All of those papers I wrote to graduate and projects I compiled to get the “real world experience” of being a teacher has rolled into being a basis for my parenting. Except with parenting, I can’t turn in my kids at the end of the school year and hope for a better set of students after Summer break.
Call it a drawback or a blessing, we don’t get a do-over with an all new set of metrics on which to measure our children’s growth handed to us with in-service trainings on how to make the most with a shitty kid or bad situation.
(If you’re not a teacher or don’t know what goes on behind the Teacher’s Lounge door, it’s a mess of bureaucratic mayhem, each school year’s benchmark requirement more ridiculous than the last. Be kind to your kids’ teachers; it really isn’t their fault your kid doesn’t have recess or time to finish eating their lunch.)
What’s the easiest and one of the most effective way I show my kid’s how much they’re loved and respected and thus being perfect children?
This tool in the teacher’s arsenal is the one I thought was the most ridiculous. At the time, I was not yet a parent nor had I stepped foot into an elementary classroom in 15 years. Much like a 12-year-old, I thought I was smarter than the adults.
It didn’t feel natural to tell students, or anyone else for that matter, “Good work looking up that word so quickly,” or “You’re a superstar speller!” It seemed to take too much effort to be specific with what I was complimenting. But hearing, “Good job!” or “I love you!” isn’t enough for kids, or for adults for that matter.
I know you’re asking, “Angie, what the hell are you talking about? I need specific examples!”
You’re with your kids standing in line at Toys R Us for way longer than should be allowed by law. Your kids are being well-behaved, they’re not annoying other people in line, and they’re not begging incessantly for the tub of factory-made cotton candy taunting them.
You think, WOW, my kids are actually behaving, so you tell them, “Good job!”
What exactly are you complimenting? Are you saying, “Good job!” to your kid for standing still for more than 4 seconds or “Good job!” for not actually killing her brother with her bare hands or “Good job!” for not being a pissant and begging for everything in sight?
You see your kids poking one another in the eyeballs.
You think, WOW, my kids are being little jerks, so you tell them, “Stop that!”
Tell them specifically what you’re complimenting or correcting. Otherwise, they won’t know exactly what you’re telling them you appreciate.
They could have just been stuffing their pockets with candy when you weren’t looking, and hearing “Good job!” from you could mean you complimented their ability to shoplift.
They could have just been digging out sleep boogers from one another’s eyes. Now you’ve just told your kid not to take care of his sister, so when she thinks of a career as a stripper, your son won’t think to take care of his sister, so she ends up as an escort, stuck in a life of crime just like in the movies.
Good job on raising your kids to be thieves, MOM. Your lack of specificity has just set up your kids for a future in the penal system, and not the good kind.
The penal system is a bad, bad place for your kids to end up. Without specific praise or specific corrections, your kids are doomed to be featured on Lockup: Raw.
You’ll pretty much have to thank me at your kids’ college graduations.
Here’s a simple photographic example of my kids doing wrong (and right) as seen on Shit My Kids Ruined.
Stay tuned for more in my series on how to raise perfect children.
1. Specific Praise
2. “You is important.”
3. Positive Correction
4. Let Them Eavesdrop
5. Believe Them (to a point)
(Subject to change if/when I think of anything better or if I get suggestions. Also, this series subject to end at any point if I forget or get bored with my lessons.)