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Old 01-26-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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Today my three and a half year old son did something worthy of approval. So I said to him "thats great" enthusiastically. But I could tell he didn't want to be praised. He withdrew and quickly changed what he was doing.

I know as parents we have to walk a fine line. I don't want to praise him and have it turn out to be counter productive.

I'd really like some opinions. How do you praise your children? What works for you and what dosen't work for you?
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:16 AM
 
Location: UK
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I think a lot has to do with the child personality and character but generally speaking children thrive on praises (I often think iIdo not praise my children enough and I am too quick in noticing what they do wrong).

In your particular case I just wonder if it wasn't the praise your child did not like but a momentary intrusion in his private space. Maybe he was just enjoying being by himself and concentrating in his task and your well intended comment suddenly broke the magic of the moment. It is not your fault, how were you to know? Also I don't know if a three years old can rationally think in terms of personal space etc. but nevertheless they can feel and perceive things and they react to these feelings.

One of the best advise my mother in law has ever given me is : "if a child is quiet and entertained, leave him/her alone". I often have to bite my tounge when I would like to comment on something the children are doing but, when I remember the advise, I wait until later and the praise is generally well received.

Last edited by hutch5; 01-28-2008 at 04:41 AM..
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:08 AM
 
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Mine didn't like to be praised either when he was a little guy. It was counterproductive, so I stopped doing it. Later on, early elementary, it sortof faded away. He still responds atypically to different things. You can't alter his behavior with positive reinforcement. He needs negative reinforcement, although not a lot, just a little.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:27 AM
 
Location: In a house
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As a rule I could tell when my children "wanted" praise. They will look up to you or make sure you notice what they are doing. That is when I "did" praise them. As "hutch5" mentioned, kids aren't always looking for praise they are just enjoying themselves. Even at a very young age I believe kids do have their boundries---
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:46 AM
 
Location: South FL
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I think a great book to read is "Punished by Rewards" by Alfie Kohn. I do believe in praising, but I think the best one is a descriptive praise. "good/great job" can feel manipulative to a child and he might feel pressure to do just as good or better next time because he will feel like now the expectations bar is set. This will actually take away his concentration on performing to the best of his abilities.

Descriptive praise: for example, your child painted a picture. Instead off saying: good job! I would say: "the colors are beautifully bright on this painting and look at the way you painted the sky! Clouds look almost real!". This way you are specific about what you like about the work and the child sees that you really paid attention to the painting, didn't just yell out: good job!

Does this make sense?
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:07 PM
 
Location: UK
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It makes a lot of sense, thank you for your suggestion. I will also try to read the book.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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It all depends on the personality of the child as previous posters have said. My son is always looking for praise and is always wanting in include me in his playtime. But my little girl (she's just over 1 year) is the opposite. She's so independent, she resents me poking my nose into her play and usually growls at me and moves away. She's very intense. She can be loving, but really, if she's into a particular task she doesn't want anyone around to disturb her.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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If it is genuine and natural and spontaneous, versus forced or trying to get the kid to do something. Like "I love how great you put your toys away" in a fake sing-songy voice, is to me sugar coated praise with a hidden agenda to try to get him to do something.

Whereas when I speak in a natural voice, as I would to any adult (but then I'm big on talking to kids with the same words, tone, and respect that I do adults I care about),
and comment on something like "You really have a great sense of humor" or "Those are beautiful colors you put in that painting, I really like them." or simply, "Thank you for helping me with that, I really appreciate it."

I don't see how praise is ever counterproductive? or not indicated? What am I missing? What is the counterpart in the adult world? I always like to be told at work that I am doing a good job, that my boss appreciates my efforts.

So i guess it is when I am appreciating who they are in the moment, and recognizing and valuing their contributions. Kids in my experience are dead ringers for sincerity and can spot an agenda a mile away.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:06 PM
 
Location: southern california
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re praise: progressive punishment & reward is the way.
if only this were followed what great things----
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DimSumRaja View Post
I don't see how praise is ever counterproductive? or not indicated? What is the counterpart in the adult world? I always like to be told at work that I am doing a good job, that my boss appreciates my efforts.
If I praised my son, ya know, "Oh, thanks, honey for picking up your toys" he would take them out and throw them back on the ground. Or if he was sitting at the table eating dinner with perfect behavior and manners and I said, "Thank you for eating nicely and using your manners" he'd throw a fork, get up and leave.

My son doesn't see it as praise. He sees it as manipulation.

He attends a private school that mostly uses positive reinforcement to modify behavior of kids. My son knows exactly what they are trying to do and rejects it. He just doesn't buy in. He'd rather be dealt with in a direct and honest manner. Luckily this school is savy enough to pick up on that really quick and they use punishments to modify his behavior, like detentions and Saturday school, rather than "catching him being good" kinda thing which he thinks is absurd.

So, like anything else, it depends on the kid. My kiddo is high IQ/ADHD/dyslexic so it's not a surprise he sees the world in a different light. He sees 3 or 4 or more steps ahead of other kids. You don't want to play him in chess.
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