Sorry for the gap in posting...not sure why I lost my bloggy momentum there for a week or so, but hopefully I can get back into it--the grandparents have been clamoring for more photos of Lo!
First, a mention of General Conference. It took about a week to finish my first-time viewing of the speakers since I napped, took care of Lo Lo, etc. during some of the sessions and had to catch up. Every time we listen to conference, I come with a specific concern/question in mind. And EVERY time it gets answered. =)
I had been wondering about praise, and how to implement it in parenting. First, I'd read a few books that cautioned against the potential dangers of praise (Deci's Why We Do What We Do, and Kohn's Unconditional Parenting), and their arguments made sense when I considered my own experiences and education. Then, I read in my nursery manual that we should praise the children--but it didn't give much explanation of how/when. So I still wondered how to implement that counsel. I won't go into all the points here on this blog entry, but just say Jerry and I are trying to raise our Lo to do things for the right reasons, and hope he grows into an adult who feels joy in following his heart and freedom from worrying what others think of him. We want him to avoid doing things just to please others but still nurture in him a desire to please God of course. I felt unsure of how to guide our toddler's actions, because it can seem so effective in the short term to use rewards and punishments but the research indicates people generally perform less effectively over time when praised for a particular action. Furthermore, rewards can train children to act primarily for external and/or selfish motivations--forming a "what's in it for me" mentality. Ugh, I feel like I'm not explaining very well. I am really out of practice at academic writing.
Anyway, the talk by Elder Lynn G. Robbins turned out to be "the one" for me this conference. I liked how he pointed out parents should praise "being" more than "doing," like saying, "You really showed diligence when you worked on that homework assignment." Instead of saying, "Good job getting your homework done." And also he indicated it works best to complement character traits, i.e. "I'm happy you have such a willing heart to serve around the house," rather than "I'm happy you are cleaning up your toys." And of course, parents should teach and talk about Christlike attributes like patience, kindness, and charity in helping their children become like our Savior. In so doing, parents themselves learn to follow and become more like the Savior as well. A beautiful example of how the teacher often learns more than the student. I feel really grateful for the blessings I receive in parenting our sweet little Lo. I have the concrete help I'd been seeking--at least for the next little while. I love General Conference!