Not all praise is created equal

April 17, 2016

I read this article Good Boy: There’s a Better Way to Praise Your Kids – it is a good read for all parents, especially parents of toddlers.   It is a study that follows mother-child interactions over the course of five years and to see how parental praise impacts a child’s development.

The study clearly shows that the kind of praise children receive affects their attitudes later in life, particularly that that praise with feedback helped children cope with difficult situations better than compliments.  The article also goes on to say “Praising the efforts, actions and work of the kid is going to be more beneficial in their long-term persistence and [desire] to be challenged and work hard in the future.”

They referred to this as “process praise” which includes comments such as “You worked really hard” or “You’re doing a great job,” which emphasize the child’s actions. “Person praise”, or what I call compliments, includes comments like “You’re so smart” or “You’re so good,” which focus on a child’s inherent qualities.

Another revelation from the study involved how we tend to praise boys and girls differently.  In the study parents gave boys and girls the same amount of praise, but boys received 24% process praise, while girls received only 10% of this type. The inequality could have consequences for how girls evaluate their abilities as they progress in school and may play a role in some of the self-esteem issues that become more common among teens and adolescents.

Coming up up down South where girls are bred to be thin, pretty, and preferably quiet I find this particularly interesting.  Little Southern Belles in training are frequently praised for their God-given or plastic surgeon purchased looks but, aside from their ability to plan a lovely party, are rarely praised for the traits we find so praise worthy in men.  On the contrary, we are often faulted for having some of the same traits.  A man is driven, a lady is “overly aggressive”.

I was just half-joking with a female colleague a few days ago about this very thing.  Why we wondered is a man described with words such as assertive, self-started, motivated, and “driven” when a lady with the same traits is not considered a lady at all but rather a witch spelled with a capital B?


Letting down while letting go…

August 16, 2013

I just sold the breast pumps I used while nursing Jellybean. I am having separation anxiety.

Crazy thing happened when I pulled the pumps out to get them ready for their new owner, I had the ‘letting down’ sensation and an strong urge to nurse. I wonder if that has ever happened to anyone else before.

Time out for behavior issues?

January 2, 2013

I read some good advice today on using time out to change negative behaviors…

When children are doing things that are unwelcome or dangerous, redirection is the key. Sitting in time out with your child is also key when trying to TEACH the correct way to behave. Time out is not meant to be a place where kids go to be forgotten. ‘Time out’ is time to think about the situation at hand. If “Johnny” is hitting then take Johnny to the nearest step,seat, curb, or spot away from his actions and say “We are taking a time out, we don’t hit. Hitting hurts.” Sit with him and hold him gently and lovingly. Time out should not be bad. Who can think straight when they are mad? If Johnny hits you when you sit with him, hold his hands and repeat the same words a little more firmly. Then quickly remind him “When you are nice, we can go back and play” Children act out because they want attention. Give positive attention for positive behavior. Give positive examples when they are using negative behaviors. If “Johnny” hit his friend, lovingly dote on the friend and say “I am SO sorry Johnny hit you, hitting isn’t nice. I don’t hit MY friends” and then hug or cuddle the friend. Johnny will be watching and seeing you give that attention….chance are, he’ll want to be a part of THAT. People who put kids in cribs or their rooms aren’t teaching the kids anything, simply moving the annoying kid away from them and increasing the chances of angry, bad behavior.

I also had someone suggest that when we are having a an issue with a particular item (either not wanting to share a toy or turn off the iPad), to put the problem toy or item in time out. I am not sure how Dora the Hamster would like being on top of the refrigerator but the next time we have a tantrum over the iPad I think we may be putting it in time out!

Baby Sea Turtles – oh my!

September 10, 2012

One of my earliest memories as a little girl was of my parents taking me out of bed in the middle of the night in my white nightgown with red ribbons and down to the beach. I remember being totally disoriented until I saw this MAMMOTH animal with a crowd of people around it. I also remember my parents debating if I was old enough to ride the turtle back down to the surf the way Daddy did when he was a boy.

Edisto Beach is still prime nesting ground for the great sea turtles but some things have changed. Nowadays not only do we not ride the turtles back into the ocean after laying their eggs, we do everything we can not to disturb the mamma to be from her task. Also, when the babies hatch our assistance in getting them to the ocean is limited to providing little blockades to get them turned around again. (They say the hatchlings ‘feel’ the beach they are walking on and then it is ingrained into their brain and that is how they know where to come back to lay eggs every year).   With everything that changes though, many things stay the same!  The only thing more exciting to see than the mammoth turtle laying her eggs is the sight of all the little hatchlings crawling out and making their way into the sea.  As a mom myself, the only thing that topped watching the hatchlings was the look on Jellybean’s face as she watched a little turtle walk right between us as we were burying our feet in the sand.

Baby Sea Turtles first walk on the beach.

Dental Fun

July 28, 2012
Examining the Instruments

Checking out the dentist’s gadgets

This week marked yet another first for little Jellybean as we went for her very first appointment with the dentist.  She embraced the visit like everything else she does in life, with gusto!  From the moment we walked in the office of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry she was ready for prime time! She started by finding the play area that was designated “just for kids” and happily played a computer game with another unsuspecting toddler.

When we were called back, she reluctantly left her new friend and skipped back into the inner sanctum of the dentist’s office. Much to my surprise, instead of being ushered into a tiny little room with a big chair and scary torture gadgets, we were led into a wide open room with toys and puppets on the walls, two dental chairs, and a nice view of the skyline. There was another little girl a few years older than Jellybean sporting a pair of cool sunglasses and relaxing in the other chair but before they could bond over the dental experience our hygienist came out and introduced JB to all of the instruments they would be using for her teeth cleaning.

Wait!  Did she say teeth cleaning?! Mommy was a bit shocked. Honestly, I do not know what I expected on her first visit to the dentist: an introduction to dental health, tooth brushing lessons, a little exam but a full-scale cleaning?  On a not yet three year-old? Metal things poking in her mouth, loud noises whirling around her head, yucky tasting stuff in her mouth, and having to keep her mouth open for so long with a vacuum in there…I was terrified for her!  Furthermore, I did not want to traumatize my child to the point she would refuse to ever set foot in a doctor’s office again!

Teeth Cleaning

Getting all of her little teeth cleaned

The hygienist did a great job of re-assuring me that everything would be okay and if JB appeared uncomfortable she would skip the cleaning part of the visit and move right onto dental education. I could live with this arrangement; I just had to be brave for my little Jellybean.

While I entertained her with a horse puppet, the hygienist got everything set up and JB got comfy in her chair with her own cool pair of pink sunglasses!  As she got her teeth cleaned she held Mommy’s hand and watched everything that was going on around her with complete fascination and not once did she flinch!

Once her teeth were cleaned she then got a demonstration on proper teeth cleaning with the help of an alligator and a huge toothbrush.  Never one to let me relax for too long, we all jumped for the toothbrush when she began using her own teeth to show how she brushed her teeth at home!

Finally, Dr. Angela came out for the finale and examined her teeth, counted them all, and gave another pep talk on the importance of taking care of her teeth.

An A+ for Jellybean!

Look Mommy! Pink sunglasses and a matching mirror too!

Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, we were done!

My girl handled the visit like a pro! I would like to flatter myself into thinking it was my calming presence but I have to give credit to Dr. Angela and her staff – they did a fabulous job walking her through the entire process so she would know what to expect and not be afraid. Honestly, I felt a bit like Grover at the end of “The Monster at the End of This Book” when he said “and you were so scared”.

At the end of the visit she got an A+, a cool new toothbrush, a bouncy ball, a Mickey Mouse sticker, AND a cool princess prize!  What a great visit and another awesome first for Jellybean!

I can swim! (not)

July 26, 2012

We have been trying to get little Jellybean comfortable putting her head underwater and, while she has the occasional breakthrough, she is still not quite there yet.

After spending some quality time floating on her back, practicing arm strokes, and going almost under water (read: dunking her chin in the water) we decided to take a break and watch the  5-7 year old swim class.  While hanging onto the edge of the pool, watching her older friends really swim she became inspired and decided she could swim too!  The exchange went like this:

JB: Excitedly says “Mommy, Mommy, I can do it!  I am going to do it!”
Me: “You are going to hold your breath and go underwater?”
JB: “No Mommy, I am going to swim! I can do it!”

Before I could get a word in edgewise she mimicked the older class and pushed herself off the side of the pool, kicking and splashing her arms with all of her might she lasted about three seconds, before she sank.

As I lifted her up above water I suggested we try learning the basics first like holding our breath under water and she said no, she would like to stick with her floaties for now.

Talk about peer pressure being a motivator!  Let’s hope that was not too much of a setback!

Here Come the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer…

July 2, 2012

This weekend marked Jellybean’s first trip down the aisle…as a flower girl. To be completely honest, we were a little nervous as to how our 2.5 year old bundle of energy was going to perform but in the end, and with the help of the very mature six-year-old ring bearer, she was outstanding!

This is just a quick clip from the rehearsal on Friday afternoon.

I must say, she does appear to have all of the enthusiasm of a bride to be! Could this be a sign of things to come? God help us!