Stazjia’s Commentary

Posts Tagged ‘child

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Child Cruelty – Local Council Apologises

I didn’t want to write anymore about the case of Baby P because I find it immensely distressing and I can’t get out of my mind what that poor child suffered and how alone and distressed he was. That’s before I even think about the pain.

Yesterday a member of the ruling group of the local council, councillor George Meehan, apologised at a meeting. He said, “There is no failure to apologise in full by this council, we do so unreservedly.” When asked if he apologised personally, he said, “I have no problem saying I personally apologise.”  Now read more

Crybaby Waltz

Crybaby Waltz

OK, so this seems like an odd topic but I started thinking about it after seeing a normally good toddler being naughty for a while. I noticed something I’ve seen before in the interaction between parents and kids.

When the child is naughty, often one or both parents tells it to stop being naughty, or stop doing that, or generally tell the child off. Sometime one or both try to pacify the child and/or bribe it – “Here, darling, stop doing that and I’ll give you an ice cream” – something along those lines. When you’re not involved (ie one of the parents or other responsible adult) you can see that the child really wants attention. When he or she plays quietly, nobody takes any notice. If the child sits and watches TV, everybody ignores it. They get attention when they whine, throw a tantrum or start banging on the furniture with a hard toy.

When you’re training a dog, the value of positive reinforcement is usually stressed. When you’re training your dog to poop and wee outside, you aren’t supposed to punish it for doing it in the wrong place but when it does it outside you are told to go into raptures -“Good boy! What a clever dog! Good dog!” etc, etc. I know this works because I’ve used it on my own dogs for training them to do all sorts of things. It’s the principle of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. I want to know why more people don’t do it with kids?

Dogs and children love attention and they’ll do most anything to get it. To stop our dogs becoming a real nuisance we reward them with stroking and warm words when they are quiet or doing what we say. When our children play quietly or do as we tell them, we act as if it’s nothing much or say to ourselves “Thank goodness for a bit of peace and quiet”. No wonder children play up, it’s the only way to get us to notice them. OK, so being shouted at or told off isn’t as good as telling them they are a good boy or girl, or playing a game with them but it’s better than being ignored.

I truly believe we should use positive reinforcement with children. Praise them for being good, playing quietly, looking at their books, clearing their toys away. Give them rewards too, small things like a star on a chart on the kitchen wall would give them pleasure, it doesn’t have to be an expensive toy.

Teach them to do something. My grandmother (obviously a woman of infinite patience) taught me to embroider when I was about 6 years old. Because I had all the attention from her teaching me, of course I loved to embroider and still do it. That meant I spent long periods quietly doing my embroidery. She always praised what I’d done when I she looked at it or I showed it to her so I got on going rewards and she got some peace while I was doing it.

The other point about all this is that children nag when they want something. When I was a child, no meant no and we knew it. Once an adult had made a decision, that was the end of the matter. Nowadays, so often children will whine and nag, parents keep saying no, then they say later, not now, then they give in. What does that tell a child? It tells him or her that it pays to keep on till they get their own way. It’s bad enough in a two year old, just think what it’s going to be like telling a pubescent girl or boy they can’t go out with their friends till 3am. Then think of the possible consequences when they don’t take no for an answer.