I pride myself in having a fairly large vocabulary. However, while interacting with my toddler, I realize that most of my verbal communication with him, comprises of just three words/phrases –
DON’T DO THAT!
So much so that NO will almost qualify as a reflex action at this point.
D : Hey Mom, Can I..?
D : Hey Mom..
Me: Not now, later.
At the time, I just attributed it to being busy, and not having the time or the energy to deal with it. But, some months back, I made a conscious decision to cut down the negative reinforcements and increase the positive ones.
I decided to read up on it, and in the process gained an interesting insight from an article by a child psychologist, which I want to share. The article that I came across discussed how true encouraging words focus on the deed as much as the doer. This is important to build confidence, and motivate a child from the inside to demonstrate similar positive behavior in the future.
I always used words of appreciation pretty generously to reward positive behavior. The most common ones being –
- Wow! Good Job!
- Such a Good Boy!
- Proud of You!
The article encourages us to replace the above three (which focuses on the doer alone) with the following (which focuses on the doer and the deed) *
- Look at your improvement. You really did a good job!
- Thanks for helping me clean up. Such a good boy!
- That was a tough one, but you figured it out. Proud of you!
*The concept was discussed in the article, but the examples are my own. They are based on what I use on a daily basis. So it is just my interpretation of the idea. Please do let me know if you have any additional insights. Parenting, at its best is a work-in-progress. Hence all comments/suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated.
*This post is written for the AtoZChallenge.
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