Praise means much more than bribery

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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Now the children are back at school there are many parents, including me, trying to get through the morning routine with as little drama as possible in the hope that they’ll get to that school gate on time.

Hopefully your children will be as co-operative as possible and do as they are told, when they are told, to ensure their name doesn’t appear in the school’s late book.

There are so many ways and means to try to get your children to do what you want them to do.

Some work really well and some don’t. It’s all about trial and error.

In the six years I’ve been a parent I’ve learned that the most common method of asking them to do something doesn’t always get the result I want.

In an ideal world, it should do and we’d like to tell everyone our children always do as they are told. Most of the time they do, but sometimes they don’t.

Some parents sometimes resort to bribery, which I admit I have been guilty of, albeit rarely.

For example, I’ll tell six-year-old Caitlin that if she tidies her room she can have a treat afterwards or if she brushes her teeth as soon as I tell her to, we might visit the park after school.

I’m not a fan of this technique because I don’t want to create a culture where my girls get a reward for performing normal, everyday tasks.

With time and experience I have learned there is a much better technique that seems to work every single time.

It’s so easy to do and it doesn’t involve sugary treats or half-an-hour of pushing Caitlin on the swings.

Do you remember that warm fuzzy feeling you got as a child when your parents or teachers praised you when you had demonstrated good behaviour?

It’s a great feeling that makes you feel valued and want to impress further.

As a parent I feel it is important that I do this to my children when they demonstrate good behaviour. I simply praise Caitlin when she has shown genuine effort in the hope she will also be proud of herself and will want to act in that way again.

I believe that if praise is always sincere, honest and focuses on a child’s effort and willingness to take on something new, whatever the outcome, it will produce good results and a confident child.

I’ve also learned it works both ways. Caitlin recently said how tasty the food was that I had cooked for her. Yes, I also felt warm, fuzzy and very proud of myself.