learning/potty training/whatever you call it, I don't really know about this. In his life so far my ds has seemed to enjoy learning to do every new thing, and to have a spirit of enquiry and a persistance about acquiring skills. I guess if he gets really stuck that a few m&ms won't hurt him, but I'm going to go with the "he'll want to learn to do this anyway" theory to start, because it just seems more realistic to me.
 

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The old-school belief about toileting was that you had to make a big deal about it or children wouldn't want to do it. But learning to use the toilet is exciting for children. Too big a response on our part can actually overshadow our child's achievement. Celebrate children's successes with them, but let their feelings and excitement hold the primary position.
I think this was initially true in our case, but after a while the thrill was gone. :LOL
And really, I will admit that toilet learning was my agenda, not their's, so I was willing to make it worth their while. Michael started to potty all by himself when he was 2 1/2 and then "backslid" and at that point I had major PPD and just wasn't willing to go back to two in cloth. Katie Grace pulled the same thing at around 2 3/4.
 

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This is off the topic of toilet training but I already said what I wanted to say about that. lol

I've never given a treat as a reward for anything. I'm not saying that those who do are bad parents or anything like that. I personally just don't believe in it. My family has different ideas and I've seen the difference in my child vs my brothers (who are 6 and 8 years old).

My youngest brother had the most difficulty out of any kid I ever knew to go to the potty. It got to the point where my mother and my step-father would punnish him when he messed himself (usually because he would just sit there in his pee) and reward him when he would use it. It turned out he had a medical condition where he just didn't feel the urge to go and had to be put on medication. Now he uses the toilet fine.

However, there were long term effects. Now my brother refuses to do something without a reward. "Why should I?" and "What will you give me if I do?" are common phrases you'll hear from him. He's not a bad kid. He just believes now that if you do something good you're supposed to get a reward for it. And if you do something bad you're supposed to get punnished. He lies a lot because of this. Not only to save his own skin but also to save that of anothers (someone broke the window once and he said he did it when it was the kid down the street so the other kid wouldn't get punnished).

Through all of this my mom doesn't understand why I don't like to give my son candy or cookies for doing something like picking up his toys or putting his dish in the sink. I let him know how much I appreciate it by thanking him, telling him how happy it makes me when he helps out, etc.

I don't use bribes either. Once we were all at a water park and Orion started getting all fussy and cranky. My sister's immediate response was to offer him ice cream. I got so angry and told her NEVER to offer him something to behave. That the reason he's acting out is probably because he's tired (it was nap time) and we just needed to find an area to sit quietly, calm him down, and help him get some sleep in the stroller (one of those comfy ones). She got mad at me because she thought she was helping. But, sugar would've made matters worse IMO.

Anyways, this is kind of long so I'll end here. lol
 

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I was thinking about this the other day because I've been guilty of using treats as rewards. I started wondering though, if it could lead to poor eating habits in the future. Like me, I eat when I'm bored, upset, happy, etc. I wonder if treats as rewards could lead to that?
 

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We used stickers for potty training, but only for a short time. He was ready when we started (27 months) after a few starts and stops over the previous two months. His natural enthusiasm was enough. For him, it was like any new skill. I remember the first time he said, "Turtle" with perfect clarity. He jumped up and down, beaming. He had the same reaction for potty training. His "I did it!" perception was enough.

I think part of that is personality. He is naturally able to self congratulate, and I am not sure that is easy for everyone. I know that there are some things that I do that I feel make me 'entitled' to a trip to the bookstore or 30 minutes uninterrupted on the couch. I wish I had his excitement when I cleaned the bathrooms!
 

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I don't know if you've said anything to your friend yet or not, but are you planning to? Or are you just curious for information to support your own gut instinct?

It just seems like this could lead to a big-time parenting competition if you try to convince her that they are wrong to be using rewards. Usually the only thing that results from that is the end of the friendship.
I *agree* with you saritasmile, but if your friend is already pretty firm in her opinion, isn't she likely to view your information as criticism and preaching? Personally, I wouldn't want someone challenging me about my parenting unless we had a *super* close relationship OR they felt my child was in physical danger. (I probably wouldn't appreciate it even then, but at least I could see how it might be about my kid and not just about how bad a parent they think I am.)

If I totally misread your intention in asking for resources about this issue, I apologize. I just wanted to throw that out there as something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
luv my 2 sweeties- no unsolicited advise going on here!! my friend is feeling very frustrated about this situation (she doesn't agree w/ her husband at all) and i told her i could find out some info if she wanted and she said yes. she's going to read this post tomarrow. i so appreciate your concern (and definely agree), luckily it's not the case.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by saritasmile
luv my 2 sweeties- no unsolicited advise going on here!! my friend is feeling very frustrated about this situation (she doesn't agree w/ her husband at all) and i told her i could find out some info if she wanted and she said yes. she's going to read this post tomarrow. i so appreciate your concern (and definely agree), luckily it's not the case.

Ahhh, I see! I misunderstood and thought your friend *did* agree with her dh. I understand now -- good luck to both of you!
 

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-- Cap'n Optimism -- my ds has started peeing on the potty once or twice a day for the last few weeks. We've had the lil potty in the bathroom for months & just talked to him about it; one day he wanted to sit on it while we sat on the big one, then within a few weeks he peed for the first time (when dh was peeing -- SITTING DOWN :LOL). He may not be trained for months/or another year, but we're really following his lead.

Regarding the OP, I think you've gotten some great info., already. Good luck to your friend.
 
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