Thursday, August 25, 2011

Words {not} to live by...

Now that I am actually a parent, this blog can be more about my parenting experiences and opinions, rather than just about the pregnancy or the baby. I am looking forward to sharing my opinions, paired with articles, even though many people will not agree with my strong opinions about child rearing. These opinions mostly stem from my 10 years of experience as an early childhood educator and are being reinforced as a raise my own child. My thoughts about raising children and how to treat them have definitely changed over the years. I know that I am no expert and I know I will make mistakes. But, this is my little place in the Internet universe and I can say whatever I want. If you don't like it, stop reading.

I have developed many pet peeves when it comes to the way adults treat and speak to kids, one being the overused "good job" that we all feed to kids. (I hate to admit that I am guilty of it too, but I do make a conscious effort to avoid it as much as possible).

Unfortunately, we may not have realized that "Good job!"
is just as much an evaluation as "Bad job!"
The most notable feature of a positive judgment
isn’t that it’s positive, but that it’s a judgment.
And people, including kids, don’t like being judged.

My husband and I joke about setting up a "good job jar", kind of like a swear jar. I told him that he would need to start putting in a dollar every time he said "good job" to our daughter and then I would get to go shopping with that money. He works hard at not using this phrase too, maybe I should get at least one shopping trip out of this before I send him the article below. Hmmm...

I recently went to a playgroup with a friend. It was a parent/child playgroup in a classroom setting. There was play food to pretend with, art projects, blocks to build with, etc. For my little one, that has not really been in a set up like this, was enthralled with the number of toys and soon the number of kids that were there. She bounced from activity to activity, exploring everything she could, leaving a path of destruction behind her. She was quite content playing by herself but did have the occasional run-in with a toy thief (but this post isn't about "sharing", so we will talk about that later). I kept enough distance to allow her to explore freely, but was always close enough to catch her before she found herself in a dangerous or difficult situation. Not really being able to carry on a complete conversation with any of the other parents, I found myself doing a lot of listening (since Kaylee wasn't interested in indulging me in conversation either). The two things I heard over and over and over and over again were "share" and "good job". My most hated words. If there were two phrases I could permanently remove from my vocabulary (and everyone else), I'm pretty sure it would be those two. (More about "sharing" later) But "good job" is probably one of the most overly used phrases that comes out an adults mouth when they are speaking to kids. Yeah, it's easy, it's quick, and we all think it conveys a positive message. I could go on and on about my feelings about how it effects kids but Alfie Kohn says it so much better. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the following article about why you should stop staying "good job" to kids. I especially like the end, where he offers up suggestions on what to say to your child instead of good job. I'll admit that "you did it" has kind of become my go to phrase instead of "good job" but I do try to make an effort to give genuine feedback regularly.


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