Thursday, April 12, 2007

Great Job!

I think I'm getting blog amnesia. Have I already blogged my skepticism of the critique of parental praise? The one that says we shouldn't say "good job" to our kids because it will make them think they are valued only for their performance? Or perhaps that it makes them think there is an arbitrary level of achievement they must achieve? Instead, the critique goes, we should specifically acknowledge exactly what they have done, a la "My, Susie, you drew daffodils and colored them yellow." I don't know about your kids, but I'm suspecting that my kids would respond to that kind of response with a deep "duh, Mom, I think I know what I just did."

Anyway, I just read another essay on this topic in our local paper, and once again I thought it was ridiculous, but who am I to think, so I called in an expert: the kid. M read it and said, "That's stupid. When you say "good job," I don't think you won't love me if I don't do a good job." I rest my case.

Besides, I love getting praised. But maybe that testifies to my inadequate personality development, and if only my mom had just told me I'd drawn a daffodil, I would be able to draw from a deep well of self-esteem and have no need of the assurances of others.

I'm SURE I've blogged about this before. Prize if you can find it. And sorry to be redundant, but it's been a long week.


Libby said...

February 17, Becca. What's my prize? (he he)

Dawn said...

At SYC you're not allowed to say no, you're not allowed to say "be careful" (because it is not the child's responsibility to be careful -- it is the parent's responsibility to keep them safe) and you sure as hell aren't allowed to say "good job." And this is just one of the many reasons why my children don't go to SYC.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Good job on this post, Becca!

Kelly said...

The playgroup I belonged to for a little while when Ty was tiny held fast to this philosophy and it drove me nuts. They all sounded like robots chirping words they'd heard and believed must be true and their toddlers looked at them in bewilderment.

I worked at a job for 5 years and only once heard that I'd done a good job. Depressing as hell.

Libby said...

The thing is, as you pointed out in your first post, it makes perfect sense to praise people for what they have really done, rather than who (you and they might perceive) they are: "Good job," rather than, "you're so smart." So I really don't get the restriction here.

And, Dawn, I had a friend whose kids didn't hear "no" for a while--until the second, more wilful one came along. Yeah, that one ended pretty fast.