Monday, May 25, 2009

Operation Self-Esteem: The Results

Veteran moms and moms who get the discipline thing early probably know what I'm going to say.

"Operation Self-Esteem" where I decided to concentrate on building Logan's self-esteem by consistently praising him everyday for a week did not produce the miraculous results for which I had hoped. I saw very little change in our relationship and in his behavior. However, I think I know why it went wrong. It boils down to just two things.

Consistency: Operation Self-Esteem was not successful because it was a temporary operation. It didn't work because no matter how often you praise your child, you are just not going to see big results in just a week. It takes longer to build self-esteem. I'm in my late thirties and I'm still working on it. Look at me getting insecure about a bake sale. Could I be more ridiculous?

Sincerity: This is hard to say but sometimes I really am forcing myself to praise him. I have a feeling that kids can pick up on this. I know they do like it but I think that real praise must really come from the heart. It just can't be some exercise to improve behavior. I don't think it works that way.

For example, if Logan plays quietly for thirty minutes in his room, I will praise him for it. However, I can be most sincere and most effective if I truly believe that this is hard for him. This means that I must fully accept his disabilities. You'd think I have already. I even have a whole blog about it but when you have a kid that can be so bright sometimes, it's so easy for even me, his own mother, to forget that he has some very serious challenges. Perhaps, this is the biggest lesson I learned this week. I really have to know what is truly difficult for him so that I can help him learn to overcome it.

Picture: This is Logan's "cool trick" inspired by the show "Yo Gabba Gabba." This one is easy to praise.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I ran into your blog while searching the net related to OT. I'm a pediatric OT (from Cincinnati, OH) and want to let you know that 1) the stuff from Lucy Miller is brilliant and 2) I'm so impressed by the way you are working with your kids and then stepping back to re-assess your interactions with them. Your incite on "operation self-esteem" sounds totally on target as well: praise is only useful if it is sincere and building a child's self-esteem takes a lifetime of interactions.

It looks like you are in the new york area. Have you thought about doing yoga-based therapy with your kiddos? The Samarya Center in Seattle has developed an amazing yoga-based therapy called Integrated Movement Therapy that incorporates aspects of OT, PT, SP as well as explicit self-esteem enhancement. I believe that there are a few certified IMT therapists in the NYC area. If interested in learning more, google the Samarya Center... somewhere on the web page they have a list of everyone who is certified in IMT.

Thanks for sharing that great info from Lucy Miller and keep up the hard work!


Jenn said...

Thanks so much. It's so nice to have a professional visit this blog. I will look up IMT but I have to say, there are a long list of things I want to do for them and they all cost so much money. I think I'll blog about that. I think a lot of people go through this. There are lots of good ideas, so little time, and so little money.....