7 Comments

  1. says:

    January 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    This sounds similar to Love & Logic, which I have read twice, and either need to read again, or I need to chuck it as not my style. But I do agree that we shouldn’t throw “good jobs” at our kids. It can often make them so eager to please us that they will do ANYTHING to get a good job, and that next thing may not be something we want them to do. I also try to give them constructive feedback like “You worked really hard on that!” or “You are making some interesting designs on your painting!” But we all fall into the old habits that have been programmed into us.

    The worst one that I admit my husband shamefully does, and even me when I’m desperate? Rewarding them for eating their dinner. Because you’re so desperate to get those green beans in their bellies!

    • Martha says:

      January 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      I’ve never read Love and Logic and I think there might be some similarities in the application, but I don’t think the theories are the same. I’ve heard some things about LL that make me a bit nauseous, but that could just be one person’s interpretation. I think it’s a bit more hard core than UP.

      And yeah, I’m definitely guilty of the occasional food bribery even though my philosophy surrounding food is the complete opposite! This parenting stuff is hard.

  2. says:

    January 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I’m going to be honest here and say that as much I started out trying to say things that Alfie Kohn would approve of, it just isn’t that easy when you have 3 kids in 4 years. In fact, Alfie Kohn has really begun to annoy me with his strong stance about the “perils of rewards”.

    As a grown up, when you do a good job at work you get a raise. My employers (and many others) do an annual employee recognition ceremony where people get plaques for years of service, and then we get fun gifts for being “most friendly”, “most punctual”, and stuff like that. Being told that you’re doing a good job hasn’t scarred me for life! In fact, it feels pretty good! The fact is that our whole society is based on a system of rewards (paychecks are a reward for work, right?) I kind of think it is a disservice to kids to not prepare them for that reality. Alfie Kohn worries that kids won’t do good things for the sake of doing good things anymore if we say “Good Job!” but I have never seen any evidence of that. In 11 years of parenting and 15 years of teaching, I’ve never seen a kid become damaged because someone praised them. Kids still do good things for the sake of doing good things, even if they’ve received some praise. By nature, humans are compassionate beings (although it doesn’t always seem like it. We must be or we’d have blown up the planet a long time ago!)

    Great post! (oops!!! did that praise damage your psyche? 😛 )

    • Martha says:

      January 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Ha! Funny. No, your post didn’t damage me. (I know you were joking.) But I do think that too much praise can be detrimental. I know it was for me, growing up. I think that various parenting methods speak to various parents for a variety of reasons. This one happens to resonate with me due to some of my own childhood issues. Doesn’t mean he’s right. But I’m sticking with it.

      However, I do agree that it’s not easy and I don’t take a hard line stance on it. If it’s detrimental, then I’ll pay for therapy, and keeping my fingers crossed that a little here and there will just feel good.

      • Martha says:

        January 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        Oh, and does it do a disservice not to prepare our kids for the realities of our current life? I don’t know if I agree with that so much. There are lots of things that have changed with each generation, perhaps this will be one that changes with the next one, and why do we as parents continue to believe that the world will remain the same when our children are adults, when it never does? But I suppose that’s a whole different post. 😉

        • says:

          January 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm

          I kind of like teaching kids how the world currently works, letting them see that their are options, and then letting them choose whether they want to buck the system or not. Being different can be really really hard (that’s the baggage I carry from my own past and how I spent my years in therapy 😉 I was not on the receiving end of too much praise. In fact, I can’t even imagine what that would be like. My world was one where nothing was ever good enough. I still haven’t gotten over that kind of thinking, either.

          Many of my students are labeled “failures” in traditional schools and have never received any praise at home (think Bender from “The Breakfast Club.” Coming from my background and working where I do, I guess I’ve never come across a person who’s received too much praise. Kids on the opposite end of that spectrum need some positivity, and that’s why I get so irked with Alfie Kohn. If you’ve never ever measured up to anyone’s standard–not even your own– a little bit of praise can help a whole lot.

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