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Praising or not praising children as a parenting issue


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I'm just discovering Naomi Aldort (Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves). I found an essay of hers as a chapter in Lorraine Curry's book Easy Homeschooling Techniques called "The Price of Praise" and I'm extremely intrigued by her assertion that praising children is actually a form of parental manipulation that undermines a child's confidence. Some quotes from the essay:

 

Contrary to popular belief, children feel more loved and self-assured when we don't praise them. They remain secure in our unconditional love and free to create their own lives. Instead of learning to live up to expectations, they learn to trust themselves.

 

and

 

The only "benefit" of praise is to the adult who gains temporary control over the child.

 

Has anyone read it and tried implementing its suggestions? I just put it on hold at the library but would love to know what the hive thinks.

 

Ms. Aldort also has a set of CDs called "Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves" that includes one CD on this topic as well as other CDs about education. Anyone listened to these? I'd love to know what you think. My library doesn't have these and they are bit pricey for my budget. I'd love to have a homeschooler's pov on them.

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I think this is a kind of one-size-fits-all mentality. There are some children who may not benefit from praise, but there are also some children for whom praise is like oxygen. It comes down to love languages. If a child's love language is words of affirmation, withholding praise would be like telling them you don't love them.

 

I think many parents over do it. But coming from a "words of affirmation" gal, encouragement can go a long way.

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I have read the book. Alfie Kohn is another author who writes about the downsides of praise.

 

We do not praise in certain ways. We don't ever say 'good girl' or 'good boy' for doing something. I believe their behavior in a moment has nothing to do with their 'goodness'. We don't do generic praise like 'good job'. I try to point out specifics, like "Look how straight you made that line!" I try my best not to make assessment of what they did equal its value. For instance, not "That's a really great picture!" (because I say so). But more along the lines of "I really love the purple part" (and only if I genuinely feel that way).

 

I will say that I have not come all the way to Naomi Aldort's way of thinking. I know I use coercion. I do. But I think she has some really helpful things to say. It was a good starter to a parenting style journey for me.

Edited by Tangerine
word inversion
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I think this is a kind of one-size-fits-all mentality. There are some children who may not benefit from praise, but there are also some children for whom praise is like oxygen. It comes down to love languages. If a child's love language is words of affirmation, withholding praise would be like telling them you don't love them.

 

I think many parents over do it. But coming from a "words of affirmation" gal, encouragement can go a long way.

 

I totally agree!!!!! One of my children constantly seeks out praise. If I withheld praise from her, I think she would feel very unloved and insecure. My son, OTOH, doesn't seem to care if he's praised or not. He doesn't seem to react at all if we directly praise him, but if I tell someone else within his hearing that he did something well, I can see him just light up out of the corner of my eye. Different kids, different needs.

 

Edited to add: My praise-seeking DD is my child who constantly exhibits high self-esteem. She will come right out and say, "I worked hard on this and I'm so proud of myself!" whereas DS will often tell me that he doesn't think he's very smart.

Edited by jujsky
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I have to disagree with the assertion that praise is harmful. Everybody likes a pat on the back when they do a good job. Now there is a difference between praising someone's effort or performance and evaluating a person's worth based on their efforts. I think it's good to tell a kid, "Hey, you did a great job." But it can be harmful to say, "Oh, what a good boy you are! You got all your math problems right!"

 

They should know that you love them and appreciate them no matter how well they perform. But they should also hear praise for making an extra effort and doing their best.

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Wow, that sounds like a really negative assertion.

 

I can praise my children for a job well done without attempting to manipulate them. If a job is well-done; if a child has demonstrated responsibility and diligence why shouldn't they be praised for that? I did this yesterday. I pulled my children aside and said, "Excellent work cleaning this room. You both showed real maturity by sticking with a job until it's completion. Thank you."

 

I think this is one of those "balance" parenting issues. How about just coming at it with some common sense?

 

If the only time you praise your child is when you are trying to manipulate them into a particular behavior then you have a problem. However if you never give your child positive encouragement and praise for a job well-done and good character shown you also have a problem.

 

BTW, I hate parenting books. Love your child. Model fear of the Lord and a love for Christ. Help them develop habits of self-discipline, responsibility, diligence, compassion, etc. Done. Why do we have to complicate it so much?

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you know, it's SO hard for me not to praise my youngest dd but I really have to get better at not doing it. If I do praise her, she will be SURE to sabotage what I just praised. It's so hard not to do it but I really need to get better at it. I just forget sometimes. She can take it in very small doses, but we can NEVER make a big deal out of anything.

 

I never heard of the book but must say, I agree with the view point.

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Another issue that is addressed is rewards and punishment. Much in the same vein as praise. We also do not use bribery, rewards, or punishment. The incentive for peaceful behavior is the resulting peaceful atmosphere in the house. I've read some radical parenting books, but Aldort's was one that I found inspiring and daunting, and sometimes found myself dizzied, thinking HOW would I implement this!??

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We do not praise in certain ways. We don't ever say 'good girl' or 'good boy' for doing something. I believe their behavior in a moment has nothing to do with their 'goodness'. We don't do generic praise like 'good job'. I try to point out specifics, like "Look how straight you made that line!" I try my best not to make assessment of what they did equal it's value. For instance, not "That's a really great picture!" (because I say so). But more along the lines of "I really love the purple part" (and only if I genuinely feel that way).

 

 

:iagree: However, I do say "that's being a good fellow" when he has been especially kind or thoughtful to a living being. I might change it from fellow to citizen here soon. I try to praise infrequently, and only for exceptional actions, and only sincerely.

 

I don't remember my folks praising me, but I recall "overhearing" honest comments between the two of them about me....calm matter-of-factual comments about good or bad behavior, so I knew I was being thought of.

 

I can't do that now because hubby is so hard of hearing and so out to lunch about what is going on around him it would be misunderstood. (I think there was so much insulting going on in his childhood, anything that is not laughter is taken as a frontal assault, and is responded to with noted defensiveness, and it takes upwards of 30 minutes to get it all sorted out, so a comment like "Kiddo is a little lax with his table manners" can take up an evening). So I say those things to my son. I want him to learn people can say things like that without raising the drawbridge and boiling the oil.

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:iagree: However, I do say "that's being a good fellow" when he has been especially kind or thoughtful to a living being. I might change it from fellow to citizen here soon. I try to praise infrequently, and only for exceptional actions, and only sincerely.

 

 

I think that's an adorable phrase. :)

I absolutely get what you're saying. One of the main points made about praise is that it be sincere. That it be a genuine bubbling over of emotion, rather than a calculated attempt to get them to repeat the behavior.

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Honestly, I agree with "Ethel" there is no one size fits all...I made the mistake of over doing praise with my oldest. It's kind of a running joke now in our family....he has HIGH to the sky self-esteem b/c I spent the earlier part of his life telling him how special and wonderful he was. FOr the longest he simply wouldn't believe anyone who told him when he was wrong or not behaving poorly. He honestly thought he was always wonderful and special. He is those things, of course, but sometimes he is a booger too!

 

We've stepped away from the overkill and offer praise when something is truly noteworthy. For one of my children, quality time and words of affirmation are very important, so I offer both to her, but only when genuine. Otherwise, we try to keep things very black and white, sometimes painfully honest, with appropriate explanations (the kids are older) so they understand what life will be like in the real world. I don't find adult life to be full of "good job!" "you're so special!" "well done" so I don't want them to be diluted to expect that later on...life is often not very romantic :)

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Another issue that is addressed is rewards and punishment. Much in the same vein as praise. We also do not use bribery, rewards, or punishment. The incentive for peaceful behavior is the resulting peaceful atmosphere in the house. I've read some radical parenting books, but Aldort's was one that I found inspiring and daunting, and sometimes found myself dizzied, thinking HOW would I implement this!??

I do "punish" or remove privilege at times, but I really agree with the bolded part of what you said. That's real life.

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I have read the book. Alfie Kohn is another author who writes about the downsides of praise.

 

We do not praise in certain ways. We don't ever say 'good girl' or 'good boy' for doing something. I believe their behavior in a moment has nothing to do with their 'goodness'. We don't do generic praise like 'good job'. I try to point out specifics, like "Look how straight you made that line!" I try my best not to make assessment of what they did equal its value. For instance, not "That's a really great picture!" (because I say so). But more along the lines of "I really love the purple part" (and only if I genuinely feel that way).

 

I will say that I have not come all the way to Naomi Aldort's way of thinking. I know I use coercion. I do. But I think she has some really helpful things to say. It was a good starter to a parenting style journey for me.

 

I agree as well, although I may say "good job" or "good work" when I'm acknowledging that DD7 worked hard on something overall.

 

I spent my first parenting years immersed in the Naomi Aldort/Alfie Kohn/non-coercion parenting culture. It took me a long time to realize that it's not for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with praise and positive feedback, when it's given authentically and is not a measure of someone's value or worth, the same way there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism given the same way. I make sure my kids know that I value them as they are at all times, but I also recognize hard work and achievements when they happen.

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Wow, that sounds like a really negative assertion.

 

I can praise my children for a job well done without attempting to manipulate them. If a job is well-done; if a child has demonstrated responsibility and diligence why shouldn't they be praised for that? I did this yesterday. I pulled my children aside and said, "Excellent work cleaning this room. You both showed real maturity by sticking with a job until it's completion. Thank you."

 

I think this is one of those "balance" parenting issues. How about just coming at it with some common sense?

 

If the only time you praise your child is when you are trying to manipulate them into a particular behavior then you have a problem. However if you never give your child positive encouragement and praise for a job well-done and good character shown you also have a problem.

 

BTW, I hate parenting books. Love your child. Model fear of the Lord and a love for Christ. Help them develop habits of self-discipline, responsibility, diligence, compassion, etc. Done. Why do we have to complicate it so much?

 

:iagree: I was going to type out an answer, but I can't say it better than this.

 

My theory: Extremes sell books. Balance raises healthy children.

Edited by angela in ohio
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Another issue that is addressed is rewards and punishment. Much in the same vein as praise. We also do not use bribery, rewards, or punishment. The incentive for peaceful behavior is the resulting peaceful atmosphere in the house. I've read some radical parenting books, but Aldort's was one that I found inspiring and daunting, and sometimes found myself dizzied, thinking HOW would I implement this!??

 

Yes, this is what I'm thinking. I just finished reading the rest of the essay and she explains breifly what methods to use (Validation, Gratitude, Feedback when requested, and unconditional love and appreciation) but I just kept thinking how unnatural those would be for me to implement. I've never been guilty of overpraising but I probably have used praise wrongly. I just think my kids would wonder if someone else had moved in and taken over my body or something. I can see why some praise would come off as patronizing and manipulative, but not all praise. This has been a new and challenging idea for me.

 

I agree as well, although I may say "good job" or "good work" when I'm acknowledging that DD7 worked hard on something overall.

 

I spent my first parenting years immersed in the Naomi Aldort/Alfie Kohn/non-coercion parenting culture. It took me a long time to realize that it's not for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with praise and positive feedback, when it's given authentically and is not a measure of someone's value or worth, the same way there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism given the same way. I make sure my kids know that I value them as they are at all times, but I also recognize hard work and achievements when they happen.

 

See, that's what I'm thinking. I'm also thinking my kids would wonder if I had lost my mind if I waited until they asked me explicitly to give feedback. If a child writes something and asks me to read it how do I respond without saying what I think? Do I just say, "Ok, I finished reading it"?

 

The essay has helped me to identify that there are different kinds of praise and some can be harmful, but I think other kinds of praise are benign or even helpful. Gotta think some more......

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I haven't read the resources in question, but we try to praise for character qualities rather giving the puffing up kind of praise. It seems to work pretty well for us.

 

And, yes, I do have one praise and attention seeker, who is also a sensory seeker. All of that can be quite exhausting. And while this one seeks praise, this is also the one likely to sabotage that exact thing right away. And this is ALSO the same one that deals with pride pretty seriously--it's either overweening pride or the "depths of despair" and self-loathing. This is just an overall challenging child.

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I think empty praise for the sake of boosting self-esteem is harmful. I believe that too often children hear this kind of praise, offered with the idea that we must somehow make them feel good about themselves, and that without it they cannot.

 

Genuine spontaneous praise is natural and normal. It's a way to acknowledge something another person has done. I thank my husband or say "Job well done" when he's done something kind, helpful, amazing. I do the same for my children. The difference lies, I think, in the goal. I don't say it to make them feel or do anything in particular. I'm just sharing my genuine positive reaction.

 

Cat

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Wow, that sounds like a really negative assertion.

 

I can praise my children for a job well done without attempting to manipulate them. If a job is well-done; if a child has demonstrated responsibility and diligence why shouldn't they be praised for that? I did this yesterday. I pulled my children aside and said, "Excellent work cleaning this room. You both showed real maturity by sticking with a job until it's completion. Thank you."

 

I think this is one of those "balance" parenting issues. How about just coming at it with some common sense?

 

If the only time you praise your child is when you are trying to manipulate them into a particular behavior then you have a problem. However if you never give your child positive encouragement and praise for a job well-done and good character shown you also have a problem.

 

BTW, I hate parenting books. Love your child. Model fear of the Lord and a love for Christ. Help them develop habits of self-discipline, responsibility, diligence, compassion, etc. Done. Why do we have to complicate it so much?

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

Praise is always manipulation? Stupidest thing I've ever heard. I agree it is ALL ABOUT BALANCE. The mom who said she praised too much - maybe it wasn't too much praise but too little of something else. I make sure my kids think that I think they are the best creatures on the planet. I wouldn't have it any other way. It has nothing to do with manipulation. It has to do with the fact that I adore them! But I also teach them all about life, principles, values and love. I say great job ALL THE TIME of course, when they do a great job. Who wants to analyze every. single. sentence. that comes out of their mouths in worry that it will be too much or too little of something or other for their kids. OMG. How not fun.

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I think it depends on your definition of praise. Telling a child that everything he does is great, when it is not, is lying. Looking for any excuse to lay on some "positivity" is fake and kids can see through that.

 

However, and this is a big however, holding back praise when it is earned/due can be detrimental. I know from experience. My parents, especially my father, believed in not praising kids for any reason. It got so that the only feedback I recieved was negative, so why should I bother to work hard or do anything more than the minimum necessary. I was the classic underacheiver. In fact my mother went out of the way to discount any praise I got from outsiders as well. "Well, they don't know you like I do." I never got pats on the head, no "good job", no "I'm proud of you." My father did finally start saying things like this to me and my brothers after we were grown, but my mother never has.

 

I feel sorry for my dd, it was very hard for me to know how to respond to her need for praise. Each successive kid has gotten a little more easy for me than the last, but it has been a deliberate effort.

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I agree as well, although I may say "good job" or "good work" when I'm acknowledging that DD7 worked hard on something overall.

 

I spent my first parenting years immersed in the Naomi Aldort/Alfie Kohn/non-coercion parenting culture. It took me a long time to realize that it's not for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with praise and positive feedback, when it's given authentically and is not a measure of someone's value or worth, the same way there's nothing wrong with constructive criticism given the same way. I make sure my kids know that I value them as they are at all times, but I also recognize hard work and achievements when they happen.

I have read the book. Alfie Kohn is another author who writes about the downsides of praise.

 

We do not praise in certain ways. We don't ever say 'good girl' or 'good boy' for doing something. I believe their behavior in a moment has nothing to do with their 'goodness'. We don't do generic praise like 'good job'. I try to point out specifics, like "Look how straight you made that line!" I try my best not to make assessment of what they did equal its value. For instance, not "That's a really great picture!" (because I say so). But more along the lines of "I really love the purple part" (and only if I genuinely feel that way).

 

I will say that I have not come all the way to Naomi Aldort's way of thinking. I know I use coercion. I do. But I think she has some really helpful things to say. It was a good starter to a parenting style journey for me.

 

 

 

I didn't spend my early parenting years immersed in the mindset, but I did study, think about and try parts on.

 

I'm not a fan of Kohn as an author OR what I know of him (his interaction with a published author friend of mine was less than impressive). I am absolutely not a fan of non coercive parenting as a theory or a culture.

 

However, I do believe we, as a culture, rely too heavily on the behavioral paradigm of praise/reward in parenting. Consequently, I use a minimum of each but without adopting wholeheartedly the idea that all praise = wrong or all consequences are suspect.

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I think to call praise "manipulation" is extreme. I agree with the people who are pointing out the difference between false praise for no reason and genuine praise for a job well done. And I do want my praise to alter their behavior, but I don't find that to be manipulation. I find it to be parenting. All consequences, whether negative or positive, have an impact on the likelihood of an action being repeated. When the action is good, whether it's kind words spoken or a good essay written, then I want to see that repeated. That's part of my job, to turn out responsible adults who make right choices. So, I will allow them to know that what they did/said/wrote, etc. is pleasing. Also, if what was done is not in keeping with our rules/beliefs/standards, etc. then I provide feedback that diminishes the likelihood of a repeat of the behavior, whether that's back-talking or a poorly written paper. So, to me, not so much manipulation, but training. I think even as adults, we seek things outside of ourselves when we do a job well. We all appreciate an "atta boy" occasionally. It helps us feel valued, and I don't think that is a bad thing. Even as adults, at some point we would lose internal motivation if we never saw external results. And with children, who can't always grasp the abstract, it certainly helps to make that more concrete. It leads them down the path to gradually gain more internal motivation than external. But to simply deny or withhold praise that is genuine doesn't make sense to me. It would be like refusing to cook for them, because we expect them to do it for themselves one day. It's a process. And I think most of us instinctively do it, without over-thinking it. Just my .02.

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I think to call praise "manipulation" is extreme. I agree with the people who are pointing out the difference between false praise for no reason and genuine praise for a job well done. And I do want my praise to alter their behavior, but I don't find that to be manipulation. I find it to be parenting. All consequences, whether negative or positive, have an impact on the likelihood of an action being repeated. When the action is good, whether it's kind words spoken or a good essay written, then I want to see that repeated. That's part of my job, to turn out responsible adults who make right choices. So, I will allow them to know that what they did/said/wrote, etc. is pleasing. Also, if what was done is not in keeping with our rules/beliefs/standards, etc. then I provide feedback that diminishes the likelihood of a repeat of the behavior, whether that's back-talking or a poorly written paper. So, to me, not so much manipulation, but training. I think even as adults, we seek things outside of ourselves when we do a job well. We all appreciate an "atta boy" occasionally. It helps us feel valued, and I don't think that is a bad thing. Even as adults, at some point we would lose internal motivation if we never saw external results. And with children, who can't always grasp the abstract, it certainly helps to make that more concrete. It leads them down the path to gradually gain more internal motivation than external. But to simply deny or withhold praise that is genuine doesn't make sense to me. It would be like refusing to cook for them, because we expect them to do it for themselves one day. It's a process. And I think most of us instinctively do it, without over-thinking it. Just my .02.

 

Well said. I wanted to post something along these lines but am too tired to organize my thoughts today. Thanks Amy!

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...she explains breifly what methods to use (Validation, Gratitude, Feedback when requested, and unconditional love and appreciation)

 

Kathleen, I also wonder (it's been awhile since I read those books, and I'm not sure if I finished Aldort's) what she considers validation? What would validation be if not praise? A simple "You did it!"?

 

I've always thought that kids instinctively know what we're feeling when we say things like that, so even if you never give a child praise, but instead you say a positive and enthusiastic "You finished your essay!" it's going to light their fire just as much as praise does. I've never been entirely sure just what the the difference is. For example, when we're reading together and I ask DD7 a question and she gives me a correct and insightful answer, I'll often say something like, "Exactly! You're exactly right." She glows and says, "I love it when you say that." (:001_wub:) I don't really see that as much different from saying, "Great answer, spot on!"

 

Maybe there's a subtlety that I'm missing. However, I'll also admit that I'm a bit biased against all this because the community I was previously in that espoused these theories strongly was also of the radical unschooling, unparenting, organize-your-lives-around-your-kids'-every-whim-and-inconvenience-those-around-you-too strain of parenting. I have a hard time separating the two now :(

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I recently read the book Nurture Shock and it talked a bit about praise. One thing they have really studied is the affect of praise on student performance. The biggest take-away is that if you praise a student's intelligence (i.e. "you are so smart!") they tend to take fewer risks, choose easier assignments and generally become afraid of failing (they don't want anyone to ever think that they aren't, in fact, very smart). If you praise their perseverance and work (i.e. "wow, you really worked hard on that project!") they tend to gain confidence, attempt more difficult assignments and generally see themselves as better students.

 

So, praise can be both good and bad, depending on the way it's given and the message you're sending with your words. Best to stick to praising actions rather than attributes.

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Isn't childrearing one long effort to shape a child into a happy, hardworking, functioning adult? And my immediate response to the idea that manipulating children is wrong is-maybe I have a narrower definition of manipulation than this author, but encouraging the development of good habits, good behavior and work ethic does involve some manipulation. Otherwise, are we just hoping that love alone will accomplish everything in the self-discipline department? My experience belies this-unconditional love is incredibly important, but feedback matters too.

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Having grown up in a culture where it was not only considered wrong for parents to praise but wrong for them to accept praise from others about their children, I do make a point of giving my children well-deserved praise. I don't praise them for every little thing (like I've noticed some public school programs do) - there are some things that are expected and I don't blink when they do what they are supposed to do. But I do praise when they do something that is "above and beyond".

 

I remember the startled looks when I took my parents to tour my first job at an engineering firm. The president of the company came out to tell my parents what a good valued employee I was, and instead of thanking him graciously, they did the Asian thing of "Oh, no, I'm sure you don't mean our daughter. . ." I was used to it but I was hurt underneath that they couldn't just be openly pleased with me sometimes.

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I think extremes are plain wrong. I've heard some parents praise their kids for simply breathing it seems, and known others that couldn't praise their children if they saved a dozen orphan babies from a burning building.

 

Its about balance. My kids do something right, and they're going to hear me tell them. Same as when they do something inappropriate, they're going to hear about that too.

 

For the most part, I think society is too much into 'feel good' crap when it comes to kids. Everyone should get an award at school, which simply devalues those that genuinely achieve something worthy of an award...or nobody gets any recognition, so as not to risk another child feeling badly about themselves. Its ridiculous!

 

I also (and this is usually where I get shot at) don't understand or agree about bribing children to do the basic stuff. For example, I knew one mom that rewarded her son with Lego stuff for going off to school without tantrums! And more Legos if he behaved properly at school! To me, that's nuts. That's basic expectation, and a child shouldn't need bribing to behave himself. The fact that he COULD behave when rewarded, to me, says that his negative behaviour is a choice, and obviously something he has control over...whereas the mom was glowing that she'd figured out something that worked to make him behave. Ack!

 

Don't get me wrong, I understand there are absolutely somethings worth rewarding, and I do it in my own home. Diva goes above and beyond on something, and I'll take her out, or get her a little something as a thank you. Its never held out as a carrot, it doesn't happen every single time (can't afford it, lol) so its not that she does things in order to get a reward, but she does still get rewarded, if that makes sense.

 

I just don't get the bribery thing. :001_huh:

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Having grown up in a culture where it was not only considered wrong for parents to praise but wrong for them to accept praise from others about their children, I do make a point of giving my children well-deserved praise. I don't praise them for every little thing (like I've noticed some public school programs do) - there are some things that are expected and I don't blink when they do what they are supposed to do. But I do praise when they do something that is "above and beyond".

 

I remember the startled looks when I took my parents to tour my first job at an engineering firm. The president of the company came out to tell my parents what a good valued employee I was, and instead of thanking him graciously, they did the Asian thing of "Oh, no, I'm sure you don't mean our daughter. . ." I was used to it but I was hurt underneath that they couldn't just be openly pleased with me sometimes.

 

That's interesting, and I'm glad you posted it.

 

I grew up in that culture, and to me it's just very normal. I know that my parents are proud of me, regardless of how they act in public (and they would react exactl as you described your parents doing). I know what our culture values, and how it displays that value so I don't take it personally at all. I've found myself doing the same with my own kids, not intending to but just falling into the pattern.

 

It wasn't until a recent conversation with my sister that I realized she DID take it more personally when our parents fell into the cultural line. She wasn't upset, but felt very hurt by some of the more modest reactions they displayed when others praised her publically (she's very accomplished in her studies and in her field). Ironically, she will defer praise herself when it's directed to her. Anyhow, our conversation encouraged me to be more cognizant of how I react when others comment on my kids. Your post is a good reminder, too.

 

I share my kids' enthusiasm and acknowledge their accomplishments, but I won't blow smoke up their butts. I think praise should be infrequent enough that it is meaningful and heartfelt for all parties (and of course, "infrequent enough" would mean different things to different people's needs.) I don't think all praise is bad, but I think anything forced or disingenuous is - even with the best of intentions.

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Dh and I were just talking about this... he coaches our ds9's soccer team, and I coach our ds4's soccer team.

 

For my team of 4-yr-old's, I use plenty of encouragement. I am constantly praising them for both what I see them doing right, but sometimes also for what I want to see them do right. "Joey" may be picking flowers out on the field, and a simple "Joey, you are doing a great job keeping your eye on the ball... keep it up!" works so much better to get him back on task than "Joey, keep your eye on the ball!". It works for my team, so I do it :lol:... yep, it's manipulation, but it is getting the kids doing the right thing in a positive way, and soon those skills will become habits and they won't need it as much.

 

On the other hand, when Dh is coaching, that wouldn't fly... the kids are wise enough to know when the praise is warranted or not. A comment like that would not mean a thing to them, but a specific one that is really deserving really gets them pumped up. At this age, most of his kids don't do it for the praise, they really want to do their best whether mom & dad are looking or not. The praise for these kids is definitely an added bonus, but not manipulation... it is what they have earned.

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If a child's love language is words of affirmation, withholding praise would be like telling them you don't love them.

 

From what I've read about the "problems with praise", it is not giving vs. withholding praise. The kind of praise given to a child can undermine their confidence. Blanket "good job" or "you're so smart" type of praise can have a reverse effect. Either a child doesn't really know what in particular they did was a good job or a child starts to crave getting labeled as smart, for instance. When they find themselves struggling with a difficult problem (like in math or something), they fear failing to figure it out easily--like a smart person "should"--and thus fear losing the label of "smart". So, they just don't try to figure the problem out--if they don't try they won't lose the label.

 

Being specific with praise helps head this off: "I really like how you worked to figure the problem out" (praising effort), "that was an inventive solution", "you put a lot of thought into answering this", "I like your color choices", etc.

 

Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford I think, has done a lot of research on this. Here's an article she wrote: http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/spring99/PraiseSpring99.pdf

 

There was an interesting article in the New York Times magazine, too, about this issue: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

 

I was told as a kid, "You did a great job watering the plants!" (I was 12.) And, other such blanket, silly praise for everything in an effort to give me good self-esteem. What ended up happening was that I started to doubt all that praise as being empty and undeserved and I also didn't try as hard as I could have because I was purportedly "brilliant". :tongue_smilie:

 

Great discussion topic! Even with my perspective on being cautious with how I praise, I love hearing people's ideas for clever ways to approach this issue!

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I think it's about being honest with my children. I am honest about their faults and weaknesses, I should be honest about their strengths. I don't do a lot of "good boy" but I do a lot, "Nice job, you were really diligent on that." Because they were diligent so I should say something about it. If they weren't diligent, I'd say, " I don't think you are working hard and I need you to step it up." If my ds has worked long and hard on a piano piece, I would tell him so and when the piece obviously needs work I tell him that.

 

I like my dh to notice when the house is clean and I appreciate it when he tells me so or when I make an extra effort to have a nice dinner and he praises the hard work. I like it and it makes me feel good. To not praise someone seems way off balance and a little crazy.

 

Are you going to stop any sort of criticism - even constructive - if you stop praising? Seems like the opposite side of the same coin of parenting to me.

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I just assume if I like praise (as in, the dinner was delicious, thank you), and it doesn't make me feel like my husband's love is conditional, then my children will feel the same way. There are times my husband thanks God for me when he's thanking God for the food -- something like "thank you for a wonderful wife who made this wonderful food," and he says it before he eats it.

 

I can see a problem if you only praise children for success/results rather than effort (which I can be guilty of), but if there's a mix of it, I see it as good.

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If a child's love language is words of affirmation, withholding praise would be like telling them you don't love them.

 

I think many parents over do it. But coming from a "words of affirmation" gal, encouragement can go a long way.

 

:iagree: And, in fact, I think strictly withholding any praise is cold and cruel. Everyone needs to know they have done something worthwhile and valuable sometimes.

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All people like to know when their doing a good or exceptional job. I also offer critical advice when I'm not pleased with their behavior or performance on a task or job. I'm an adult and in a better position offer feedback, both positive and negative, based on experience and knowlege.

 

I'm not looking to manipulate; I'm looking to instruct, and that's my job.

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I recently read the book Nurture Shock and it talked a bit about praise. One thing they have really studied is the affect of praise on student performance. The biggest take-away is that if you praise a student's intelligence (i.e. "you are so smart!") they tend to take fewer risks, choose easier assignments and generally become afraid of failing (they don't want anyone to ever think that they aren't, in fact, very smart). If you praise their perseverance and work (i.e. "wow, you really worked hard on that project!") they tend to gain confidence, attempt more difficult assignments and generally see themselves as better students.

 

So, praise can be both good and bad, depending on the way it's given and the message you're sending with your words. Best to stick to praising actions rather than attributes.

:iagree::iagree:

 

I've read articles like that, and they match both my professional experience and my personal faith. I have to reject the premise that "all praise is unhealthy and manipulative" both on the basis of that professional experience and as a matter of my Christian faith.

 

I've seen praise work. I used to work with mentally-emotionally handicapped teens, and we were very specific in how we used praise, and worked very hard with what sort of consequences and attention we gave to negative behavior. To me, it's 2 sides of the same coin, the coin being: "How do my children most effectively get my attention?" Kids want us. They want our attention & reactions. If they can get our approval, great, but if not they'll take whatever we give them. That facility used a book called Transforming the Difficult Child, with some really wonderful effect. The book is written specifically with kids with ADHD & ADD in mind, but I find that it's useful working with all kids, and much of it is also useful when dealing with difficult adults as well. There's an excerpt online. Here's a bit from it:

 

Our cultural ways of saying "Thank you" and "Good job" pale in comparison to the sharper tones we display even in simple redirections such as "Leave your brother alone" or stronger reminders such as "Get your shoes on, the bus will be here in two minutes." As a culture, we seem to amp up the "nos" in contrast to the "yeses."

Traditional parenting approaches do not lend themselves to showing much excitement for positive behaviors or smaller successes. Our normal tendency is to deliver a relatively neutral level of acknowledgement.However, as a culture, we jump all over every level of failure. Non-success captivates us and draws our focused attention and our bigger reactions.

Children certainly have what amounts to built-in energy detectors. They can easily sense when we become more animated. And their impressions stay on file. If you need an image to help hone in on just how judicious children can be in weighing when and how "more can be had," just watch the next time your child splits hairs over which serving of dessert is bigger.

As an illustration, if a child perceives that mom or dad gives a bigger reaction to poor grades or annoying behavior, the child absorbs and measures this experience, and other like experiences, as part of her impression of the world and of how we operate.Similarly, if a child sees that doing the chores, or doing homework, or having a good attitude or not breaking the rules nets less response, that child begins forming an operational view of reality. In light of experiences like these, the sensitive, needy or intense child can easily become convinced that the "payoff" for not doing what a parent wants is much greater than the "payoff" for complying or behaving nicely.

 

We worked hard to make the "payoffs" greater for good behavior and got fantastic results. Ours was a locked facility, the last stop before either juvenile detention or the psych ward. We sent more than 90% of our kids to a less restrictive setting when they were done with us. They hired a behavior specialist about a year before I quite, and she loved this book, and it was really making a difference for our kids.

 

The other book that I really like is called "Christlike Parenting." It takes good, Biblical doctrine, and solid behavior research and puts them together in a very accessible way. Mr. Latham, the author, gives 5 specific DOs for praise:

 

1. Praise must be deserved. ...

2. Praise must be given sincerely. ...

3. Praise should be given casually and briefly. As I noted earlier, it is typically not necessary to use more than a dozen words or to take more than 5 seconds to say them. My observations reveal that if parents talk more than 7 seconds, children quit listening.

4. Praise should be delivered intermittently. That means randomly, not continually. The intermittent schedule of reinforcement is the most powerful schedule of reinforcement. ...

5. Praise should occasionally and fittingly go beyond the acknowledgment of compliance to the level of values. (Page 142-143)

 

He also talks about how we see praise used in scripture. Paul talks about praisworthy things (Phil 4:8), the Psalmist says, "praise is comely for the upright," (Ps. 33:1, 147:1), and my personal favorite is from the parables of the Lord, "Well done thou good and faithful servant..." (Matt 25:21). I believe that when we do right the Lord blesses us for it, every single time, though those blessings are not always immediately obvious, nor are they always immediate. I try to remember that in my own parenting.

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... what to do instead of praise.

 

That's an important part of the whole picture of this kind of advice.

 

The suggestion that accompanies reducing praise is to substitute with factual statements/observations. So, for instance, instead of saying, "Wow, what a great picture!" one might say, "I see a lot of green tones in that picture." That's a neutral statement from a praise standpoint, but it does convey actual attentiveness better than the praise would have.

 

DD attended a parent coop preschool that fostered this approach, and it was very difficult for me at first, but I tried it and came to see that the attentiveness was often a better and more encouraging gift than the praise would have been. It has to do with truthfulness and intention. Generic praise is sometimes the lazy way out of really engaging with the child's work. Observations show that the parent has truly engaged with the material.

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This is also discussed in Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate M.D., and there are some helpful ideas (especially for wiggly boys, but not only!) in Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen. Of all of Alfie Kohn's books, I found Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes to be quite interesting -- I'd recommend it over his parenting/school stuff, as he discusses praise in various areas of life, including in workplace situations, not just involving children. [i'm giving all these books because it's not only in one, and you may be able to find some of these at your library or buy for cheaper than the first item mentioned.]

 

As previously mentioned, in NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, the authors (Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman) discuss a study of middle school students and how, given the GLUT of praise that's common from teachers, a student who is given constructive criticism takes away from that that s/he has potential to improve, while a student who is showered with praise internalizes it as "that's the best you can do, so let's just be happy about it" (in other words, you're dumb). This is what students themselves said.

 

I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the huge amounts of praise that some parents dish out -- everything is "good job!" and "good walking!" and "good sliding!" and "good sharing!", all said in a saccharine voice. To me, ideally, that sort of stuff would just not be necessary at least most of the time, because it would be better to cultivate in the child a sense of their own understanding of what is right/wrong to do without the idea that I have to be standing by at every step to give feedback. It's a tricky balance; I think that's why some people overdo it.

 

The alternative is thanking someone sincerely (not a "thank you" that is praise/punishment in disguise). The way you would talk to your friend. The way you would thank her for bringing you a pie, or helping you with your taxes, or whatever. Sincerely talking to someone.

 

However, I think there is an important distinction between interacting with your friends and your children (by which I mean, one's offspring, especially those who are not yet adults), in that one is charged with shaping their character, and it is not yet formed. I think it is important to work on guiding them to good character/mindset/behavior, which one does really do with other adults, in most situations.

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but I agree with Daisy and disagree with the author of this book. I do praise my children when I think it's deserved, and I'm not trying to manipulate anyone. Maybe the author has praise confused with flattery?

 

I like to hear "Good job" once in awhile, and I like to know that I'm appreciated. Therefore, I do the same for my kids, my husband, my friends and other family. Do unto others, and all that.

 

I also correct my children when they are wrong, and I point out things they need to work on, while trying not to nitpick at little things that don't matter. I also apologize when I'm wrong and ask for forgiveness when I'm wrong.

 

Just my 2 coppers. :)

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My mother recently told me "I was always proud of your good grades." I was like, "Wow! Really? Cuz I never knew that growing up." Suffice it to say, she was not big on praise (nor were my grandparents).

 

As an adult, I recognize in myself a need for outward validation of my achievements. Is this due to lack of praise as a child? Or just some part of my innate personality? I don't know. But what I do know is, it sure would have felt good to get some praise growing up.

 

I do tell my children, "you are a good boy/girl" sometimes followed by a "now I expect you to act like it." They get high fives, hugs, and words of affirmation when they've done a good job. When I see a behavior I want to reinforce, I praise that behavior. Is it manipulation? Sure it is. But, isn't that what parenting is all about, to a certain extent? Call it what you will (molding, shaping, training) manipulation is the name of the parenting game.

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I think this is a kind of one-size-fits-all mentality. There are some children who may not benefit from praise, but there are also some children for whom praise is like oxygen. It comes down to love languages. If a child's love language is words of affirmation, withholding praise would be like telling them you don't love them.

 

I think many parents over do it. But coming from a "words of affirmation" gal, encouragement can go a long way.

 

:iagree: I'm a words of affirmation gal myself. I don't like "empty praise" but acknowledgment of a job well done is uplifting. I really think everyone wants to be recognized for their efforts. I served on a recognition committee in my last job and it was always fun to write up specifics about a particular person and encourage them in front of all their co-workers.

 

As a parent I tend to be very honest with my ds, I'll tell him if I don't think he's performing up to his potential. I also praise specific things. I read something recently that inspired me to tell ds something positive he had done that day. Dh and I both share something before he goes to bed. He had been starting to get some negative self-speak. Since we started I've noticed him having a better demeanor.

 

:iagree: I was going to type out an answer, but I can't say it better than this.

 

My theory: Extremes sell books. Balance raises healthy children.

 

:iagree:I grew up with a damaging low self-esteem. I don't remember ever being encouraged by my parents or being told good things about myself. I wasn't even able to accept praise from the teachers that tried. I remember one incident when the teacher tried to praise something and I thought she was talking about someone else, I didn't even believe her comments.

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I think words of affirmation are good.

 

Where praise is manipulative, to me, is in noticing WHAT things are praised vs. what things aren't. This is very subtle.

 

My parents praised me, not for every little thing but they gave praise. But they praised for grades, and other things they liked that I did. So then I'd notice what they thought I was good at, and what I wasn't, and try to please. I became aware at some point that I was doing this. I wanted to draw better, but I was never praised for any artistic things I did. I remember working very hard on something one time and feeling very good about it, and showing my parents and they did not go on about it the way they would do about my grades, "you're so smart", etc. So I got the idea I would never be any good with the visual arts. I'm sure they did not realize this and seemed like fairly typical parents at the time. As parents we have to be careful about what we choose to say, and what we focus on.

 

Naomi Aldort is a radical unschooler. I thought her book was interesting, but when I delved further into her websites online, I discovered she is coming from a completely different understanding of the world than I am, being a Christian. She is very New Age, for lack of a better term--nothing is black and white, we are all perfect just the way we are, especially children, that kind of thing.

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Guest janainaz

I praise my kids all the time. However, when it comes to school and certain behavior related things, I am careful at how I do it. In the same regard, I try to be careful at how I correct. I don't want my kids to associate my acceptance of them with what they do, but rather who they are. I want them to know in their core that I think they are great and worthy just because they are mine. I don't want them to grow up and feel the need to seek out acceptance and affirmation, but to have an honest desire to do their best and to do what is right for the right reasons.

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At one time we attended a co-op that held similar beliefs about praise as Aldort and Kohn. We were even required to attend a short class on how to talk to the kids as they did their work, so as not to inadvertently spoil their love of learning by praising. The hilarious thing was, the Director of the co-op LOVED praise for her program and was constantly asking things like, "Don't you just looovvee the co-op? Isn't it the BEST place for kids?" She was a praise seeker, LOL.

 

I believe in praise for a job well done or for showing positive character. I do not believe in the empty "self-esteem" movement that tells kids they are special because green is their favorite color. I know I feel wonderful when receiving praise for the right reason, why wouldn't children feel the same way?

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I recently read the book Nurture Shock and it talked a bit about praise. One thing they have really studied is the affect of praise on student performance. The biggest take-away is that if you praise a student's intelligence (i.e. "you are so smart!") they tend to take fewer risks, choose easier assignments and generally become afraid of failing (they don't want anyone to ever think that they aren't, in fact, very smart). If you praise their perseverance and work (i.e. "wow, you really worked hard on that project!") they tend to gain confidence, attempt more difficult assignments and generally see themselves as better students.

 

So, praise can be both good and bad, depending on the way it's given and the message you're sending with your words. Best to stick to praising actions rather than attributes.

 

You know, I think this is what happened to me. I always excelled academically as well as on standardized tests, but I lacked and still lack confidence. This is why the first quote I mentioned in my op really struck a chord with me. My parents showed much approval for those high grades and test scores but I felt instinctively (and still do) that I don't really know anything except how to get good grades and test scores (not highly marketable skills, btw :glare:). As a matter of fact, I was so insecure even after graduation from college with honors (B.S. in Elementary Education) that I did not sign up for the big "interview day" the college held annually because I did not feel at all ready to take on a classroom all by myself. I second-guess every decision I make and love it when others take the lead with projects. I don't mind helping out - I just mind deciding what to do. I lack confidence BIG time!!

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

I've read articles like that, and they match both my professional experience and my personal faith. I have to reject the premise that "all praise is unhealthy and manipulative" both on the basis of that professional experience and as a matter of my Christian faith.

 

I've seen praise work. I used to work with mentally-emotionally handicapped teens, and we were very specific in how we used praise, and worked very hard with what sort of consequences and attention we gave to negative behavior. To me, it's 2 sides of the same coin, the coin being: "How do my children most effectively get my attention?" Kids want us. They want our attention & reactions. If they can get our approval, great, but if not they'll take whatever we give them. That facility used a book called Transforming the Difficult Child, with some really wonderful effect. The book is written specifically with kids with ADHD & ADD in mind, but I find that it's useful working with all kids, and much of it is also useful when dealing with difficult adults as well.

 

The other book that I really like is called "Christlike Parenting." It takes good, Biblical doctrine, and solid behavior research and puts them together in a very accessible way. Mr. Latham, the author, gives 5 specific DOs for praise:

 

1. Praise must be deserved. ...

2. Praise must be given sincerely. ...

3. Praise should be given casually and briefly. As I noted earlier, it is typically not necessary to use more than a dozen words or to take more than 5 seconds to say them. My observations reveal that if parents talk more than 7 seconds, children quit listening.

4. Praise should be delivered intermittently. That means randomly, not continually. The intermittent schedule of reinforcement is the most powerful schedule of reinforcement. ...

5. Praise should occasionally and fittingly go beyond the acknowledgment of compliance to the level of values. (Page 142-143)

 

He also talks about how we see praise used in scripture. Paul talks about praisworthy things (Phil 4:8), the Psalmist says, "praise is comely for the upright," (Ps. 33:1, 147:1), and my personal favorite is from the parables of the Lord, "Well done thou good and faithful servant..." (Matt 25:21). I believe that when we do right the Lord blesses us for it, every single time, though those blessings are not always immediately obvious, nor are they always immediate. I try to remember that in my own parenting.

 

Thanks for the book recs - I was able to find the first at my library and will put the other on my wishlist at amazon:). I thought about the fact that the Bible talks about praise quite a bit, in many different contexts so was trying to consider how Aldort's advice lines up with that (I realize she wasn't concerned with that, but I am). Those five points were very helpful. I can confirm that children stop listening after you speak for more than 7 seconds, too.:D

 

... what to do instead of praise.

 

That's an important part of the whole picture of this kind of advice.

 

The suggestion that accompanies reducing praise is to substitute with factual statements/observations. So, for instance, instead of saying, "Wow, what a great picture!" one might say, "I see a lot of green tones in that picture." That's a neutral statement from a praise standpoint, but it does convey actual attentiveness better than the praise would have.

 

DD attended a parent coop preschool that fostered this approach, and it was very difficult for me at first, but I tried it and came to see that the attentiveness was often a better and more encouraging gift than the praise would have been. It has to do with truthfulness and intention. Generic praise is sometimes the lazy way out of really engaging with the child's work. Observations show that the parent has truly engaged with the material.

 

This is what I think Aldort was getting at. The essay I read where she mentions what to do instead of praise was so cursory that it wasn't all that helpful. I have put her book on hold at my library and am hoping she offers more practical suggestions. I may not stop praising my children, but I will definitely question whether my praise is a lazy way of not having to really engage with my child's accomplishment. Her essay has caused me to evaluate precisely what and why I am praising.

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This is also discussed in Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate M.D., and there are some helpful ideas (especially for wiggly boys, but not only!) in Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen. Of all of Alfie Kohn's books, I found Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes to be quite interesting -- I'd recommend it over his parenting/school stuff, as he discusses praise in various areas of life, including in workplace situations, not just involving children. [i'm giving all these books because it's not only in one, and you may be able to find some of these at your library or buy for cheaper than the first item mentioned.]

 

As previously mentioned, in NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, the authors (Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman) discuss a study of middle school students and how, given the GLUT of praise that's common from teachers, a student who is given constructive criticism takes away from that that s/he has potential to improve, while a student who is showered with praise internalizes it as "that's the best you can do, so let's just be happy about it" (in other words, you're dumb). This is what students themselves said.

 

I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the huge amounts of praise that some parents dish out -- everything is "good job!" and "good walking!" and "good sliding!" and "good sharing!", all said in a saccharine voice. To me, ideally, that sort of stuff would just not be necessary at least most of the time, because it would be better to cultivate in the child a sense of their own understanding of what is right/wrong to do without the idea that I have to be standing by at every step to give feedback. It's a tricky balance; I think that's why some people overdo it.

 

The alternative is thanking someone sincerely (not a "thank you" that is praise/punishment in disguise). The way you would talk to your friend. The way you would thank her for bringing you a pie, or helping you with your taxes, or whatever. Sincerely talking to someone.

 

However, I think there is an important distinction between interacting with your friends and your children (by which I mean, one's offspring, especially those who are not yet adults), in that one is charged with shaping their character, and it is not yet formed. I think it is important to work on guiding them to good character/mindset/behavior, which one does really do with other adults, in most situations.

 

Thanks for the book recs. I've put them on hold, too. (I LOVE my libary!!):) I think the distinction you mention is very, very important and I've noticed others have mentioned this as well. Parenting requires shaping and forming if we hope to produce responsible, loving adults. Children are much different than adults and although I can understand Aldort's premise that some praise can undermine confidence, I also see that children need more than validation or thanks to thrive.

 

but I agree with Daisy and disagree with the author of this book. I do praise my children when I think it's deserved' date=' and I'm not trying to manipulate anyone. [b']Maybe the author has praise confused with flattery?[/b] :)

 

You may have something here.

 

Naomi Aldort is a radical unschooler. I thought her book was interesting, but when I delved further into her websites online, I discovered she is coming from a completely different understanding of the world than I am, being a Christian. She is very New Age, for lack of a better term--nothing is black and white, we are all perfect just the way we are, especially children, that kind of thing.

 

I knew she and I were coming from two different worldviews - didn't really know she was "New Age," but definitely knew we were not in complete agreement. That said, I am always open to reasonable ideas where ever they may present themselves. I don't immediately dismiss an idea simply because I am aware that its source doesn't line up with my belief system. I am very cautious, however. I just don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'm glad you mentioned this, though, because it is not mentioned in Lorraine Curry's book and I think it is vital to be informed on this issue if one is to be able to accurately evaluate the concept.

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From what I've read about the "problems with praise", it is not giving vs. withholding praise. The kind of praise given to a child can undermine their confidence. Blanket "good job" or "you're so smart" type of praise can have a reverse effect. Either a child doesn't really know what in particular they did was a good job or a child starts to crave getting labeled as smart, for instance. When they find themselves struggling with a difficult problem (like in math or something), they fear failing to figure it out easily--like a smart person "should"--and thus fear losing the label of "smart". So, they just don't try to figure the problem out--if they don't try they won't lose the label.

 

Being specific with praise helps head this off: "I really like how you worked to figure the problem out" (praising effort), "that was an inventive solution", "you put a lot of thought into answering this", "I like your color choices", etc.

 

Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford I think, has done a lot of research on this. Here's an article she wrote: http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/spring99/PraiseSpring99.pdf

 

There was an interesting article in the New York Times magazine, too, about this issue: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

 

I was told as a kid, "You did a great job watering the plants!" (I was 12.) And, other such blanket, silly praise for everything in an effort to give me good self-esteem. What ended up happening was that I started to doubt all that praise as being empty and undeserved and I also didn't try as hard as I could have because I was purportedly "brilliant". :tongue_smilie:

 

Great discussion topic! Even with my perspective on being cautious with how I praise, I love hearing people's ideas for clever ways to approach this issue!

 

I read both of the articles you cited - they were very useful to me. Here are a few quotes from the New York Times magazine article that intrigued me.

 

“Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,†she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.â€

 

(This may be the crux of it: praising a child for effort expended in an area he/she actually has control over. It's the control factor that is the key, I'm thinking.)

 

Dweck demonstrated, the effects of praise can vary significantly depending on the praise given. To be effective, researchers have found, praise needs to be specific.

 

and

 

In the opinion of cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham, a teacher who praises a child may be unwittingly sending the message that the student reached the limit of his innate ability, while a teacher who criticizes a pupil conveys the message that he can improve his performance even further.

 

As I was reading along I felt that I wanted to quote the whole thing, but I suppose that's silly.:D I highly recommend them.

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http://www.crosswalk.com/11609818/ Link is to an interesting article on Crosswalk by Albert Mohler about how parents are depicted in picture books and he acutally addresses the no praise parenting thought.

Personally I think it's a bunch of hokey. My kids want to be mirrored by me. Want to see me praise their hard work, crazy antics, hugs, success. This is a "duh" issue imho.

otoh I have never given my kids grades- they either know the work or they don't. I don't reward foolishness or false success.

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