Our Family's Journey to Peaceful Parenting and Unschooling.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
No More "Good Jobs"
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
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
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