One (and there are many!) of the most confusing things about being a new parent is trying to interpret all the advice the so called 'experts' give. - 50% of this happens by the age of 3 Then, just because of normal development (they start to climb, want to do things themselves, become independent......) the nature of our interaction changes. (Elizabeth Stone)
If we read one book or website it may say one thing which may only be contradicted by another expert from a different source the following week! When we arrive at a new stage (from baby to toddler right up to hitting the teenage and young adult transition) we often look for guidence on what to expect, what to do, how to communicate at this stage etc.....
When my eldest boy was small (and given that he is 6ft 3 now that means we are going back a bit!) expert opinion was that you should always reward. The punishment days were over. Star charts were the way to go. Over time, however, the sense was that the child may then do something for the reward rather than the intrinstic value of the task or action. As adults then, I thought, will that mean at the end of a days work the next generation will want a treat or reward for working hard. Then I realised that is often the case already. How many of us might go for a glass of wine, beer or chocolate bar at the end of the day/week. We may have linked these with 'pleasure' and the work or day to day with 'pain'.
If you read up on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation there is a case for both and we end up more confused. Super Nanny is using the star chart system to very good effect and it has been a life saver for many parents over the years.
So what is a parent to do?
Trick or Treat?
Research has shown that by the age of 18 a child will have been acknowledged and positively encouraged 25,000 times.
- When they are small it is easy to acknowledge the progress. They start to catch our eye and smile, they learn to crawl/wobble/toddle/walk/run........
By the age of 18 they will have been negatively acknowledged or criticised 225,000 times.
If we focus on the behaviour we want to encourage (catching them doing good, acknowledging the one thing good rather than the 3 'bad') we will be encouraging them to do more of that and less of the bad. If there is negative or unacceptable behaviour it must still be dealt with so they know there are consequences (next months newsletter will cover more on this) but what is important is making sure that there is as much or more energy given to what they do well.
So listen, read, research. What makes sense to you about start charts and external motivation? Do what your intuition tells you is right for your child but always remember.....
Where energy and focus goes-grows.
This month notice where yours is most often!
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
I would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, stories feedback or ideas you would like to share, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
One (and there are many!) of the most confusing things about being a new parent is trying to interpret all the advice the so called 'experts' give.
- 50% of this happens by the age of 3
Then, just because of normal development (they start to climb, want to do things themselves, become independent......) the nature of our interaction changes.