Tuesday, December 7, 2010
At our third Parent Partnership meeting we discussed Chapters 2 and 3 of Alfie Kohn's, Unconditional Parenting. One difficult aspect of this book is all the "bad" stuff (mistakes parents make), is put before all of the "good" stuff (practical advice on better parenting).
One idea that stood out for us was that the words "good job" can be powerful. Do these simple words give the impression to our children that we love them more when they are doing what we deem as "good" and love them less when they are doing what we see as "bad?" It is hard to know, but we do run the risk of turning our children into "praise junkies," or people that perform only for some sort of reward. The intriguing part of this is that by continually praising our children, they can become afraid to take risks. They do not want to fail and lose the praise, so instead they do what comes easily to them so that they can win approval, or grades, or whatever the reward is. It is easy to see what a death knell that could be for innovation and creativity. We also talked a bit about food. Most research agrees, children eat what they need over a period of days, as long as what is in front of them is healthy. Adults often feel the need to control a child's intake, but the result can be a pattern of struggles over food, leading to eating disorders. When young children are not given the opportunity to self-regulate, they often lose their innate ability to do so, and become obese. That young children have an innate ability to self-regulate is another marvelous example of how nature has provided for the development of humans. We decided to work through Chapters 4,5,6, and 7 for next time so that we can get to the good stuff! We are looking forward to some positivity!