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Whale Done Parenting.

Ok I've just finished reading this book and while its nothing new, its a great reinforcement for me.

To be honest, i really dont like reading self-help books. It's always sooo utterly BORING! But Ken Blanchard's books are great. I have the One Minute Apology and it's such a light read, it's almost entertaining!

In this case, it is just the same. The message is simple but is reiterated thru different scenarios with a nice storyline. Don't bother remembering the names tho! Let me attempt to summarise what i understand if only to reinforce in my own head.
Basically, Positive Parenting encompasses these 3 steps:
  1. Setting your child up for success
  2. Ignoring / redirecting failures or mistakes or undesired behaviours
  3. Praising desired behaviour aka Giving a Whale Done! lol

Setting up for success is about arranging the situations so that your baby is less likely to make mistakes or would be primed for the desired action. Eg:

  1. Going to bed, make him nap less during the day so they'll feel sleepy by evening.
  2. In potty training or going to the dentist, make him associate these places with fun play. Meaning their first visit does not necessarily contain any action but just familiarisation.
  3. Telling him ahead of time what's expected of him, "Today we want to share toys."
  4. Time Out when the going gets tough.

Ignoring failures is important! Giving in to them will only reinforce the issue. Meaning if in the first place you said your baby can't have the sweet, but when he cried you relented, you're essentially saying that he will get what he wants if he throws a tantrum.

I can ignore a wailing toddler but not sure if i can a small baby. So that's when Redirecting skills come in handy. Again, nothing new here. We can attract his attention with something else. But what's pointed out in this book is to redirect to positive behaviour directly connected with the problem. Eg:

If he says NO to bathtime, ask him, "Would you like to wash (insert fav toy's name) for me, please?" <<--I've heard this strategy before but in naming it a redirection to something doable, it makes a lot of sense and can give more ideas for variation.

or

If he refuses to share his toy w another baby, say "Can i have a look at your toy? What's his name?"

And then comes the BIGGEST part of the step. PRAISING / REWARDING for good behaviour.

"Oh Baby you're so nice to have shared your toy with me!" "Well done for playing quietly while mummy and daddy talk."

Yes, we will always feel appreciated after being praised and everybody would like to receive some. A few pointers from the book though:

  1. Always vary your reward to keep the element of surprise hence the motivation to do as asked.
  2. Variety can include: food, physical like hugs, kisses, a pat on the back; verbal "Mummy loves you for being brave at the dentist!" "It makes me happy hearing you say Please and Thank You"
  3. Timing is everything. Immediacy to reward right after your child has done right so it will stick into his head that being good is great. Ahaks!
  4. Be careful not to reward for negative behaviours.
  5. Do not expect your child to do it right straight away but To praise even for small incremental achievements.
  6. Go all out to catch your child doing something good and praise him! and ignore when he does something annoying.

There are more to it than just these so you need to pick up the book to get the whole idea. I do have some confusions though like... How do i apply this to an infant who doesn't understand words yet?

I know i may be underestimating babies. But imagine, how do i tell him... "Would you like to give mummy that wire?" I guess they would say that IF he happens to give it to me then i should praise him and he would associate the word to the action. But if he doesn't??

And then, how do i understand what his cries mean since he can't express his wants yet. What? Do i leave him to cry? like when he wakes up at night crying. He sleeps next to me, I can't just ignore him now, can i? Or if he did sleep a bit longer, would he understand when i say, "Good job baby! You slept longer than usual. It helped mummy to do the housework. Shall we sleep all thru the night without waking up tonight?"

Often the trouble scenarios in the book would describe what they should have done or what to do the next time but never say what they do at that very moment! How do they get away from the scene???

If food is a treat, would giving him his dinner after bad behaviour reinforcing it too?

How do we know for sure that praising for small steps would make him do the whole thinga majig one day and not just stick there mid-progress? Wouldn't it confuse them when they revert to doing the wrong and we didn't say anything to it? I'm thinking of maybe... getting them to eat veges. We praise if he had taken a bite. But he refused the next bite and we kept quiet. He might think that this behaviour is condoned, won't he?

Now where can i meet Mr Blanchard to address all these lingering questions?

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2 glasses of Juice:

Dr. Success (TM) -- Andrea Goeglein, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful questions -- and I must say you are out of my area of expertise. Infant development, for me, is about one thing and one thing only -- love -- unconditional,continual,always delivered with a smile from your heart. How it turns out -- it turns out!

Jussaemon said...

WOW! Thanks Doc for taking time to reply! on my blog, no less!