Rewards, Stickers, and Praise
Sometime ago I wrote about my wish to instill internal motivation in my son. Indeed, it is so important to me to raise a kid with a strong sense of self, who will not spend his life looking for other people’s recognition of his abilities instead of simply enjoying those abilities and letting them lead him. And in this context, I try hard to reduce the amount of praise I offer to my son to force him to discover that place within himself that will feed him and offer him all the praise he needs.
But here is my problem. So many childrearing advice is based on some sort of a reward system.
You ate a good meal, you get to EAT/HAVE whatever.
You behaved well when we were out, you GET whatever.
You did your pee-pees in the potty, you GET whatever.
Recently, my husband and I decided to try to potty-train our son who seemed to have a good understanding and control of his pee-pee and pooh-pooh needs but still chose to do his business in his diaper and not in the potty. Reading about the topic of potty-training, I found plenty of good advice. But, every single thing I read included at least a mention of some reward system: stickers, or treats, or at least a big verbal recognition.
My question is: How do I successfully potty-train my son in the light of the philosophy that he needs to start doing his pee-pees and pooh-poohs in the potty simply because that’s what big boys and big girls do so they don’t have to rely on their mommies to change their diapers? Or am I being irrational here?
OK, we did it – somehow – we definitely praised and emphasized the “big-boy” thing, but every time I offered a praise, I felt a little silly. Any thoughts?