18 January 2012

pRaising Children

I came to some really significant realisations about myself and about my family during this December holiday. I don't want to overwhelm and bore you all to death so this might be a multi-part series ( although we all know how I suck with following up with those) So let's just see how it goes.

First one: I'm much too concerned about pleasing people, and being liked. No matter how much I tell myself I have worked out my self esteem issues, it's still there.

This was such an epiphany that it seemed to have shocked me into getting over it. There's still a bit of it left, and I honestly don't think I will ever be able to completely let go of that need for approval, but it has made me especially aware of not creating the same in my daughter.

I've been reading up a lot about self esteem ( she seems okay there)
But there's one area ( the need to please, or to receive praise) that I might have messed up a bit. Apparently it is not a good idea to just keep praising your child for everything

*insert surprised face*"It's Not?"

I've been the queen of "Good Job" "Awesome" "You're so clever" OOPS.

That is what creates the need to please. It apparently teaches the child that he/she needs outside approval in order to feel validated, instead of an intrinsic sense of accomplishment.

So how does one remedy it? Can it be remedied? I immediately went off to Google some more and read a few articles. What is helpful is to remember the following, Always comment on what you SEE, and ask questions. Get really involved in a conversation.

So instead of the usual "Good Job" I will say,
"Wow I see you used so many different colours in your picture today",
"What is that?",
"Tell me more about your picture",
"I can see you enjoyed doing that",
" You did it"

It's been a bit difficult to remember, and I have to really THINK about it. But at the moment my daughter is way too invested in what I say about what she does for it to be healthy, so I hope our new approach will have a positive effect soon.

Here are some articles you might be interested in on the subject:

Five Reasons to stop saying Good Job by Alfie Kohn ( has some nice tips on what to do instead)
Don't Praise your Children from The Power of Prime, The cluttered mind uncluttered, by Jim Taylor, Ph.D.

It is quite amazing to think the more self aware I become the better I can adjust and adapt my parenting to make sure I do not saddle my child with my own baggage. It's so wonderful to know no matter what, I am an aware parent. I am aware of my own short comings, I am aware of my child's needs, and I am aware when I fail, when something doesn't work, and when it does. I'm not perfect by any means and I make a lot of mistakes, but I try my darnedest to fix them as soon as I realise.

In this rushed and busy life I choose to take the time to focus on my child and on myself in order to benefit us both. As I raise her I also have the opportunity to raise myself.

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