you did it!

I've been thinking a lot about praise being the flipside of punishment. I know I've mentioned before that we don't punish. Perhaps I'll post a detailed reasoning sometime. But for now I'm thinking about praise. We try not to praise. Sounds weird, huh? We don't believe in using emotional manipulation, which is one of the reasons we don't punish. We don't use rewards, praise, or punishment to elicit behavior.

As a matter of clarification, I will say to Violet that I really like it when she does such and such. It is an honest statement of appreciation, or a celebration of her accomplishment. What we don't do is use praise as a way to elicit "desired behavior". In other words, we don't use our approval or disapproval of her as a parenting tool. The occasional "good girl" pops out. Which makes me cringe. She's a "good girl" whether she's doing what I want or not.

I met a little girl once who was a praise junkie. She would constantly tell you about her accomplisments, vying desperately for your praise. She had zero self-satisfaction and could only really feel good about what she had done if someone else placed their value judgement on it. When you give kids a "good boy/girl" every time they sneeze, how are they to develop a real sense of accomplisment?

You see this at the park. Wow, you're such a good slider! It's gravity, people. If the child had been previously nervous about sliding and conquered that fear, you could acknowledge that. Like, "Jane, you decided to slide. I'll bet you feel good about that!" Allowing the child to revel in what THEY accomplished, rather than being limited to what YOU think of what they did.

It is my desire that my children learn to do what is right for the right reasons. Not because someone may approve or disapprove, or because they'll be punished if they don't. I want them to pursue what interests them with no concern for what others may think of it. It's a complicated and difficult road to navigate, but I'm feeling my way along.

All this to say Violet has started saying "YOU DID IT!" everytime she finishes something she set out to do.

4 rubber neckers:

Anonymous said...

...another great post. =)

i do agree with your tactics, makes perfect sense to me. i've always kept these things in mind when hailey does something that pleases me. i do say good girl, A LOT. it totally rolls off of the tongue. what i don't do is tell her how smart she is. i say, "you tried so hard, didn't you? she's very used to hearing me say that. i think it makes her realize that she's NOT just "smart" by luck but by the fact that you have to try to do things and have determination.

are ya pickin' up what i'm puttin' down?

sweetviolet said...

I like that! I feel like that post was weird and rambling, but I'm glad you liked it. But that "good girl" thing...is it ingrained in the parent psyche? Sometimes it just flies out with little to no control on my part.

Melliferous Pants said...

I agree with you 100%. I can't wait until I have kids of my own so I can put my thoughts on parenting into action. I cringe when I hear my co-workers talking about how much they spank their kids, or that their kids flat out to refuse to pick up after themselves so they don't make them.

Ann Marie said...

We were at a bbq the other day and my friends sister was there with her child and she was talking about what a little "#@$%" he was, and then his dad was telling him he was going to get his spanking soon, because he hadn't had a spanking yet today. I almost cried!! he is the boy I used to baby-sit that would hit hayden!!!!

I had to get away, and later on in the bbq hayden and the boy were playing so great together, then they were walking around holding hands like they were best friends. I just felt so sorry for him.

I loved this post. I always love hearing your thoughts and ideas. I say good girl and boy tons! I never even thought about it, but I started saying "you did it" a couple of days ago, and that is easy to integrate too.


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