Failure IS an Option/No More Good Job: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 20 and 26 (Week 11)

Published on: November 9, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Books

Views: 13383

What If Book Study Marketing PicThis week we are discussing Chapter 20: Failure Is An Option and Chapter 26: No More Good Job. Kelly Pfeiffer will provide insight and lead our discussion this week. Just joining us? Get all the book study details HERE.


Kelly PfeifferFailure Is an Option – Chapter 20
When I was invited to be a part of the blog about What If…? I specifically asked if I could write about Chapter 20, Failure Is an Option. I have strong connections to this idea personally and professionally. In this chapter, Rae Pica asks, “Where do children of such a tender age learn that failing to come in first is failing, and that making a mistake is the worst thing they can do?”

An individual’s belief about his or her own personal capability begins its formation early in life.

Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn
As a Positive Discipline Trainer for parents and parent educators, I’ve been teaching a concept called, “Mistakes arewonderful opportunities to learn” for the past fourteen years. “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” is one of the Positive Discipline Guidelines. It’s a key philosophical component in Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline books and is integrated into many of the Positive Discipline parenting tools.

The idea that there is anything “wonderful” about mistakes can be quite a hard sell to parents in Positive Discipline classes. As Rae Pica writes in “What If . . . ?” many parents hold the “belief that perfection is the only route to a successful future.” Parents are afraid of the unfamiliar and uncomfortable idea that “failure is an option.”

I think parents are afraid because of negative experiences they remember about failures from childhood. If those parents were blamed and shamed as children when they made mistakes, then I understand the need to shield children from the painful experience of feeling blame and shame. So in an effort to do things better for their children, some parents decided to rescue kids from failure.

What if parents taught kids that failure is part of the process in climbing the ladder of success? What if parents encouraged children to expect setbacks, to persevere and to redefine what it means to feel capable?

Helping Parents Understand the Benefits of Failure and Mistakes
In Positive Discipline parenting classes, I ask parents to . . .

“ . . . think of an accomplishment that you feel especially proud about.”

Next I instruct them to . .

“. . . think about the mistakes and struggles you encountered in working towards that accomplishment.”

Lastly I ask them,

“What skills and beliefs did you gain from working through those mistakes and struggles?”

I write those skills and beliefs on a flip chart so the whole class can see those words such as

  • confidence
  • courage
  • problem solving
  • creativity

Those skills and beliefs always line up with what parents really want to foster in their children.

Important Discussions about Mistakes and Imperfections
When telling stories at bedtime, parents might consider tales of real life struggles such as Colin Powell was once a C-minus student and Dr. Suess’s first book was rejected by 27 book publishers. Those and other uphill struggles are included in Grit to Great [Crown Business; First Edition, 2015] by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. Even more powerful, parents can share age appropriate stories of their own struggles in life with their children.

Another tip I offer to parents is to talk about mistakes often with kids and discuss mistakes as a regular part of conversation. Some families already have a sharing time during dinner – a time when each member shares about a positive moment from the day. What if some nights could be for each member to share a mistake they made that week and what they learned from it or how they recovered from it?

There are many ways to let children know that no one expects them to be perfect. Sometimes after my own child made a mistake and I knew that she was embarrassed about it, I would say to her, “If they lined up all of the 13 year olds in the whole world and asked which one I want, I would say, ‘That one right there with the blond hair and the green eyes like mine!’”

No More “Good Job!” – Chapter 26
“Sure, hearing ‘good job’ the first few times – or receiving a sticker or a gold star – may make a child feel good. But the feeling is temporary,” offers Rae Pica in What If . . . ?  I agree with Pica that children will not gain self-esteem based on what others think – because that’s called “other-esteem.”

Good Job is Not What Children Want or Need
Of course we all enjoy the admiration of others, but as most of us have come to know, it’s what we think of ourselves that matters the most. If we want to raise children who are capable and who feel capable, we must encourage them to reflect on their own attempts, mistakes, risks and accomplishments.

One might make the point that children are begging for our approval. Every day little voices literally call to adults to, “Come look!” or “Hey, see what I did!” I will counterpoint that it is not our approval that children seek. They seek our emotional attunement. They want us to get excited with them, to share in their joy, not to pass judgement on the accomplishment.

Rewards Promote Co-Dependency
“But the child who has come to expect extrinsic rewards – who has become convinced that everything she does is worthy of praises or prizes – will be the adolescent or adult who can’t handle life’s realities.” If you are a child who is always looking to others for approval, then you become dependent on the judgment of others. You’re an approval junkie. Your self-esteem doesn’t exist if there is no one there to clap for you.

Give Encouragement, Not Praise
Another big component of the Positive Discipline philosophy is an idea taught by Rudolph Dreikurs, who taught that, “Children need encouragement like a plant needs water. In Positive Discipline [Ballantine Books, 2006], Jane Nelsen writes plenty about the concept of encouragement and how it is different from praise. Jane explains that praise is similar to sweets in a healthy diet. A little praise included with a healthy, consistent dose of encouragement is fine. But a sweets only diet would be harmful.

So when my son graduates from college this December, I will most definitely say, “I’m very proud of you” but I will also say, “That took tons of hard work and dedication” and I will ask him, “How does it feel now for you to be at this point?”

In her web article about praise versus encouragement, Nelsen wrote, “Encouragement is helping your children develop courage – courage to grow and develop into the people they want to be, to feel capable, to be resilient, to enjoy life, to be happy, contributing member of society”, and, as Dreikurs said, “To have the courage to be imperfect;” to feel free to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Kelly Pfeiffer
Twitter: @PosDisPARENTING


Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 20 and 26  and about the commentary Kelly has provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 21: Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age?, Chapter 22: Just Say No to Keyboarding in Kindergarten, and 23: iPads or Playdoh (11/16/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

57 Responses to Failure IS an Option/No More Good Job: Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapters 20 and 26 (Week 11)

  1. Rae Pica says:

    Kelly, thanks for this wonderful post! Offering information on how early childhood professionals can connect with parents over these often-difficult issues is so important. And I especially appreciated your comment that children are seeking emotional attunement, as opposed to our approval! So thought-provoking.

    Re: encouragement vs. praise, I recently hosted a Studentcentricity episode on just that topic. “Encouraging Students Vs. Praising Students: Why It Matters” can be found here:

  2. Scott says:

    Over the course of time, my responses to kids calling “Come look at this!” have changed. Now I usually say, “I see. Tell me how you did that.” OR “Tell me about it.” This gives the child an opportunity to talk about his process and his accomplishment (whatever he deems that is). And it gives me some specific ways I can respond about what he did. He does the noticing and I echo that back. I’m still working through the best ways to encourage (vs praise) but following the child’s own words about it has become an effective way for me.

  3. Jane says:

    The broadcast one the value of encouragement was so helpful in recognizing what children really need to follow their own strengths. Your gift of time devoted to children is appreciated.

    Scott ,
    I really like how you are giving the child your attention and encouraging them by giving of your time to listen.

  4. Rae Pica says:

    Jane, I’m so glad you found the radio segment informative!

  5. Jen Nagorski says:

    No More “Good Job” is just what I needed to read! I always find myself using lots of praise after patients do the hard work that we have to do in the hospital (lab draws, IV placements, and other procedures), and sometimes I forget to follow it up with encouragement. Of course, nurses, parents, and I are always providing support and encouragement during difficult procedures, but it’s good to remember to acknowledge the child’s courage and ask them how they thought it went. Not only does this help build the child’s self-esteem, but it also allows us for feedback and to work with the child and family to make a plan for what might work better for next time. Ultimately, my goal when preparing and supporting children though these types of experiences is to allow them to build the self- confidence and efficacy to develop into adults who confidently and appropriately participate in their own healthcare needs. This goal is definitely best supported by through encouragement and problem-solving support more often than praise.

    I can’t wait to listen to the BAM Radio segment 🙂

  6. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Praise Vs. Encouragement is a topic I discuss with parents throughout the year and I try to model the difference to them in the classroom so the can also see their children’s responses to each type of comment. With parents I point out that this takes practice. We are very used to using praise phrases. I find this happens even more with the families I work with because of the amount of distraction they have. I had to make a rule in my classroom that parents are not allowed to have their phone out when they are supposed to be interacting with their child. I stress that taking time and being authentic with what we say to our children is so important. If we want them to listen to us, we need to listen to them.
    I believe that part of the reason that we have such a high anxiety rate and a fear of failing is because our expectations of young children is too high. We have talked about this in past chapters but I really do see the increase amount of very young children fearful of failing. So terrified that they won’t even try a task because they are afraid of the outcome. Again like Kelley stated it all comes back to modeling. Talking to children about how we mess up and have to try, try try again. Giving them time to process and problem solve instead of rushing to fix or do something to make it all better is another thing I stress to parents. If we want them to be able to be independent thinkers we have to give them the time to think.

  7. Jane says:

    It was nice to hear your comments I do agree children need time to think. It is very interesting/ puzzling to see parents hand a very young child a screen – phone, I pad or what ever they have in their hand at school event, in the waiting room, in a restaurant, in the doctors office – when they could have use the waiting time for much more valuable communication , brain development, and building relationships. As teachers it is important to model appropriate conversations with children .

    Sent from my iPad

  8. Dianne says:

    I found these chapters interesting. I do see many children who truly are afraid of failure and it is sad to see them shy away from trying new and/or challenging things just because they are afraid of not doing it perfectly. Unfortunately you see a lot of that in our society. Many adults push for success and reward for success and not effort. I had a teenager tell me that it isn’t about how hard you try but whether or not you succeed at it. That made me very sad to hear that he believed that.

    In response to the chapter No More “Good Job”, I do find myself saying that more than I should and I need to work on that. I had a funny incident happen last week in my daycare. I had a three year old boy come up to me when I was feeding my infant a bottle. He stood in front of me and said, “you are doing a really good job feeding the baby. I am so proud of you!” I thanked him and he said, “You are so welcome.” I just had to laugh after he walked away and think how much they really do pick up on when we don’t even realize it. Children are constantly taking things in and processing them in their minds.

  9. Kim Woehl says:

    Failure is how we learn. Practice makes better. Why do young children try, try again while others move onto other things might be linked to gaining their own self concept. I have seen people take the easy A and I have seen others who work incredibly hard to get the C. Taking the easy A as was shared in chapter 20 definitely isn’t setting up children for later success.

    I still catch myself saying “good job” from time to time, but it is never alone. It is always followed by what this child has done well. I often follow it up with a question such as, “what do you think you might try next time to make it better? I do think we live in a society where we expect instant gratification.

    I have seen more children that I would describe as “explosive” and I do think that we have a direct connection to entitlement and now expectations. What we need to do instead is work to teach children to make better choices, practice more, be accountable for their own actions. As we learned in chapter 26, “children are unable to cope with the slightest of frustrations”, who are aggressive, demanding, impatient, disrespectful, etc. What we need to do is work on social skills, teach children to work hard for their own selves instead of looking for “atta boys” from others. We hold the cards in guiding children into seeing how they can better themselves and why it would benefit them to do so.

  10. Cindy Kish says:

    I agree with failure is a option. When I hear a parent talk about not failing in sports or learning, I ask them so if your child shouldn’t fail does that mean when they were learning to walk and fell down should we have said “Oh you failed don’t do that again!”. Of course not and the parents usually take the time to think about how many times they were learning to walk, talk, eat, etc their child failed and keep on working at it. I also remind my parents that every one has their special talent and we may not know what their child’s is yet, but if they get trying and yes some times failing we will find it and have a lot of fun on the way. I also talk with them and the kids about how some things were invented by accident and were called failures at first. This is a good chance for both children and parents to learn. I usually add some thing in my daily plans to cover this when I find it happening to one of the families in my care. Again it is a good time to learn and no family feels I have singled them out.

  11. Diana M says:

    These chapters made some very excellent points! I have already seen at the preschool age how children don’t think it’s OK to fail! They make a mistake and immediately just give up! I know I have been guilty of that myself, just gigging up when something doesn’t work the first time. I also would like to point out that in this world of instant gratification, we have sort of lost the desire to persevere, to explore things for ourselves because why would we when we can so easily pop online and find a solution within seconds? But I digress. In response to the chapter “no more good job” I paid attention to what I said the next day and it’s amazing how often that phrase “good job” slipped just out of habit! It’ll take some work, but I’ve been really trying to make more insightful and encouraging comments!

  12. Rachel D says:

    The chapter all about “good job” just reminded me of something that I heard in one of my trainings for my job as a preschool teacher. They said that we need to start saying more affirmations to the children and less positive reinforcements. Stating that children actually respond better to the affirmations. Upon hearing that statement I tried it in my preschool classroom and found that when I stop saying, “good job” I focus more on telling that child what I actually notice them doing. Bringing the skill they are using into light and not just giving them a “fake” praise. I know that over time it will be second nature to give affirmations. I’m just glad I learned about this early on so I can start applying it with my students.

  13. Kelsie Brandl says:

    “They want us to get excited with them, to share in their joy, not to pass judgement on the accomplishment.”
    “Your self-esteem doesn’t exist if there is no one there to clap for you.”
    I think it’s an awesome idea for kids to be taught that failure is a part of learning. I don’t even like the word failure. Or the letter F. It has such a negative connotation. Letter grades suck too. Pass or fail system instead. But not use the word fail, of course.
    But yes. If you don’t succeed, try try again. One never fails. They simply just have to try again.
    I work with toddlers, so when they bring you food they cooked in their little kitchen, eat it with excitement and swallow it all! No matter how many plates of pizza or chicken nuggets they bring you.
    Great read!

  14. Samantha Miller says:

    I find myself saying the dreaded good job even when I know that it is not affective. I do strive to talk to the children about things they do instead of saying good job. Children who are praised constantly over things that they should be doing only come to expect a reward for everything they do! I was good so I deserve something in return. When they grow up they only turn into adults who think they should get everything handed to them or get rewarded for things that they should be doing anyway. There are so many other things that we can say instead of good job. I want to make a list of positive things to say that encourages growth and learning. How important it is to help children become confident well adjusted adults!

  15. Freda says:

    Why are children expected to be perfect? I’ve often heard parents brag about how intelligent their kids are and how they expect nothing less in their grades from school. Makes me wonder if they as parents never failed in anything before. We all want the best for our children but over pushing them above their ability will eventually end up hurting them. When our kids excel in any area in life, we as adults should be truthful with them and likewise when they fail. Love should be shown in both circumstance. We help them better their ability when we keep encouraging them to improve.

  16. Nikki Shapiro says:

    This is such a huge topic in todays day and age. We are at a place where no one is a winner and all children receive trophies and ribbons for just showing up. Those children that are dedicated and work hard, deserve to be recognized, and they get so frustrated when the child next to them that hasn’t done any work receives the same praise. That is not at all how life works and we are setting our children up for failure in the real world. I see this over and over with parents who solve their childs problems for them. Instead of asking what the child thinks could be done and guiding them to a possible solution, mom and dad just do it for the child. The child no longer is learning problem solving skills or critical thinking skills.

    An above poster brought up praise vs affirmation. I like this clarification and I have been catching myself saying “good job” and trying to change my approach and language. I try to use phrases that are more open ended “tell me about your picture”, “your structure is interesting, can you tell me about X” or “today you used lots of purple and pink.” More observations and less non genuine praise. The pendulum swings both directions and right now we are at the top of the swing when it comes to childhood praising. It will be nice to see that pendulum come back to the center and a more realistic approach to encouraging and affirming children, and allowing them to learn from their mistakes and hard work.

  17. Marcy Dragseth says:

    Chapter 20 runs dear to my heart. Early on we tried to instill in our children that everyone makes mistakes. We discussed this numerous times in their younger years up to their teenage age years. We discussed the importance from learning from those mistakes. And that making mistakes is a part of our lives.

    I have witnessed first hand in my daycare children them becoming upset if they are not winning a game or do not win the game. I try to stress to them that not being the winning person is ok. And that the important thing is you should be having fun playing the game. That not being the winning person is ok.

  18. Kelly North says:

    Just yesterday I had an experience with “good job” and its effect on a young child. A friend of mine came to visit and brought her 3 year old child. After playing with other toys for awhile she decided to do a puzzle and wanted us to “watch”. Her mother ended up helping her some, but when she got done her mom said “good job” and clapped for her, so she decided to do it again, and again her mom helped her. This time when she was done(we were adult talking at this point) neither one of us said or did anything, but seconds later she started to grab her moms arm and just pointed to the puzzle, when her mom realized what she was after her mom said “good job”, but she also asked her mom to clap, this went on for at least 3 more puzzles and when her mom wouldn’t respond she would whine until she did.

  19. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    Very good point on Encourage and support rather than praise. Let kids know that we all make mistakes sometime and we just need to remember next time, and that’s how we learn new things, we take risks and explore new things. Very useful information on “stop saying good job or good girl/boy”, instead to name what the child did and accompany the statement with a facial expression and tone that convey pleasure. This is a great tip for me, thank you so much!

  20. Kirsten Barie says:

    I enjoyed reading both of these chapters. “Failure Is Not An Option” seemed to resonate with me this week since, at Vacation Bible School, we are talking about creations and inventions. Part of the message of the week is that sometimes we succeed and create something fabulous, but other times we fail and that’s ok. We just learn from our mistakes and keep trying. It is a great message to send to young people.
    “No More Good Job” also hit home with me since I am guilty of it. I try to be very aware of my responses to children and ask a question about how they did it, etc… But I do admit that there are times when I am rushed and say the old “Good job!”. I am working on my responses and how they are delivered.

  21. Steph Kallinen says:

    I should probably start counting how many times I say good job everyday because I know I am guilty of this. It just comes out!

    I completely agree with a previous poster about how much “participation ribbons” are hurting our kids. They get awards for zero effort. What is it going to be like when all these kids enter the work force?? “I’m here….where’s my pay check?”! Should be interesting.

  22. Kathryn says:

    Too much emphasis is being placed on children to be nothing but perfect . I believe that and agree that placing that kind of pressure creates nothing but trouble including physical ailments, metal health problems, and emotional turmoil when they can’t perform to that level in school and in life. This lead children who are incapable of taking risks or trying new ways to do things or solve problems. I have come to find out, especially teaching preschool, that using positive and informative praise works more effectively that “Good job” or “Great work”. I feel that using more personalized statements creates a more positive outcomes for everyone involved. I like to use statements such as “I really like the way you ______” or “You did a marvelous job at _________”. These get better reactions than just blanket statements.

  23. Samantha says:

    I’m horrible with the good jobs. My son is can be very behavioral, so I feel like when he is good I’m like good job and awesome job. I have learned alot about teach him and encourage him. We also are not a competive family. So my son sees failures and we discuss what needs works and what he did great at. Watching my son fail makes me hurt so much inside. I remind him how much I love him and try again. I love how this chapters make me think twice about what I’m doing now and what my mom did years ago.

  24. Shari Ernst says:

    I love this quote. “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” I want to post this on the wall of my daycare. Its so true. We all learn from our mistakes and it makes us better people. Well a majority of us anyways. 🙂 I also strongly believe that a lot of the feelings of failure come from the parents and media. To bad there is not a mandatory book for parents to read. We as educators can only do so much but the begining stages are what was taught or not taught at home. Some parents put into their child’s heads that if your not 1st place you lose. I have seen a lot of sports not giving rewards to everyone who plays on the team. This is such a debated topic. If you only have one winner than others are sad but if you give everyone a prize for trying then that takes away from the hard work of the winner and also makes kids think they win at everything. Its a good debate. In chapter 26 the part about drowning a child with praise, nothing has meaning. That is a good point. I need to be more aware of that. I used to think positive reinforcement was so good. But we need to only use it when the child actually did a good job…and tell the child “good job coloring in the lines today.”

  25. Melissa D says:

    I loved reading chapter 20…failure is a great first step towards success! When I’m working with the kids and I see them frustrated with not being able to get something “right” I like having the opportunity to work through their frustration with them. Asking them what made it a failure? What Do they want to accomplish? What could they try differently? Everybody fails at some point…expecting children to not fail is to set them up for frustration.

  26. Karlee O says:

    Even though I’ve taken several classes that have discouraged the use of the phrase “good job” I still catch myself saying it. Old habits die hard, I suppose. What I’ve started doing is acknowledging when I say “good job” then adding an explanation to my statement. Instead of a blanket ‘good job’ I’ll follow up with “you opened up your shoe straps and got them off by yourself!” I try to avoid ‘good job’ if I can but when I do catch myself saying it I remember to add something worthwhile to it. I will also work on remembering to be truthful and not always saying ‘good job’ just to have something nice to say. I can comment on ways to improve or ways they have improved instead.

  27. Jill B says:

    No more “good jobs” makes so much sense. It seems wrong to hand a blue ribbon to anyone who tries. I always thought good job was encouragement. After reading this chapter, it is easy to see how good job isn’t transferred to learning or skill development. The details are lacking. Details and telling a narrative about the action would be much more beneficial and ties into the earlier chapter of failing. Not being number one is not failing, not trying is what we teach our children is failing. While there are still tough moments and they strive at times to be number one, they also learn to keep trying, practicing, outing in more effort if applicable while help them to reach their goals.

  28. MARY MARTIN says:

    The thoughts of children being perfect is so wrong. The being a kid part of their life is so short why would we feel the need to want them perfect, aren’t they already perfect?
    I am a huge “good job”. “nice” “your awesome” kinda gal. I guess I have a hard time thinking that’s not ok to do. I do agree though that adding to it by questions about what their thoughts are about what they did could be very profitable in helping them grow. This is something I will definitely start trying to do. I learned so much by all the blogs,. I think this way of study is awesome.

  29. Tasha Martin says:

    Perfection is looked at in so many ways. I tell my daughters all the time you are perfect just the way you are. They know they are not perfect or any better then anyone else but they also know that’s how I see them. I am always going to tell them how awesome they are doing, and show my support in any and every way. I don’t look at this as trying to make them strive for perfection but hope it teaches them to strive for their best. All children are perfect in just they way they are and hearing it is good for the soul. I also teach my children that is they don’t get something the first time try again. I don’t discourage them from keep trying until they are happy with what they accomplished. Failure is an option and isn’t a bad thing at all but in my eyes teaching them to strive for better isn’t bad either as long as its done it and encouraging and loving way.

  30. Arissa Kordell says:

    Failure is an important part of life, it’s how we learn. I think its important for kids to learn this at a younger age then most kids do. I constantly have daycare kids coming up to me saying “Did I do a good job” or “who’s looks better”. I try to avoid telling them that they did a good job but it’s incredibly hard to avoid telling them that when they crave it and are always asking you. I have a hard time trying to think of other things to say instead of “good job”. This is why we need to teach our children that failure is an option and that it’s okay. We need to teach them that we can learn from our mistakes and that not everything we do is going to be perfect.

  31. Laura says:

    This chapter has hit home. I often compare and I know that I should not. I know of two families with littles born on the same day. One a set of twins and one a single birth. I have seen and often compare the three children… one is potty trained… one can count to ten….. one can say the alphabet all the way through…. Parents often think of this as failure if one child does hit the certain milestone at that exact time google said they should…. Children learn by doing thing incorrectly first and trying until they get it right.. I do not consider it failure but in a sense it is. I have supported my children and daycare children in any and all learning they do. I tell them they are amazing and am proud of them.

  32. Kora says:

    The study of the fifth graders testing was very interesting to me. The students that were praised on being very smart felt they needed to do good again, so they picked the easy test. The students that were praised on working really hard, choose the more challenging test. I guess I would have assumed the smart kids went for the harder test. Just from experience growing up. I had about 5 really smart straight A if not A+ kids in my class. Then there were average and not so smart. As far as I remember we were never praised for working hard, they just wanted us to get the A. I think things would have been better for the students that were praised for working hard too. When it comes to overpraising, I think that does more harm. Reading this chapter I do tell the kids good job too, but I use it as “Good job for eating your vegetables…” I use it sparingly, but it happens.

  33. Bobbie S says:

    I find it sad when children come up to me and feel down about themselves. So we find something the child does great and then use that to boost confidence.
    I hardly say good job but I hear parents say it when they have awesome days at daycare. I like to say wow I wish I could jump like that or wow your so smart to put that tower together like that I bet it you can’t blow it over. Good job is overused by so many today.on’t feel so bad anymore. Kick ball best example so they get out, I show them that even I get out playing kick ball that it happens to all of us.

  34. Sue says:

    Challenge-seeking seems like something we all could encourage.
    “Good job” something I say way too much and I will change the way I express myself to my kids.

  35. Jessica Kabogoza says:

    My daughter struggles sometimes with making mistakes. I’ve actually used the same line on her about if I had to choose another 5 year old girl in the whole world I would always choose her. One of the other things I’ve been going over with her is that EVERY person makes mistakes, and then I list off all the people close to her that mess up sometimes. I think it puts it into perspective for her. She’s currently in gymnastics and she’s quite talented at it. I toe the line of encouraging her and helping her see where she could improve. I find it sometimes difficult as a parent and as a childcare provider to know when to just encourage and when to instruct on becoming better at something. I really agree with the book when it spoke about how you will go through life accomplishing many things, but at times not getting any recognition for them. Something I’ve been trying to implement in my own life and also trying to instill in my children is the concept of personal goals. They could be small ones like finishing your daily checklist of tasks or big like making it through nursing school. If they belong to you and you challenge yourself, you will feel good about your accomplishments regardless of what other people say….or don’t say.

  36. Terri VanHoudt says:

    I totally agree that Failure should be okay and that we need to encourage kids to try again instead of just saying Good Job. There are so many thing in our world now that would not be here if inventors just gave up. I actually just shake my head many times a day as a family daycare provider. I have kids 3-5 still being carried in by their parents. I just shake my heads, and wonder what is wrong with the kids legs! So many times, it seems that parents are always negotiating with the kids. I will give you this if you do this now, it won’t get any better as the kids get older. The bribes will just get more expensive. I have a 4 year old, who the minute he walks in the door or when mom comes in to leave, starts with the whinny baby talk or just starts to whine. Truly, like my 1 year olds do. I am guessing it works with Mom and Grandma. Mom is usually short with him and in a hurry. Grandma treats him like a baby when she drops off or picks him up. I understand that they want to keep him young, but i think they are stifling him. I have another boy who is 3 1/2 and is a totally unruly at home. He is not bad at my home unless the boy above is here. I also have 3 1 year olds. I let the fall, i let them figure out why the legos wont stay up ( with few questions to steer them) and give them opened projects to let them figure it out!

    Parenting is just not what it use to be. Parents don’t want kids to be sad, or to do with out. They want to talk everything out and not make the kids unhappy. They want the kids to be happy at all times. You can tell those parents as they are the 1st ones up and running as soon as a kids stumbles to the ground. The participation ribbons, and not having any losers has brought up a generation of Entitlement kids which became the Entitlement Adults. Those Adults have a hard time keeping a job because they don’t get the atta-boys they desire.

    We need to train ourselves to work on the language we use when we want to congratulate the kids. We need to use language that pushes them to explore ideas. We need to let them fall and brush themselves and start over again. Those disappoints and rejections at a young age will only make them stronger adults.

  37. Liz says:

    I love the comment ” mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn”. As a preschool teacher and child care center director I learn everyday from the mistakes I make. Being able to change direction or course is imperative to success. Helping children to embrace failure or mistakes and move on to problem solving is one of things I try to focus on.

  38. Nallely says:

    Failure is an essential part of our life. Every time we make mistakes that arise from our actions we must learn from ourselves we can learn from our own mistakes, know what we did wrong and improve it, the same happens with children, that in some situations they fail is a way to show them that it is normal to be wrong and that this does not mean that you no longer have the same value as others, on the contrary, that you learn from mistakes is even better. During the time I was working in the classroom with my teacher, I realized that sometimes the same children want you to praise them for the work they are doing, every time they did some work, they ran with me or with the teacher to show it and when you told them they were doing it very well a smile appeared on their face, it is difficult in my case to stop doing this, because I love that the children are happy doing their work and seeing those little smiles, but I also understand that it is better to help them to reflect on their own mistakes and achievements, and that it does not matter what others think, but what they themselves believe they are doing well.

  39. Anna Patnode says:

    Week 11 – 8/11/18
    Reading – chapters 20 and 26
    Failure has always been an option in my home and classroom. Thankful that it was something so easy to decided to instill in my family life. It isn’t always easy and sometimes takes lots of work to be patient with little ones and help them grow through failure but it is very worth it. I have found that it is obvious which children in my classroom are not allowed failures at home and it’s so sad to me watching how it affects them. I find it especially challenging to remind them and work with them through that on how we can fail in the classroom and still succeed.

    The “Good Job” chapter is something I know I struggle with as far as the actual words. I only praise when praise is deserved and not false but still know my praise could be more encouraging. When one has a true connection and is already encouraging children I don’t believe that honest praise is a problem. Similar to what Kelly references in this weeks blog post about a healthy diet with occasional treats. I only disagree that honest praise has to be limited when an deep encouraging relationship already exists. I will continue to praise my children for their effort, work, and outcome (whatever that may be) and don’t believe this will set them up for failure later in life because we already focus on growth mindset and growing through “failures”.

  40. Laura Borchardt says:

    Failure and how we react to it is one of the most important aspects of building character. It is so important for children to find out what happens when things don’t go their way. They need to learn who they are when they are upset about failing and how to make themselves and the situation better after failure. My dad always told me that life isn’t fair and the sooner I learned that the better off I would be. I really value those words because it teaches you that you can’t always know what to expect of life. Children need to learn this and we are with them in an environment full of opportunities to teach them correct response to problems. It is important for us to teach them that trying their best and growing is more important than succeeding always.

  41. DeAnna Stowe says:

    We all fail at things in life but what matters most is if we continue to try until we succeed. This is important for adults to remember when they are unsuccessful. Our children are always watching us as we discussed in previous chapters. It is important to have a positive role model who continues to strive. We should also keep in mind that children learn through failed attempts. As adults, it is important to remember to continue to encourage your child. There is always a difference between encouraging a child and praising a child. Too much praise can lead a child to be an over competitive individual which then could potentially cause difficulty in years to come, such as team work activities and/or relationships.

  42. DeAnna Stowe says:

    We all fail at things in life but what matters most is if we continue to try until we succeed. This is important for adults to remember when they are unsuccessful. Our children are always watching us as we discussed in previous chapters. It is important to have a positive role model who continues to strive. If our children do not understand or see us working hard, then our children may not try either. We should also keep in mind that children learn through failed attempts. As adults, it is important to remember to continue to encourage your child. There is always a difference between encouraging a child and praising a child. Too much praise can lead a child to be an over competitive individual which then could potentially cause difficulty in years to come, such as team work activities and/or relationships.

  43. Brittany says:

    These study has been so informative and nice to hear from some many different people. Now on to the idea of letting our children fail. I really do not like this word because it does not get the full idea of what learning is really all about. It is able growing in knowledge. What does that mean. It means that we go from being a person that does not know that idea or skill to someone that is understands or can perform the task. Now for children some can master a skill from just watching another person while others need time to practice and practice. Does that mean in the end that the one who just watched the person is better at it? I would say no because the person that had to work at it truly knows the skill because they had to work for it. Parents need to help children learn how to solve problems and get through them strongly instead of just giving up on the task. Let’s also help children learn that you are more than the task or idea. Your worth is not from it. This will help make adults that are able to problem solve and have a better self-worth. Self-worth is something we need to help people with in our society.

  44. Sherie Melchert says:

    I will always believe in the “learning from mistakes”. Children are becoming protected and taught it is not okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are how children and adults learn.

  45. Jill N. Walker says:

    Failure is an option in my household. To Fail is the First Attempt In Learning. When a child fails it is an indication of what still needs to be learned. Children need to experience some failures to access what things need to be changed in order to learn. When I mentor college students I stress that teachers need to tell children what they see not just say, “good job”. Good job does not give the child the emotional interest they are looking for when they show you.

  46. Karen says:

    When we make mistakes, we learn from them. Plus it challenges us to figure it out. Chapter 26 was an interesting topic. I am going to work on saying, “I noticed or I see” instead of “I like.”

  47. T. Enter says:

    Chapter 20 & 26:
    Failure = learning You can learn so much by failing at something. You might learn something right away, or it might happen down the road. Everything you do is a learning experience, life is learning and you can’t live life without failure. “Good job” is something I catch myself saying all the time to the kids. That chapter was an eye opener for me to understand that I am not doing anyone any good by saying the same thing. I will need to work on that.

  48. Theresa says:

    As the old saying goes, “You learn from your mistakes.” The person who makes the mistake has to be the one to learn from them, to problem solve, otherwise they will keep making the same mistake over and over again. I have come up with an analogy, the baby bird hatching from the eggshell needs no help otherwise it will not survive. If you help the baby, it will not get strong as it works on hatching itself and it will die.

  49. Shannon Alexander says:

    I hate the idea that parents are making kids feel like making a mistake makes them a complete failure. As a teacher, I always had the saying, ‘making mistakes is proof you are trying,’ on the wall and referencing it daily. I also pointed out my own mistakes and shared what I learned from it. I love working with younger kids now because for some of them they make a mistake and keep trying and trying and trying. They don’t get frustrated but seem excited about trying again. Other little kids need more support and encouragement. These are the kids I want to keep cheering on and give them skills to help them grow their growth mindset. I think helping them when they are young will help them continue to use a growth mindset in the future. I also love Rae Pica’s idea that mistakes are “an indicator of what still needs to be learned.” I think this is a huge piece for kids and adults to learn and remember about mistakes. For me, I love reminding myself that mistakes are proof that I am trying.
    Reading this chapter title, “No More ‘Good Job,’” I thought to myself, I say good job all the time. What can I say to kids instead? Thank you Rae Pica for teaching me to name what the child IS doing. So instead of telling my daughter ‘good job’ for walking by me in the store, I can tell her “I notice you are staying by me.” This way she hears what behavior she’s doing that I like or appreciate. I’m looking forward to noticing when I say “good job” with my childcare kids and changing it to things I notice they are doing.

  50. S. Hanson says:

    Children do respond much better to encouragement and genuine interest than just saying good job. It’s also important to let them fail sometimes, even though it’s hard to watch them struggle and be frustrated, so that they eventually learn to do something themselves. They can do quite a lot themselves when allowed to. Some parents are surprised by what they can do themselves at school that they don’t do at home- putting on jackets, cleaning up after meal times, etc. because we expect them to at least try first before having assistance.

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