Friday, August 20, 2010

Good job!

When we were on our trip to Colorado last week, we stayed with one of my sorority sisters in Castle Rock (halfway between Denver and the Springs). Her husband is in the Air Force and she is a SAHM to a sweet 2.5-year-old girl. She mentioned to me that something that grated on her nerves when she would be at the playground was hearing parents tell their kids, "Good job!" We should praise our kids, though, right? Well, sure. But she's talking about when you say it for every - little - thing. "You're breathing! Good job!"

At first, I said I agreed with her. Over complimenting is a big source of why kids today are so darn egotistical. It's all about them. It's high time we started teaching them the world doesn't revolve around them. And they won't believe us anyway if it's empty praise. I looked good up on my soapbox.

And then, it happened. I heard myself tell our 3-year-old "good job" about ten times in the next five minutes. For stupid stuff. Yikes! Do I really sound like that? All the time? OMG. My friend and I laughed about it. She said she realized she did it more than she thought, too, and had worked at rephrasing it to be more specific, and really thinking before saying anything at all. Um, have we met? I'm not so hot at thinking before speaking. But I'm TRYING. Very hard not to say it. It's become a bit of a joke between DH and me. Whenever one of us says it, we point it out.

Clearly there could be worse things we say to our kids. And it's especially difficult right now because every time we turn around, our 9-mo-old is doing something new, so saying "Good job!" really does apply to her pulling up, taking steps, eating on her own, etc. But saying it to our 3-year-old who has said, "Mommy, Mommy watch me!" when she's jumping to the floor from the couch repeatedly is probably not the best use of praise. And it is really annoying to hear it coming out of your mouth once you've become aware of it.

So what's your "Good job!" phrase you're trying to eliminate from your vocabulary?

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