Tuesday, May 12, 2009

new mantra

recently it hit me that as parents we may be creating little puppy dogs that perform for treats vs. children who grow up with love as a covering for their lives. kids, like puppies, know what gets praise from their parents, and if they are praised for those specific things, that's what they will do. but that may limit them. they may not be confident enough to go 'outside the box' to do other things, to grow, because the parents' praise is necessary for them to take the next step. so...instead of making life one 'trick' after another, one to be noticed ('look what i can do!) and commended, we should make our praise, our positive comments, more general. this is sort of like "i love you" as a general statement vs. "i love it when you...". 
in the same vein, we should not criticize so generally, but more on a 'per event' basis, so that the child knows what he did to transgress. much the opposite of many parents' styles today.
so...praise generally, criticize specifically. instead of each act getting a nod, the nod goes to the whole day or week as 'man, you kids have been really great today, i really appreciate it, let's go to the park and have a picnic'. and 'tristan, we don't bite/hit/pull hair/scream/throw food/pee on the floor/etc.'
that's the mantra - praise generally, criticize specifically.

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