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Questions a/b the tools for positive discipline

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  • Questions a/b the tools for positive discipline

    I get most of them, but I'm not sure that I totally get "Use care when offering praise"....I've heard this before but am not sure of the reasoning behind it, I would think praise would be a good thing....?

    Also, if someone could explain a time-in vs. a time-out, and why this is more appropiate, that would be great....isn't a time-in almost like rewarding them for behavior we don't like? Couldn't it be interpreted that way, thus re-inforcing the behavior?

    Just some questions dancing through my head.....thanks mamas.
    Last edited by Mama*Pisces; 04-13-2008, 11:58 PM. Reason: Typo

  • #2
    If I'm understanding it correctly, the catch with offering praise is making sure the praise isn't directed at the child (i.e. "you're such a good boy!") or overused. A child who is constantly praised will then expect it all the time and will only "perform" when reinforced and then there is the negative effects on self esteem that happen with praise.

    A time-in takes place where the child is removed from the situation but you remain present in the area. It sometimes involves redirection (i.e., "let's come over here & read a book for a few minutes so we can relax a bit.") but doesn't always do so. A time-out to a little kid is really a form of abandoning the child ("OMG! My mom put me in the room all by myself! She's GONE!")
    Last edited by edamame; 04-13-2008, 11:39 PM. Reason: only answered part-way (DS scrambled off my lap :)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by edamame View Post
      If I'm understanding it correctly, the catch with offering praise is making sure the praise isn't directed at the child (i.e. "you're such a good boy!") or overused. A child who is constantly praised will then expect it all the time and will only "perform" when reinforced and then there is the negative effects on self esteem that happen with praise.

      A time-in takes place where the child is removed from the situation but you remain present in the area. It sometimes involves redirection (i.e., "let's come over here & read a book for a few minutes so we can relax a bit.") but doesn't always do so. A time-out to a little kid is really a form of abandoning the child ("OMG! My mom put me in the room all by myself! She's GONE!")
      Ah, ok.

      I can see how a time-out with leaving the room is a form of abondanment, especially to a toddler. I was thinking more along the lines of removing him from whatever he was doing and having him sit still for a minute, with me right next to him.

      It's not that I'm trying to find a way to punish him, and actually we've been in a really good place lately where time-outs really haven't been necessary(though I have had to witness quite a few meltdowns....). I'm just wondering b/c time-outs were kind of a compromise b/t me and DH, since he is of the opinion that an occasional swat on the butt won't hurt kids, and that "you need to get their attention somehow." It was really really hard for a while between us, b/c Donovan went through a very looonnnng screaming stage, and DH and I could NOT agree on how to discipline him for it, at all. But now that seems to be over, thankfully. I'm just wondering how to approach future situations.....

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      • #4
        Yep, pretty much what Amy said

        A really good book on the affects of praise is Punishment by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. He's also the author of Unconditional Parenting. He did tons of research on the affects of rewards, including praise in schools and found over and over that children who were often praised or rewarded for what they did ended up losing interest in the activity and/or would not perform unless they received the reward or praise. And the opposite would happen when they weren't praised or rewarded!

        Instead of using too much praise, it's suggested to provide feedback. Like, instead of "What a great job you did on the finger painting!", one could use, "You used so many colors! Can you tell me about your painting?" And of course, it's not that some praise is bad and shouldn't be done. But, instead we should use it sparingly so that our children don't learn to do things in order to get the praise or worse, lose interest in what they are doing because of praise.

        About time-ins...here's some more additional text from API about this, which are actually for both kids and parents:
        Time-out is a term that is used to describe a variety of discipline techniques. One popular version involves putting a child on a chair or in a room, separated from his parent, for a given amount of time. Like spanking, this punitive version of time-out has not proven to be effective because it doesn’t address the root of the problem. Further, separating a child from his parents may be perceived by the
        child as rejection. Dr. Gordon Neufeld reminds us that a child does not have a behavior problem; he has a relationship problem. Positive discipline replaces the punitive use of time-out with another version of the technique, which API prefers to call “time-in.” Time-in is an opportunity to reconnect and work through the underlying problem that your child is having. In order to help an older toddler or child regain composure and perspective, explain to the child that both of you need to take some time away from the activity. If he is ready and willing, you can sit with your child and discuss his emotions and needs in a calm, compassionate way. In some cases, snuggle time without talking may be all that a child needs. When both you and your child are calm and ready, then he can return to the activity. Consider implementing a “meeting-on-the-couch” policy, where
        any member of the family (including the child) can call a “time-in” when tensions begin to arise, or when he feels the need for a period of reconnection.

        Parental time-in is also an effective way for parents to regain composure and perspective. Parents can explain to the child that they are going to sit quietly for a bit and think. They can use this time to examine their expectations both of themselves and their child. If a child resists the parent taking a time-in or the child is too young to be out of the sight of the parent, then the parent can sit calmly in the same room, close her eyes, take a few deep breaths, and have an internal “time-in.” If a parent feels at risk for harming their child, they must take the steps necessary to ensure the child is in a safe location and separate themselves rather than reaching the breaking point—don’t hesitate to call a friend or neighbor for help. For more information on how to deal with anger toward a child, see
        http://www.stophitting.com
        Last edited by Giselle; 04-14-2008, 10:14 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mama*Pisces View Post
          Also, if someone could explain a time-in vs. a time-out, and why this is more appropiate, that would be great....isn't a time-in almost like rewarding them for behavior we don't like? Couldn't it be interpreted that way, thus re-inforcing the behavior
          just wanted to add here, that this is the mainstream perspective, built on behaviorism. but AP sees behaviors, not as things to be eliminated or reinforced, but as signs of underlying conditions. so, if your child is acting out, or peforming a "behavior we don't like", that is the adult's cue that something is going on underneath and it needs to be addressed. time-ins are a way of helping the child to reach inside and find his way back to right=ness. so i suppose a behaviorist would see it as a reward, but AP believes this is a healing technique, and much more beneficial to the child, the parent, and the relationship in the long run. does that make sense?

          and, three cheers for Alfie Kohn! Unconditional Parenting is my favorite parenting book, a must read...

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          • #6
            oh, almost forgot, about praise, here's an explanation from Kohn:

            "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job'"
            http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm

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            • #7
              We use a form of time-in, around here we simply call it quiet time. Usually if ds is getting upset it's because he is overwhelmed, hungry or tired. We take him to another room and snuggle for a minute until he calms down, and this has prevented many meltdowns. I just started reading Unconditional Parenting (OK I started it like a month ago and am still on page 10, but someday I will finish it!) and am really excited about it.

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              • #8
                We use a comfort corner instead of time-in or outs which I think is probably along the same line of thinking as the time in. Basically to me the main idea behind it is I believe very strongly that, "those who feel bad, act bad." So if my child is acting out usually something is wrong and a lot of times that is he's over-stimulated. So we have a comfort corner set up in a corner in our living room with a few pillows, some books, a pacifier, and his teddy bear. And its his to come and go but I will suggest it if he's acting out. I'll usually lead him to his comfort corner and tell him I think we need to take a little break and sit there with him if he wants me there. If he wants to stay in it for 30 mins that's fine and if he only stays there for 30 secs that's fine too.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
                  oh, almost forgot, about praise, here's an explanation from Kohn:

                  "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job'"
                  http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm
                  Yikes, I thought saying "good job' was ok, as opposed to "good boy", which DH still does sometimes, and it drives me nuts cuz it reminds me of talking to a dog.

                  Thanks so much for posting that link though, I will definitely be reading it, though I'm not sure I should even bother showing it to DH! He's pretty set in his ways......

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                  • #10
                    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to reply ladies...I guess I need to check out some Alfie Kohn books, but I do understand a little bit more now.

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                    • #11
                      The thing about behaviorism (and its tool, punishment and praise) isn't so much that it doesn't or can't "work" (although it often doesn't) as that it only "works" on the surface (if it does at all), and 1) doesn't adress underlying issues (I know when I'm acting out, it's usually because I'm hungry, angry, lonely, tired or overstimulated, thirsty, etc) and 2) it can have unintended longterm effects. You might be trying to teach a child to, say, not run into the street or hit their playmate when you use force (hitting, making them sit in a chair alone, yelling), but what they may really be learning is it's ok to use force with someone smaller to get what they want. Whereas if you say "hey, you seem upset, are you tired, hungry, have you had enough playtime for now?", they may learn to feel compassion for others, or to check in with themselves to see if they need anything, to nurture themselves (I have been known to say to myself "hey self, you seem pretty snappy, what do you need? Oh, you need food? ok, let's go get food. that feels much better." yes I am a strange duck, but it feels soooo good to be able to identify what I need and give it to myself).

                      Same with praise - you may be using it to try to reinforce the behavior of, say, putting away the dishes, but what they might learn is that they should put the dishes away because they get a good stimulation out of it (your praise), and they miss the opportunity to learn that putting the dishes away intrisically feels good (it's taken me decades to learn, but it's actually NICE to have a clean, organized kitchen!). It's taking their attention away from what they're doing (and how THEY feel about it) and putting it on you (and how YOU feel about it).

                      Which, as others said, doesn't mean that you should never ever praise or use separation (although I would limit separation to when you need it for their safety or your sanity), just that we should think about what it's actually doing, and use it sparingly if at all.

                      My 2c...

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                      • #12
                        I find it useful to think in terms of self-confidence and self-esteem/self-worth. Sometimes when trying to help support the child´s development in one of these major areas, it is quite easy to be unaware of the fact that we systematically tear down the other.

                        To much praise in terms of "You are such a clever girl!" can lead to a high self confidence in the child. And that is appearantly a good thing. But on the same time you may be sending the hidden message that clever-ness is a very important thing, and if you are not clever you have less worth. This way you will chip away on the innate self-esteem of the child.

                        I find it very important to help support the wonderful self-esteem that the children are born with. I do not want to tear it down with to much outer focus.

                        If a child on top of a tree howls "See me mom!", you may say "I see you!". That is often what children are asking from us: "See me". If I then answer with "Oh what a skillful boy you are!" I indirectly say to him - "you ask of me to see you, but I see your skills instead. You are not important without skills"

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                        • #13
                          Time-out - when using a time out we indirectly say to the child: "If you do not behave in line with my standards, you have no worth in my social setting". We say that your worth in the social life is dependant on your performance, not your personality.

                          That is harsh! I think the message to the child is much more harsh than most parents using this method intends it to be...

                          Sometimes it is nessesary to protect the child from the sosial group, and even the group from the child. Then to say to the child "lets take a break from all this" and leave the room together to reconnect and recollect - that is a very different thing than isolation. Your message to the child is than "You matter. Your feelings matter. I care for you and want to help you if i can. " In the same time you give a small lesson in empathy. You are able to empathise with the child, and *he notices this. And also we give the message that not all behaviours are socially acceptable, but the child is always accepted as a person.

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                          • #14
                            I think I finally understand, after reading this thread & the link provided, why things like "good job" should not be used. But what do you do when someone else says it to your child? My mom always says good boy, good girl or good job to my LOs. One day about two weeks ago, Maria who is 2, came up to me to show me something she did & I said something to her but not good girl & she kept saying "guh gir" over & over & pointing to herself until I realized she was saying "good girl". When I realized this, I said to her like a question to figure out what she was saying "You're a good girl?" & she smiled & nodded her head yes & was so happy I said it. Kind of made me sad. Should I print out & give article to my mom in a non-pointing finger way saying "look what I learned" sort of waay?

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                            • #15
                              this came in my inbox today, so thought i'd share as it's so pertinent to the topic and answers the initial question:
                              from Scott Noelle's Daily Groove:

                              As implied in Part 1 (http://dailygroove.net/time-in),
                              you must establish time-in as a positive, mutually
                              pleasurable activity for it to become an effective
                              parenting tool.

                              Don't wait until your child is melting down to try
                              time-in. Do "practice time-ins" when you think your
                              child would enjoy the connection. And when you're
                              stressed, treat *yourself* to a time-in.

                              Use deep breathing, affirmations, or anything that
                              helps you get centered. You might imagine that your
                              center is like a sphere of light that *expands* to
                              include your child in its glow.

                              Experiment with different places and ways of doing
                              time-in. The only "right" way to do it is the way that
                              feels best to you and your child. Focus on your state
                              of *being*... Stillness. Groundedness. Presence.
                              Open to connecting.

                              When it goes well you might say, "That was a lovely
                              time-in, wasn't it?!" Your child will then associate
                              the word "time-in" with good feelings.

                              In Part 3, we'll look at how time-in can replace
                              time-outs when dealing with "problem behavior."

                              http://dailygroove.net/time-in-2

                              Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
                              (Please include this paragraph and everything above.)
                              Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

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