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I typically say to DD (and did when she was little, too) something like: "You built a tower!" or "You colored a house!" and then ask her a couple of questions about what she's done. To me (and I hope to her) it showed that I was paying attention and engaged. "Good job" always struck me as the equivalent of "yeah, yeah, whatever."
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lonegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14903071"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My only issue with this is that....if someone said that to me....it doesn't mean I was successful, or the task was done well....it just means I worked hard on it. If I show people my artwork I like people to appreciate/critique the final product not go on about how hard it must have been and that it took a lot of effort....not being snarky...JMPOV</div>
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Well, that's kind of the whole point of not praising kids in that way (good job, etc), so that kids internally decide if what they've done is of value and don't feel the need to have their artwork and everything else judged by others to decide if it was worth their time. It's about helping kids become internally motivated rather than externally motivated.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14903259"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well, that's kind of the whole point of not praising kids in that way (good job, etc), so that kids internally decide if what they've done is of value and <b>don't feel the need to have their artwork and everything else judged by others</b></div>
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In some ways, telling a child they did something "well" is like telling them they did it "poorly." In both cases, the parents first message is "I can judge what you do and decide it is good enough or not."<br><br>
Getting away from constantly making judgements about everything our kids do is goal for some of us because we hope that by doing so, our kids will develop their own reason for what they do and make rather than focusing on our (and later other people's) approval.<br><br>
I thing about switching to this style is that it takes more thought. You have to really look a the picture and find something to say about. It's more complex than just giving a standard parent stamp of approval like "good job."
 

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I didn't read all the responses so I apologize if I'm repeating anything...<br><br>
But I would say something like, "I love your choice of colors" or "That picture makes me feel so happy (or sad, or lonely, or energized, etc.)" or "Do you want to put it on the fridge"... something on that idea. I guess what I'm getting at is, kind of model an emotional response to it. As they get older you can start to shift it from YOUR reaction to THEIR reaction... "The picture makes me feel happy, how does it make you feel?" and later just, "How does that make you feel"... KWIM?
 

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So here's a question: My little people always will ask: "Do you like it?" Now I am not sure if they want praise or if they just want an opinion. Is an opinion like praise? If you say you like what they have done, isn't that to them the same as praise? Then they will say...."Yes I like it but don't you like it too?" If you say that it is more important that THEY like it, will it make them think that you just don't want to say you don't like it after all?<br><br>
Do any of you see where I am going with this question? I have absolutely NO idea how to answer this round of their questioning. It's very confusing and makes me want to say any way: "I really like your work. You did a good job on it."<br><br>
What to do?
 

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I haven't read all the responses.<br><br>
I say "thank-you for" whatever if it is something that makes my life easier or talk about what I see and my own genuine feelings in relationship to whatever "Wow, I'm surprised that you can kick the ball that far! I didn't know you could do that." or "It really makes me happy to see how kind you are being to your little brother today. I can tell that you are trying so hard to be patient with him.
 

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Honestly I don't see a lot of the replies as being very different from "Good job!". "Well done" is the same thing. Unless it's a specific comment, I can't see anything to distinguish the phrases other than different phraseology. I also am amazed that so many children let the comments drop with some of these. Anytime I told my children "Look! You colored a cat!" they always looked at me like I was a moron stating the obvious. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>momo7</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14904084"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So here's a question: My little people always will ask: "Do you like it?" Now I am not sure if they want praise or if they just want an opinion. Is an opinion like praise? If you say you like what they have done, isn't that to them the same as praise? Then they will say...."Yes I like it but don't you like it too?"</div>
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What about telling them you like (since they seem to need to hear that) but then trying to pivot to more of a conversation. Something like, "I DO like you picture. I notice you've (insert specific comment). Tell me more about your picture/what you were thinking/etc."<br><br>
I've been pondering this issue for over a decade (my oldest is 13). I think it is normal and even healthy for kids to want their parents to like what they've done. I also think there are times as kids get older that we parents WANT them to value our opinion on whether or not what they've done is good enough (such as grades in core subjects in middle school <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">).<br><br>
However, it really isn't healthy for a child to need mommy to love everything they do. Ultimately, it not only makes their voice weak compared to our approval, it makes their voice weak compare to their peers approval. We can help them find their own voice and the joy in expressing themselves by taking a step back from passing judgement on everything.
 

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If my children bring me something to look at because they want to share it I say something like oh that's what you have been doing... which bit do you like best?/Your man has massive eyes!/I like the blue you picked.<br><br>
I don't think it is bad to give an opinion as well as state facts. Giving my children some praise gives them a little lift and I don't think that hurts at all.<br><br>
When my dd won a 2nd place medal in her first gymnastics competition I couldn't help but praise her because she was bouncing about with joy. If I had said "I see you balanced well on the beam" that would have been a bit of a damp squib kwim?<br><br>
She is the first of my children to do a competitive sport like this and it was quite off for us to see her perform and that she is obviously very good at what she was doing.<br><br>
Never having your mum say anything glowing about what you do would make a kid a bit sad I think.
 

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I didn't read the comments, but I say...<br><br>
Oh wow, tell me about it?<br>
What is this?<br>
I like the colours you chose.<br>
How does this picture make you feel?<br>
Did you enjoy that?<br>
Would you like to hang it up, keep it, toss it, give it to someone?<br><br>
Works well for me.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>PreggieUBA2C</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14900894"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For drawings, once we've discussed everything dc want to, I say, "Thank you for showing me your drawing. I love seeing the development of (that character, your ornamentation, etc...)." But even with our 2 yr old, when he shows me a drawing, I treat him and his drawing with interest and respect, so given my interests as well, I ask him questions like, "Did you draw this line very fast?" To which he'll likely say yes because his drawings are about his physical experience in drawing them right now. Then I'll confirm, "I thought so. It's dark and straight!"<br><br>
I ask him questions about his choice of instrument: "Did you use a pencil for this?" "What would happen if you tried that with a marker/crayon/pen/etc...?"<br><br>
I talk in depth about the drawings of the others because they are drawing for content and accuracy right now, to differing degrees and with different interests- for story-telling, character development for their stories, interactive drawing stories, diagramming various natural phenomena- weather patterns, parts of the earth, animals- habitat, anatomy, habits, elaborately designed ornamentation, etc....<br><br>
My eldest wants artistic critique, so I give him that. I was an artist once...<br><br>
Anyway, I just talk to my children with the same level of consideration and respect as I would an adult I loved and respected. They are competent and don't need the 'little' or abridged version of communication, imo.<br><br>
And as pp have already written, because I don't use overt or specific praise, I am just more inclined to openly talk to my dc as opposed to evaluate them. So, I mean that I don't say anything to replace 'good job' because that sort of evaluation isn't in my vocabulary to begin with.<br><br>
They receive my encouragement in myriad ways, so not praising doesn't mean not showing excitement or interest. I jump up and down too, and exclaim with complete sincerity, "Oh, sweetie! That's just <i>beautiful</i>!!! Keep doing that!!!" which is an evaluation, but I'm including it here because sometimes something is just so exciting that even a freethinker like me cannot help but do it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Usually I still express what I see or feel and there are lots of hugs and shoulder pats too, that go with the response. I am not robotic without 'good job'.<br><br>
I would express my excitement the same way to an adult, but I wouldn't even think of saying, 'good job' to anyone- child or adult.<br><br>
I cannot stand being told, 'good job' and my dc don't like it either. We had to discuss this specifically last year because a friend was saying it incessantly to my dc, and they were shutting down and avoiding my friend. We had never discussed it with them at all ever; they just felt disrespected because they had not been under such constant scrutiny before, even if it seemed positive to my friend.<br><br>
So, we decided to tell our boys that they are free to ask our friend to just speak to them the way she would to an adult. Our ds2, then 4 yrs old, did! I was surprised that she so quickly understood his issue, but she did and asked him if he would like her just to say 'thank you' instead, and he replied emphatically, "YES!" She had told him, "Good job!" for bringing her the shoes she just finished asking him to give to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Obviously it is an automatic response for her, but in reality, it is absurd to evaluate his 'job' of bringing shoes to her according to her request. "Thank you' is the culturally appropriate response to when someone obliges a request.<br><br>
The issue I have and that Kohn and others have expressed, with praise, is that it removes the child's place to evaluate him/herself, and amongst other results, removes the intrinsic value of their work or accomplishment by presuming it requires praise to give it value. It is also a barrier to open conversation. How often do you love to engage in open dialogue with someone who responds with evaluations of everything you present? It's tedious at best and demeaning at the other end, imo. Children have the same response, ime.<br><br>
My dh and other friends didn't believe me until I asked them to watch how much conversation they have with their/our dc after they've stated their evaluation of 'good job.' They were astonished to discover that it's the conversation stopper, and if it was the first thing expressed, it's the only thing expressed. Children shut down- even talkative ones and even dc who have been raised without it can be shut down once they realise they are being evaluated. Even my 26 month old is aware of this. It's so common that we have lots of opportunities to observe the dynamics of this sort of interaction.<br><br>
If you are unsure of its effect, stop doing it for a while so dc can acclimate to more open conversation, and then add a 'good job' here and there and observe.</div>
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Wow! this is quite a response. It gives me a lot to think about as a first time mom with a little one just starting to do things on his own. Thanks!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>momo7</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14904084"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So here's a question: My little people always will ask: "Do you like it?" Now I am not sure if they want praise or if they just want an opinion. Is an opinion like praise? If you say you like what they have done, isn't that to them the same as praise? Then they will say...."Yes I like it but don't you like it too?" If you say that it is more important that THEY like it, will it make them think that you just don't want to say you don't like it after all?<br><br>
Do any of you see where I am going with this question? I have absolutely NO idea how to answer this round of their questioning. It's very confusing and makes me want to say any way: "I really like your work. You did a good job on it."<br><br>
What to do?</div>
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this is a great question!<br><br>
Olien, i loved PreggieUBA2C response too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="throb"><br><br>
everyone has awesome info. i am loving this thread! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Not to sound like a downer, but as a child I would have loved it if my Dad, said Good Job. (Disclaimer, my mother committed suicide on my 10th B.D.). I would work so hard at school, etc. If I got a low A on my report card, say a 92, he would always ask what could I have done different to get a 100. If I cleaned the kitchen, mopped the floor, it may have been in his opinion o.k., but he would ask, it would have been even nicer if I had waxed the floor. So I never got well done, or you did great, or you got all A's (even if they were low), it was always the question, What could you have done to make this, what ever it was better. Talk about a downer. I am not talking about constant praise, Just every once in a while, it would have been nice. And to this day, I am always trying to please people, and I am 48. I try to compliment people all the time. If someone takes the time of day to call me, I always thank them, and let them know it means alot to me that someone cares. So did I praise my kids, you bet I did! Guess what, they are great adults now, and they always say, that we always made them feel loved, and special.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LVale</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14905730"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Not to sound like a downer, but as a child I would have loved it if my Dad, said Good Job. (Disclaimer, my mother committed suicide on my 10th B.D.). I would work so hard at school, etc. If I got a low A on my report card, say a 92, he would always ask what could I have done different to get a 100. If I cleaned the kitchen, mopped the floor, it may have been in his opinion o.k., but he would ask, it would have been even nicer if I had waxed the floor. So I never got well done, or you did great, or you got all A's (even if they were low), it was always the question, What could you have done to make this, what ever it was better. Talk about a downer. I am not talking about constant praise, Just every once in a while, it would have been nice. And to this day, I am always trying to please people, and I am 48. I try to compliment people all the time. If someone takes the time of day to call me, I always thank them, and let them know it means alot to me that someone cares. So did I praise my kids, you bet I did! Guess what, they are great adults now, and they always say, that we always made them feel loved, and special.</div>
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I'm sorry about your mom. That's rough. I never really got the questions like that. I also didn't get the "good job" thing either. Any "praise" I got came in the form of things like "huh, I never thought you'd be any good at art but that's not too bad". Thanks for your confidence in me? Like you, I'm 40 yrs old and am *just now* getting away from the constant need to please everyone, to hear a scrap of praise telling me I did well and to stop second guessing my strengths. I know for fact this has impacted a lot of areas in my life including my career and past relationships. I guess that's why I dispise Alfie Kohn so much because from my view of things, it would have been far more beneficial to my non-existent self esteem growing up to get that "good job" sprinkled in there once in a while than to be raised in such a humble house.
 

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Well your situation wasn't praise vs. appreciaton worded in other ways, it was praise vs no appreciation or positive comments at all. In a home with a serious problem to overcome. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm sure "good job" would have been preferable to what your father did.
 

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I make a comment about what they actually did. (ie. "A purple sky... how cool!")<br><br>
As my son gets older (he just turned 7), he honestly does just want to hear "Well done!" sometimes (he told me.) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lovebug</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14900766"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">really how bad is good job? what can i put in place of that for a 2yo? what more can i say to the 7yo? am i just crazy and good job is just fine?<br><br>
any and all advice is much wanted!</div>
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I say "good effort". I say "wow, you worked really hard on that!" (only if they did!). if they ask me "do you like it", I usually say "yes, I can see that you worked really hard on that".<br><br>
I reward efforts.<br><br>
Rewarding someone for the end results is like rewarding them for being smart... or rewarding them for being pretty... or rewarding them for being tall... Those are all traits that aren't under our control!<br><br>
I don't give rewards for the end result, because it's irrelevant. What matters is the work that was put into it, and whether or not they did THEIR best.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Proud2BeAnAmerican</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14901242"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've had this list hanging on my fridge for 9 years now! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br><a href="http://www.cta.org/community/family/home/99+Ways+to+Say+Very+Good.htm" target="_blank">http://www.cta.org/community/family/...+Very+Good.htm</a></div>
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I didn't read the list, but from what I did read, 75% of them I wouldn't use in my vocabulary with my children, because most of them are still rewarding end results instead of rewarding efforts.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14901164"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">, "I like the flower and butterfly over here."</div>
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If you express praise over a particular part of the work, aren't you making it more likely that the next time DD or DS draws a picture, that they will include a flower or a butterfly? Mommy likes flowers and butterflies, so that's what I am going to draw. It may stifle their creativity to think of something different to draw next time.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kivgaen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14906548"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If you express praise over a particular part of the work, aren't you making it more likely that the next time DD or DS draws a picture, that they will include a flower or a butterfly? Mommy likes flowers and butterflies, so that's what I am going to draw. It may stifle their creativity to think of something different to draw next time.</div>
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It hasn't for my dd, but if it did I would certainly stop doing that and do something else.
 
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