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View Diary: When I Stopped Rewarding My Son for Good Behavior (100 comments)

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  •  I'm wondering, too, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, ZenTrainer

    if reward systems based on accomplishment rather than character encourage people to build a better image of self, rather than something deeper.  Encouragement is a reward of sorts, but it often rewards the process or intention, rather than the outcome, or product. Does that make sense?

    •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozarkspark

      I might reward a kid trying really hard to accomplish something by saying "Wow! You did it. You hung in there till the end and got it done. I bet you feel really good about that".

      Not only do I want to reward the process rather than the outcome, I want the child to work for him or herself and not for me.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 04:10:38 PM PST

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      •  That sounds more like an obervation than... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozarkspark

        a reward.  Though I would ask how they feel rather than telling them.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

        by leftyparent on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 04:23:30 PM PST

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        •  It's attention and encouragement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozarkspark

          which can feel quite rewarding.

          (And the "I bet you feel" was a bit of a qualifier.)

          Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

          by ZenTrainer on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 04:30:10 PM PST

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          •  Got it... glad you clarified! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozarkspark

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

            by leftyparent on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:02:59 PM PST

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          •  The "I bet you feel" (0+ / 0-)

            and similar terms typically used by those trained in current schools of psychology . . . "I'm hearing that ...", "you're expressing a lot of ...." is the kind of obvious manipulative remark that irritates the hell out of anyone who's been on the receiving end a few too many times.  The psychobabbly-sophisticated learn not only to turn it off, but to despise anyone who uses these phrases.

            •  "And how does that make you feel?" (0+ / 0-)

              is so canned, it would be hard to answer without feeling invalidated from the start. Even more so, with "I'm hearing that...".  Can you imagine real friends talking to each other like that, lol?  

              "I bet you feel good about that" could be sincere, though, couldn't it?

              •  The former can be sincere too... (0+ / 0-)

                When I talk to friends, family or co-workers, I will on occasion ask, "So how do you feel about that?", and it usually elicits a serious and considered response, and a feeling from that responder that I care about who they are.

                That said, I understand the possibility of a disingenuous and/or clumsy usage which is rife for satire.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

                by leftyparent on Sat Nov 20, 2010 at 09:47:51 AM PST

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            •  I have gotten used to writing that way... (0+ / 0-)

              since i want the people I'm exchanging with to get reflected how their message is being received and to reinforce that my opinions are somewhat tenuous and not what I feel to be absolute fact.

              If you think of it as "psycho-babble" fair enough, but I think that form of communication when artfully practiced can be very effective.  

              Another great discussion in itself to have some day.  The whole business of what some call "non-violent communication".

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

              by leftyparent on Sat Nov 20, 2010 at 09:44:21 AM PST

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              •  Ah. (0+ / 0-)

                My father and I finally became friends when we could sit down and shout at each other at the dinner table for twenty minutes and then start laughing.  It meant we weren't afraid to be honest any more.  Generally, I find that people who insist in speaking "gently" are playing games of snide one-upmanship, i.e. "I'm more civilized than thou"-ism.  Which again, is extremely irritating as it is a passive-aggression that denies the insult while delivering it, and casts the receiver in the position of either accepting being patronized, or losing their temper and demonstrating the attacker's superiority.

                Mind you, I'm not getting the impression that you are one of the "bad guys" I've had experience with, just the opposite, you seem to have really figured out how to BE gentle rather than pretend.  It's the facade of kindness laid over interpersonal dominance games that is just downright evil.

                •  Thanks for elaborating... I too dislike a... (0+ / 0-)

                  disingenuous facade.  

                  So in the case of you and your dad you kind of ritualized a time for venting.  Were the difficult things you shared about how you felt about each other or the world at large?

                  Trying to be a true egalitarian, I'm conscious of these "interpersonal dominance games" that you mention.  I would say I particularly notice them between adults and youth in schools and homes.  The adults often fall in a mode of speech with a constant subtext that "I'm in charge and you better mind me" while the kids respond with a sort of passive aggressive nonchalance.

                  I have a friend who is a teacher himself and has a young teen daughter.  He's a great person but seems to get a kick out of calling out his daughter's name with a gruff tone that reeks of "watch yourself!" in the subtext.  I cringe whenever he does it!

                  Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

                  by leftyparent on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:40:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I consider shouting to be a form of (0+ / 0-)

                  violence and I prefer non violent communication.
                  But whatever truly works for you is what works for you.

                  Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

                  by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:04:17 AM PST

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              •  Lots of great books on non violent (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kareylou

                communication for kids, parents, teachers and all people here:

                http://www.cnvc.org/...

                Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

                by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:16:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I find it amusing, I don't despise it. (0+ / 0-)

              The psychobabbly-sophisticated learn not only to turn it off, but to despise anyone who uses these phrases.

              I had a few surgeries recently and requested certain drugs be used and turned down many "standard of care" protocols. The doctors all used the phrases "I hear what you're saying" and "I respect your opinions" when what they really meant was "Boy, are you wrong!"

              So I had fun with them, I said "I hear what you're saying and I respect you opinion and this is my body and I'll make the decisions".

              I think I'm pretty easy going, I don't carry a lot of anger. I don't "despise" anyone. I don't get easily "irritated", and when I "shout" it's usually for joy or to be heard from a distance.

              Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

              by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:10:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  For him or her and not for me... (5+ / 0-)

        (Random thought progression,here) I talked to a behaviorist who recommended rewarding the whole family when one person accomplishes something, as an antidote to too much competition and sibling rivalry.  He said kids learn to support each other this way, instead of being jealous or resentful about the accomplishments of others.  So if Tim gets a good grade on his math test, we all have cake and celebrate equally.

        I've watched parents who encourage and facilitate sibling rivalry, consciously or unconsciously.

    •  I submit that any reward systems are... (0+ / 0-)

      problematic, no matter what they are rewarding.  It's all so artificial in my book.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 04:22:01 PM PST

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      •  We drive, use computers, take medicines, (0+ / 0-)

        and none of it is natural in any meaningful sense.  I don't see how or why there's a 1:1 correlation between natural and good.

      •  Really? Maybe I'm just (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozarkspark

        enthusiastic or easily amused. Encouragement and support just pops out of me. Even if it's very low key as in "Cool."

        But...I have a degree in child development and worked in that field for years.

        I think that in college at the beginning it did feel a bit unnatural.

        And I get what you are saying about "manipulating with rewards". I think they can be used in a more motivational way though.

        Sounds like whatever approach you took to parenting, it worked.

        Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

        by ZenTrainer on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 04:45:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What worked with our kids in the end... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozarkspark

          was really listening to what they said they needed and doing our best to provide that, along with love and support.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

          by leftyparent on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:09:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Beware of burnout. (0+ / 0-)

          They might work very well with the child for the first decade.  Afterwards, however, that same child may become so jaded by manipulative words and actions, that their use in "normal life" settings like the modern workplace causes quite counterproductive impulses of anger and rebellion.  Power utilized unnecessarily over the child can lead to a mighty ornery and cantankerous adult.  And you might also consider, that too many gold stars handed out to a child in public classrooms, not only quickly proves just how ephemeral and meaningless gold stars are, but can make that child a target for school bullies when the teacher isn't present.

          •  The goal is to let young people fully... (0+ / 0-)

            realize themselves and develop their own "compass" that guides their own direction.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

            by leftyparent on Sat Nov 20, 2010 at 09:50:25 AM PST

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            •  Oh, absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

              I think I got the comment under the wrong section; I was irritated by the Zen Trainer's admission of having been a professional child-manipulator for decades.  I was raised by one.

              •  I know a fair amount of parents who are proud... (0+ / 0-)

                of being able to skillfully wield that manipulation.  Individuals who are otherwise humanistic in their approach to life.  It seems to be a conventionally accepted parenting practice.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

                by leftyparent on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 07:44:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It may be semantics. (0+ / 0-)

                  There are a lot of professional motivators who I very much admire. Parker Palmer, Richard Bolles, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chang Khong come to mind. I don't feel manipulated by them, I feel inspired and encouraged

                  Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

                  by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 10:01:13 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm talking about parents who will... (0+ / 0-)

                    cite chapter and verse about all the things their kid is into and will be doing towards the goal of good college prep and career prep.  It feels like "stage-managing".

                    Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

                    by leftyparent on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 02:15:03 PM PST

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              •  I was raised by an abusive fireman. (0+ / 0-)

                Yet, I've met a lot of fireman that I like.

                Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

                by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 21, 2010 at 09:54:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

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