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Here are a few I use<br><br>
1) Praising effort -- Wow, you really thought hard about what to include in that essay!<br><br>
2) Praising the values behind the action -- I really admired the way you thought about what your Grandma would like when making that card for her. You've included so many of her favorite things!<br><br>
3) Making a comment that shows that you really paid attention to what they've done. "You used every single block in the block corner, what a complicated building. Tell me what you were thinking when you built it!" or "Hmmm, you used such bright colors here in the front, but you colored more gently in the background -- it really looks like that some days, especially in the morning before the fog drifts away". I think this is the difference between "You balanced really well on the beam." and "The transition from your round off to your handspring was soo smooth, I can tell you've really been practicing that move.". The second carries the message that their performance captivated you and you absorbed every minute of it.<br><br>
4) Making a connection to their feelings. "I can tell how proud you feel from the smile on your face!" or "A blue ribbon, exactly what you were aiming for". (if they told you on the way in, I hope I win a blue ribbon).<br><br>
Having said that, if I want my child to do a specific task, and he does it, I don't have a problem with "good job" or another comment that implies "yes, that's what I wanted". If I want my child to clear his plate after dinner, and one day he does it without reminders, then I'm going to let him know that I like that. I am going to make a judgement call. I'm not worried about increasing his effort or investment in plate clearing. I'm not worried that I'll stifle his creativity and that from now on he'll clear his plate exactly the same way every time. Similarly in the classroom, if it's a task with a clear right and wrong, I'll give feedback that they did in fact do it the right way (e.g. "Thanks for putting your coat away before you came to circle. Or "You remembered to check the sign for every problem. Good job!"). I try and vary what I say so it's not a broken record of "good job", "good job", but I do give feedback that confirms that they met my expectation.
 

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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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But then if you don't express admiration for some part of it...then are they not just as likely to think "gee, I guess mom doesn't like my pictures...I don't think I will make any more"
 

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For my own kids I usually say Right on! or That is too cool! or Awesome or You totally Rock! Woo-hoo! or Yes! Give high 5's etc...<br><br>
For my little guys (daycare kids) I usually put on a huge show as in " OH. MY. GOSH. THAT IS THE MOST INCREDIBLE PICTURE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE! DID YOU DO THAT? NOOOOOO, YOU COULDN'T HAVE. WHAT!? YOU DID? YOU ARE SO AWESOME!! at which point they'll usually hold up another one or someone else will, then it's "WHAT?! ANOTHER ONE?! THIS IS CRAZY! YOU (GUYS) ARE THE WORLD'S BEST COLORERS (BUILDERS/CLEANER UPPERS, ETC) and so on....while I'm saying (yelling) this I am usually waving my arms around and such. ( I'm kind of over the top with kids : )<br>
They get a big kick out of it!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Momily</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14906616"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">(e.g. "Thanks for putting your coat away before you came to circle. Or "You remembered to check the sign for every problem. Good job!"</div>
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That's an example of a tag. It's a method recommended by Bailey in "Easy to Love, difficult to discipline" for occasional use. You're providing a judgment, but you're also explaining why you have that opinion.<br><br>
Her suggested pattern is observation, comment, optional tag. Such as "you picked up the blocks, now they'll be easy to find when we want to play with them, (good work!)" And observation is something that you could take a picture of with a camera.<br><br>
I get the heebie-jeebies when people say things like "good sharing" "good choice" and such. Keep feeling like they're going to say "good breathing" or "good blinking!" (Which would be totally okay to say to a child who had to work at those.)
 

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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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I think you underestimate children's imaginations and the reasons why they are drawn to art and creativity.<br><br>
My dd is almost 7 and she doesn't draw for me because she draws for herself. She is driven by a need to make marks on paper to express her feelings in words and pictures, copy what she sees around her and also record her flights of fantasy.<br><br>
The only reason she includes me is because she herself thinks her pictures are so cool that I too will think they are. I'm not validating her: I am sharing her joy.<br><br>
Have a look at Ken Robinson <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html" target="_blank">here</a>. It isn't about praise but it is about creativity.<br><br>
FTR I have never said good job in my life. It isn't something we say in the UK!
 

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Also, expressing what you like is a bit different than an overall definitive statement of what is good and bad. "I like . . ." isn't quite the same as "You are . . " There's a difference in subjectivity vs. objectivity. Kids dont' get that what you say is really just what you like or think. If you say something IS good then they take that literally. If you simply say you like something, they take that literally as well.
 

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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.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I'm sorry. My dad and yours would have gotten along GREAT! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><br><br>
Although I've tried to dial down the constant stream of "good job," I do tell my kids how proud I am of them, let them know they things I think they do exceptionally well, and I always let them know that their best is good enough.<br><br>
There are so many more complex issues with praise/feedback with our kids beyond what to say about preschool art work. As they get older and get grades that aren't always perfect or play in sports where they don't win, new issues come up. Is the message that we want to teach our kids that things are only worth doing if they do them well? Aren't some things worth doing even if you aren't the best? Don't we want to teach them to do their best even when the outcome isn't going to be as good as someone else's?<br><br>
I don't think a constant stream of praise is good for kids BUT:<br><ul><li>I tell my kids "thank you" for helping around the house. I really appreciate their help and I let them know it.<br></li>
<li>I tell them I am proud of their grades and the work they represent. We encourage them to get all A and B, but don't pay or reward or make any sort of difference between As and Bs. We don't want to encourage perfectionism. We'd really like them to enjoying learning for its own sake and not be too hung up on grades. We celebrate the end of term by going out to eat and talking about how well they did, specific projects they did, etc.<br></li>
<li>We don't make a big deal out of looks at our house, but I do tell my kids that they are beautiful, I like their hair, a particular<br>
color looks good on them, etc.</li>
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I don't want my kids to be praise junkies but I do tell them, in lots of different ways, how amazing and wonderful they are.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lonegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14906901"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But then if you don't express admiration for some part of it...then are they not just as likely to think "gee, I guess mom doesn't like my pictures...I don't think I will make any more"</div>
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Ultimately, it would be nice if they made pictures because they enjoy making pictures, not because mommy likes their pictures.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamazee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14907873"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also, expressing what you like is a bit different than an overall definitive statement of what is good and bad. "I like . . ." isn't quite the same as "You are . . " There's a difference in subjectivity vs. objectivity. Kids dont' get that what you say is really just what you like or think. If you say something IS good then they take that literally. If you simply say you like something, they take that literally as well.</div>
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agreed.<br><br>
The thing I'll add is that taking more time to really look at what've they done and say something specific about seems like a safe way to go. I think showing genuine euthusism and wonder at how amazing our kids are is good for them, but just ryhming off a phrase like "good job" doesn't really give them much.
 

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I like to show how what they did affected either how I feel about it ("I really love how you used those colors on your picture! I like the colors on the flowers the best because it makes the house stand out more, and I really like the house. What made you decide to color the roof that color?"), or how it would affect themselves ("Wow! Look at how clean your room is now! And now it will be easier to find things. Did you find anything interesting while you were cleaning? Maybe something you thought you lost?")<br><br>
I also like to say things like "Thank you very much for helping me carry my groceries inside (even if it's just a couple apples). Was it heavy to carry?", and maybe I'll offer to help them with something.<br><br>
But if you're looking to praise, saying "Thank you for your help! You did a great job helping me clean my floors today" then showing them the efforts of their work ("See how it's all shiny now?"), is a better way of saying "You're a great helper!", and is more rewarding to the child than being told they just did a "good job". Being a great helper might be true right now, but the next time they might not be such a great help at all, and "good job" is sort of (at least to me) like you're looking for them to do it FOR YOU.<br><br>
Slightly OT (but along the same method)... My daughter sometimes doesn't want to drink her water, and I'll sometimes ask "Can you please take a sip for me?"... And I CRINGE EVERY SINGLE TIME I say it. What do I care if she takes a sip for ME? What I DO care about is that she remains well hydrated. So I often have to stop and think about how I want to ask her to please drink the water. So I'll stop myself and ask instead "You must be thirsty. You haven't had much to drink today. Can you take just a small sip and then you can have some more later?"<br><br>
I hate "good job". I really do.
 

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I wanted to add a few things (since I already wrote a novella on the first page <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">).<br><br>
The first is that I didn't receive any praise as a child, but that wasn't what my parents did to damage my self-esteem. That part made a lot of sense because I did learn to assess my own efforts and results. They didn't show any appreciation for me or my work, though, which is where things went wrong for my self esteem. I show a lot of appreciation for my dc and their work without praise. Praise does not equal appreciation and neither does appreciation equal praise, imo.<br><br>
I find it degrading and emetic when others think they are being positive toward me when they exclaim praise phrases: "Wow, Good job on such and such!" Part of me is wondering why they seem so surprised (did they expect less?) and the other part wonders why they think I've invited them to evaluate what I've already deemed worth sharing as if I were needing their approval. I find that offensive.<br><br>
What is more offensive to me is and was as a child, when adults have praised my effort as though they know what effort I put in. Most of my life I have not had the resources to actually do anything to my potential, and in spite of that have accomplished much more than my 'peers' in schools and others aspects of my life, so when I am forced to work in very substandard and otherwise poor conditions and manage to still accomplish something within that framework, praise for my efforts is insulting.<br><br>
I realise this is very personal, but for me, I don't either have the need to exert much effort or if I wanted to, I don't have what I need to do so. I am a very competent person, and like my dc, if someone thinks that I must have put a lot of effort into something completely mundane to me, then I am insulted. Quietly, mind you, but still. I would much prefer that when I present something to someone, they choose to tell me that they appreciate it or what interests them about it, and if nothing, then say nothing, other than maybe 'thank you.'<br><br>
I submitted a business proposal a few years ago, and it was excruciating to sit through the meeting wherein everyone ooo'd and aaahh'd over how professional and excellent it was, along with a huge amount of surprise. I knew a few of the people personally and they went on for a week or two about how surprised they were that I could do something like that. I spent an afternoon putting together a proposal that incorporated years worth of learning and understanding. At that point, little effort was required because I had the competence to accomplish it with ease, like most things I do when I'm not hindered. And how had my abilities escaped their attention for so long? This was a very low expression of my abilities and yet there they were lauding me as though I'd completely outdone myself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><br><br>
I always think of this when I talk about my dc's efforts. I will talk about their efforts when I know what they've done and they've expressed their own evaluations of their efforts. I don't assume that they've worked really hard on something just because of what I see they've accomplished. What if they did it in a minute or two and put little effort in and I assume they are less capable by assuming a huge amount of effort?<br><br>
Sorry for the convolutions; I'm making a huge dinner and typing between trips to the stove, counter and fridge and talking with each of my dc while I also help dh deal with a frozen and clogged pipe... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I haven't read all the replies, but here goes:<br><br>
1.) Saying "Good job" is not *inherently wrong*. The problem is that it becomes meaningless and external if it's just tossed about. If you say "Good job!" at the end of a conversation with your child after you two discuss working hard, using creativity, perseverence and how they feel about it themselves, AND if you truly think it is exceptional, "Good job" is appropriate. Most of the time though, it is not used that way.<br><br>
2.) Things like "Well done!" is the same thing.<br><br>
3.) I often start out with some variation of "Look at THAT!" ("Look at that picture! Wow!"). It's now open for a two way street. I can make note of things I find particularly interesting ("All that purple!" or "Is this you in the house?") or he can tell me ("I made it this afternoon." or "Its you and Daddy.").
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lonegirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14906901"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But then if you don't express admiration for some part of it...then are they not just as likely to think "gee, I guess mom doesn't like my pictures...I don't think I will make any more"</div>
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I didn't say don't express admiration. I said admire their efforts. "Yes, I like your picture, I know you worked very hard on it!"
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>orangefoot</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14907725"><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 think you underestimate children's imaginations and the reasons why they are drawn to art and creativity.</div>
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My comments are only based on what my personal experience has been. My DS really struggled in JK and SK because his fine motor skills were late to develop. He got so frustrated with trying to stay "in the lines", or to draw pictures of things that were realistic looking, that he just stopped colouring all together, and it became a real battle for him in school.<br><br>
It wasn't until I started praising his efforts in his work that I started to see him relaxing a bit about the whole subject. When he knew that mommy and daddy would love his work if he worked really hard on it, no matter what it looked like in the end, then he was more accepting of the fact that he wasn't yet able to stay in the lines or to draw the objects accurately.<br><br>
I think perhaps you may be underestimating the damaging effects that praise of results can have on children of an impressionable age.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kivgaen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14910270"><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 didn't say don't express admiration. I said admire their efforts. "Yes, I like your picture, I know you worked very hard on it!"</div>
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i like how you put that!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kivgaen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14910278"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I think perhaps you may be underestimating the damaging effects that praise of results can have on children of an impressionable age.</div>
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I think the difference is that I have chosen not to send my 7yo to school.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>orangefoot</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14910667"><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 think the difference is that I have chosen not to send my 7yo to school.</div>
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Perhaps we are not so different. I chose to put mine in a different school <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>orangefoot</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14907725"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Have a look at Ken Robinson <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html" target="_blank">here</a>. It isn't about praise but it is about creativity.<br></div>
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this is great, really worth watching<br><br><b>orangefoot</b> did you read any of Ken Robinson's books?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>olien</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14905459"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Wow! this is quite a response.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"><br><br>
It was that post that prompted me to request that this thread be moved into GD so the parenting method hobbyists could enjoy it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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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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See part of the problem with "Good Job!" is that it can be the passive-agressive form of dismissing the child. Your father was agressive, he looked for something you didn't do instead of showing an interest in what you did do. What can happen with "good job" is that it can be used as a way to avoid having to be interested in what the child has done.<br><br>
It's not abusive, the way your father was, but it's also not ideal.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sapphire_chan</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14912658"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What can happen with "good job" is that it can be used as a way to avoid having to be interested in what the child has done.</div>
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It can also be a way of showing <i>too much</i> interest in what your child has done. Saying "good job" for every little thing gives the message that you're actually noticing whether or not the child does a "good job" coloring or going down the slide or putting a puzzle together, and that you care about it enough that you might be disappointed if she did a bad job. It can be nice to get some appreciation for a drawing you're pleased with, but sometimes it's nice to just draw for fun without worrying about whether anyone thinks you've done a good job.
 
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