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.