Our Family's Journey to Peaceful Parenting and Unschooling.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Disapprovals vs. Affirmations
pretty sure most decent parenting books advise making positive
statements over negative statements. For example, instead of "Don't be
so loud," say "Please be quiet." Instead of "Stop running," say "Please
walk." I admit, this is something with which I still struggle.
Then I got a little kick in the pants reminder from a chapter on language development in Einstein Never Used Flashcards.
parents speak to children in what researchers term "disapprovals,"
while other use more "affirmations." Disapprovals are negative
statements such as "No," or "Don't do that," or "stop that." They close
off conversation rather than engage children in talk. On the other hand,
affirmations include praise, as in "Good job!" and encouragement,
"Let's try that again," and compliments, "You really did that well!"
.... When researchers looked at the differences in sheer number of
disapprovals and affirmations, their findings were shocking. The average
child from a professional family heard 32 affirmations and 5
disapprovals per hour- a ratio of 6 to 1. Those from the working class
heard roughly 12 affirmations and 7 disapprovals- a ratio of 2 to 1. In
stark contrast, this pattern flipped for children from welfare homes.
They received 5 affirmations and 11 disapprovals per hour, for a ratio
of 1 to 2.
The effect of these differences and the messages
they send to language-learning children cannot be underscored enough.
The professional children are being rewarded for talking- the welfare
children are not. They are being taught to follow commands. The
professional and working-class children are being encouraged and
praised, while the welfare children are being told things that cannot
help their self-esteem."
5-11 disapprovals PER HOUR? Can you
imagine if someone in your life were saying something negative to you
every 20 minutes? Or even worse, every 6 minutes? Can you imagine how it
must feel to have no choice in whether you live with this negativity or
not? Children can't leave a situation the same way we can leave a job
or relationship. I'll definitely be more mindful of my word choices from