Drug testing

How NOT to Motivate Your Children and Students

Chaim Ginott was a schoolteacher whose ideas and observations helped to bring about a near revolution in the way teachers interact with their young charges.

He later practiced as a psychologist.

The phone rang, he relates in one of his books, early on a Monday following Thanksgiving weekend. The woman on the line was clearly very agitated.

"Try and figure this out, if you can!" she pleaded.

"There we were in the car, the whole family. We drove four hundred miles, from Pittsburgh to New York. In the back of the car, little Ivan behaved like an angel, quiet and deep in thought..

"I said to myself, 'He deserves some praise.'

"Just as we entered the Lincoln Tunnel, I turned to him and said: 'You're such a good boy, Ivan. I'm proud of you.'

"A minute later, the sky fell on us..

"Ivan pulled out an ashtray and spilled its contents all over us. The ashes, the cigarette butts, and the smoke kept coming, like atomic fallout. We were in the tunnel in heavy traffic, and we were choking. If not for the cars around us, I might have murdered him!

"And what burned me up was I had just praised him. Isn't praise good for kids anymore?"

Ivan himself solved the mystery a few weeks later, in Ginott's office.

All the way home he had been wondering how to get rid of his younger brother, who was snuggled up between mother and father in front of the car.

Finally, the idea occurred to him that if their car were jackknifed in the middle, he and his parents would be safe, but the baby would be cut in two!

Just then his mother had congratulated him for being so good. The praise made him feel guilty. He felt he had to show that he did not deserve it. he looked around and saw the ashtray. The rest followed automatically.

Praise can be a highly powerful motivator. We know that. Workplace managers and supervisors know it, and adults who have enjoyed some success in the training of children certainly know it. Parents and educators have few weapons in their armory as potent as praise.

Instrument of destruction?

However, its correct use is a skill that needs to be learned, like any other. Any weapon that's not controlled is an instrument of destruction.

I've cited an extreme case here to make the point. But hopefully, make the point it does.

Chaim Ginott was a strong believer in what he called "congruent communication." "Congruent" means "consistent" or "harmonious." What he meant by the phrase is that our communication should be consistent with, or in harmony with, our ultimate objectives.

Well, what's new? Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, for many of us it's not so simple. Not at all.

I read about someone who recalled how she was having difficulties with math when she was in elementary school. Sensing her child's frustration, her mother took her aside and offered some well-intentioned encouragement:

" No one in our family is good in math. I wasn't good at math, your sister isn't good in math. No wonder you're having a hard time. I'm sure you'll be good at something else."

Consoling? Maybe. But if at the age of 30 or 40, the former struggling student still had the mathematical ability of an average 10 year old, would you be very surprised?

Unhelpful or unproductive messages that young people receive from their elders take many different forms.

Uncharacteristically moody

A friend recently told me that his eleven year old was uncharacteristically moody and subdued for a few weeks. It took him a while to figure that something must be bugging the lad at school. At first, the boy insisted that everything was OK, but eventually he blurted it all out.

He explained sadly that his teacher kept upsetting him with comments like:

"Another poor grade in the test this week. You could do much better, if you really wanted to."

"You say you find it difficult to concentrate in class? If you really wanted to, I'm certain you could..."

"Dad," moaned the hapless pupil. "I just don't understand this 'if you wanted to' business. Can it be possible? Does my teacher REALLY think I don't care? Surely he must know how much I'd like to be a better student, if only I could?"

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending. The father had a friendly, heart to heart chat with the teacher, who understood where he might have been making a mistake. Before long, the teacher's feedback had changed to:

"Your grade in this week's test was two percent better. Now that you're going up, perhaps you can manage another two percent hike next week?"

"You've concentrated for a solid twenty minutes this morning. You see yourself you can do it. Now, just try to manage for another ten minutes!"

Happy days!

Azriel Winnett is creator of Hodu.com - Your Communication Skills Portal. This popular free website helps you improve your communication and relationship skills in your business or professional life, in the family unit and on the social scene. New articles added almost daily.

In The News:

Longtime wildlife biologist Jim Ozier unties and then boards a small boat on Lake Jackson, an hour south of Atlanta.
The remains of two Civil War soldiers have been discovered in a surgeon’s burial pit at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia.
The famous ancient site at Stonehenge may have been built using Greek philosopher Pythagoras’ famous theorem two millennia before the mathematical equation was developed, experts say.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, rejoice! The summer season officially kicks off on Thursday, thanks to the summer solstice.
The University of California, Riverside, explained Monday in a news release that the moniker “honors President Barack Obama’s passion for science.”
When one of the ocean's top predators washes up dead on a beach, it's likely that something fishy must have happened. On Sunday (June 17), beachgoers found a juvenile male great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), weighing 500 pounds (225 kilograms), and reaching 8 feet (2.4 meter) long on Beer Can Beach in Aptos, California, near Santa Cruz, reported KION.
If a giant wave of plastic garbage washing up our shores seems like the stuff of science fiction, think again.
T. rex may have been a highly successful predator, but it would have been terrible at licking stamps, lollipops or popsicles, thanks to a tongue that was likely fixed to the bottom of its mouth.
A small space rock crashed into Mars recently, and NASA has captured an amazing view of its crater grave site, as well as the trail from an avalanche triggered by the impact.
New research suggests that a newly-discovered 'structure' in the San Andreas fault line could result in a massive earthquake, often referred to as the "big one."

The Challenges of Single Parenting

Having worked with parents for the last 35 years and... Read More

Real Monsters Under Your Bed

There may really be a real monster under your kid???s... Read More

What Julia Roberts has to Say about Motherhood

Julia Roberts recently gave birth to twins: Hazel and Phinnaeus.... Read More

Keep the Little Ones Safe, Follow Pool Safety Guidelines

Pool safety should be on the minds of every parent... Read More

If your child is being bullied - 20 top tips for parents

Keith is now in the fourth grade and he dislikes... Read More

Top Five Ways To Stay In Touch With Your Child

Once your little boy/girl goes off to school, you may... Read More

Kids, Chores & More

Are you a frustrated parent who sometimes finds it is... Read More

Teenagers in America Today

"Family Matters" was the headline that caught my attention in... Read More

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Many families do not want to believe their child is... Read More

New Baby ? Relax and Become a Yummy Mummy

Lets face it becoming a mum is a bit of... Read More

Is it Attention Deficit Disorder or is it Tourettes Syndrome?

During the assessment process it is of great importance for... Read More

How Public Schools Coerce Parents Into Giving Mind-Altering Drugs To Their Children

Despite the potentially dangerous side-effects of Ritalin, public school authorities... Read More

Misplaced Passion

"Before every action, ask yourself: Will this bring more monkeys... Read More

Learning Disabilities

There are so many learning labels floating around these days... Read More

MORAL ARMORS Irrational Parenting, Part I

"If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think... Read More

Every Mom Worries

Sitterphobe "I never have a second to myself," this mother... Read More

We All Wish That Our Children Have Good Virtues, But... Are We Setting A Good Example Ourselves?

We all wish that our children should not smoke or... Read More

How to Talk to Your Kids About Suicide: New Study Says it May Make Them Less Likely to Consider It!

This year alone, 1,600 teenagers aged 15 to 19 will... Read More

Send the Kids Outside!

Think back to your own childhood. Chances are, some of... Read More

Your Checking Account

Checking accounts are an absolute necessity these days. You can... Read More

Preventing Obesity in Young Children

Do you have a young child whose weight or eating... Read More

Homeschooling Takes Your Child Out of Public School --- A Unique Benefit

Home-schooling removes children from public school. That alone makes home-schooling... Read More

Guide to Choosing LEGO Toys for Children

If you're looking for toys that are both fun to... Read More

Lets Pretend

Children explore the world around them and learn through pretend... Read More

Whats in a Name?

My cousin boasts five names and I confess that when... Read More

induction tunnel induction self-ballasted Pete's produce ..