Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Magazines

I love magazines. To a one, they present the kind of impossible to achieve perfection fantasies that I love to compare to real life, just to feel the pangs of disappointment and failure.

I might as well watch "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and think, "Hey, I should put a hidden candy forest in my back yard! Staffed by tiny imaginary men! Wait, no -- tiny imaginary men who sing!"

Most recently, I read Parents magazine. I particularly enjoyed this article about discipline.

I actually agree with this guy's approach -- for kids aged two and under. After that? Well, I agree -- if you want to raise a sociopath.



...if you really want your child to be better-behaved, you actually need to praise him
more enthusiastically, and you can't rely on punishment to fix a discipline problem.

Dr. Kazdin, director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, says he knows what works: helping your child practice doing the right thing and then showering him with compliments every time he does it.


I specifically found this example troubling:



Q. How about using logical consequences -- for example, if a child scribbles on the wall, she has to clean it up?

A.
Making these connections for kids seems to make sense, but it's still a punishment that won't change behavior. Later on, or in the days that follow, you can practice drawing pictures on paper with your child and compliment her. ("You used markers like a big girl and made such a beautiful picture on this piece of paper. Think you can make another for your sister?)


Okay, part of my problem with this example is it criticizes my own particular discipline style. But more importantly, he fails to realize you need to teach a kid more than simply "don't write on the wall" in this instance.

By giving the kid a dampened Eraser™ sponge and telling her to clean up the mess -- (and I'm not advocating beating the kid over the head over it; "You horrible, contemptible child! I shall not feed, comfort or love you until you have returned my wall to its original state! Now get scrubbing, before I throw you out into the street, miserable dog!") -- you're also teaching her that actions have consequences that need to be addressed, and that (importantly to me) mommy (or anyone else) isn't your slave.

If you don't have your child clean up his or her own mess, he/she will go through life expecting some invisible servant will come up from behind to fix everything. Is that what you want?

Additionally, I don't know how practical his advice is. If you have 10 and 8 year old boys, for example, how are you supposed to carry out his "praise while they're behaving correctly" thing?

"Oh, good job, Billy! You're not pinning your younger brother to the ground while dangling a line of gooey saliva over his head in a threatening manner! Hooray for you!"

Yeah, I don't see that happening, do you?

1 comment:

Missy said...

:looks around, sniffs air:

Hey, nice place you have here. Is that potpourri?

Mother of five here. I am so done with parenting advice.

IMHO, over praising or undeserved praise doesn't help anyone.

But demonstrating common courtesy--"thanks for helping your little brother," is good.

And there's something to be said for learning about punishment and consequences.

Good grief, there's something to be said for just having your kids contribute to the family economy by doing chores. Someone's got to clean that wall!

;) Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. (You know, if you don't comment on blogs you're letting the terrorists win.)