Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No More "Good Jobs"

Our conversion to peaceful parenting has been made by taking baby steps. We focused on getting our brains wrapped around one idea and changing those habits (mostly) before moving on to the next idea. I honestly think we would have failed horribly if not for weaning ourselves from authoritative parenting this way.

So, stop spanking. Got it. Stop yelling. Got it. Stop using punishments. Got it. (m...ostly, we slip up, we are human after all.) The hurtle we are tackling now is praise. Sounds crazy, right? But verbal praise is just as manipulative and judgmental as negative comments.

This is really hard! Saying "Good job!" is totally a knee-jerk reaction for both Papa Bear and me. Once we made a conscious effort to stop, we realized how often we use praise, especially with Bug. The other day he was eating a bunch of grapes, and when he finished he took the little twigs to the trash. Papa Bear and I sat together literally biting our tongues and covering our mouths to keep ourselves from praising him. We do the same when we watch Josh help his brother, and pretty much every awesome thing we see them doing every day.

They are doing these things- throwing trash away, helping each other, etc- because they are internally motivated to do so. That is the very goal of parenting, right? To somehow get our kids to WANT to clean up, or WANT to help each other? But when we praise them for doing these things, we're kind of screwing it up because we're replacing their internal motivators with our external motivators.

Also, saying "good job" can be demeaning. I wouldn't dream of telling Papa Bear "good job" for throwing his trash away. And I would get pretty peeved if he started talking to me like that.

I'm no psychologist. I'm just combining what I've read with my own experiences, thoughts and reflections. I am realizing how often I interrupted special moments by interjecting praise when the boys were doing something I thought was great. And I'm finding a totally indescribable joy when witnessing those moments, now without interrupting. Watching and truly appreciating who they are and what they can do.

No comments:

Post a Comment