Saturday, April 02, 2011

Parenting class take two, night two

The second night of parenting class was more enjoyable for me because Matt was able to attend. He missed the first class because of travel but should be there for the rest of them.

It is really nice to be learning these along side of him instead of having to come home and relay the messages to him. We focused much more strongly on the idea of praising our children in the second class. The idea behind this is that bring attention to your child's positive behavior will increase their positive behavior and decrease their negative behavior.

What this DOESN'T look like is walking around blindly "good jobbing" your kid all day. What it DOES look like is providing specific praise and appreciation of things that your child does, such as "thank you for setting the table" or "you did a great job of picking up your toys when I asked you to".

The idea behind providing this kind of praise to your child is that it helps improve their self-esteem, improves positive behaviors and helps them feel confident enough to follow through with things that might be difficult for them.

One thing I realized about praising my daughters is that it improves my own perceptions of them, as well, because I am actively taking the time to notice more of their positive behaviors.

In class we also discussed the importance of modelling praise with your partner and with yourself. With young children self praise isn't so much about bragging as it is about increasing self-esteem.

In addition we talked about ways to praise progress in our children, when we see them choose a more positive behavior over a negative one that they typically use employ. For instance, if a child yells that they are angry instead of hitting their sibling, then the parent needs to recognize that progress by saying something like "I say that you were really angry and you wanted to hit but instead you used your words to express you anger."

The teacher did point out that isn't always about praise, per se, that it can be about just pointing out what you witnessed. Saying to your child "I noticed that you fed the cat tonight" can let him/her know that you are noticing them.

The other things we discussed is the importance of not tacking on a negative to the praise, such as "thank you for clearing the table tonight, it really upset me that the last three nights you just left everything there". Of course, we can find other time to discuss what needs to be worked on, but it doesn't need to be wrapped in to the praise, because then the praise is lost on the child.

One thing that struck me this week was thinking about decreasing my reaction to negative behaviors and increasing my reaction to positive ones. I would say that many times in the past I had BIG LOUD reactions to negatives and almost pretty much ignored positives and it's something I really need to focus on changing.

I look forward to having more 1-on-1 play time this week with each of the girls and finding ways to praise not only them, but my husband AND myself!


  1. I like the idea of just pointing out when you notice something about the child or something they've done. I've read quite a bit about *not* praising kids, but letting them know we notice them.

    (I'm not saying don't praise your kids - it really sounds like you're on to something here.)

  2. First off, I apologize how these posts have lost their paragraphs! I have no idea what happened, never had that happen with blogger before.
    Momma Jorje I am wondering about the praise thing, too. We are also starting to talk about physical rewards, which I cringe at the idea of. I am going to ask the teacher about it.

  3. Okay, I think I fixed it by using the HTML code. WHew!

  4. Yeah, I'm not sure if I could do physical rewards... We want to encourage our children to have pride in themselves and do good for themselves, not for a reward. I'll be interested to see what your teacher says about it.

  5. That is the interesting thing, though. According to the teacher the end result is the same, it's just going about it differently. Starting off offering your child external praise means they will know how they feels and then begin internalizing it. The theory is that we have to teach them what that looks like.
    I have to say, as someone who this is all pretty new for and out of the realm of how I do things, I am definitely open to it. Obviously what I/we have been doing with Iris (and both girls, really) isn't really working the best it could be.
    I can't wait to respond back to what I find out, though. I really do think the answer will simply be it is too different theories on acheiving the same goal, though.


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