the bad news is that M woke at 5 am to nurse. the good news is that she went back to sleep till after 7. which means that AP and i got to spend a good bit of time in the morning reading and talking and drinking coffee. and there’s just not too many things that i like better.
we were talking about the work of Alfie Kohn. AP has been reading Unconditional Parenting, and we’ve both also read Punished by Rewards. as interested as i am, as much as i want to like his ideas, something just isn’t right.
there is plenty that he does get right. he focuses on respecting your child, remembering just how old they are and what they are capable of doing, and not being rigid. these are such important, powerful ideas. it does me so much good to remember to not be consistent, to make room for exceptions to the rules, to eat ice cream in the morning on occasion.
but sometimes it seems like more of a program. like i need to be not quite myself in order to parent effectively. and that feeling centers on his insistence that praise as such is damaging to children. there are limits of course. praise isn’t always the right choice. sometimes we can ask questions and find out so much more about our children and the way they see the world. but sometimes i’m just happy or thankful and i want to express it. and maybe it points to the places where my love is conditional. but lots of times i just scoop her up and kiss on her and tell her how proud i am to know her, to have her in my life, to be her mama.
and you? what roll does praise play in your relationship with your children?