In the Live Conscious paradigm we don’t use praise or blame when interacting with other people. And if you want to know how to raise healthy kids, consider giving up the outdated techniques of praise and blame. Generally, people understand why we discourage the use of blame. But, they often don’t understand why we discourage the use of praise.
Praise—and blame—are ways of controlling other people. When I blame you, you are likely to feel bad. When I praise you, you are likely to feel good. So, I am the source of how you feel about yourself. It’s as if I am controlling or influencing your nervous system. Do you want someone else to have that kind of influence in your life?
If your answer is, “yes, I want someone to have that kind of influence,” it’s probably because someone already has that kind of influence and you may be reluctant to change that arrangement. Why would we want someone to have that kind of influence in our lives? Because we can hold them responsible!
No praise doesn’t mean no appreciation
Just because we don’t praise people that doesn’t mean we don’t express appreciation. In Live Conscious we often express our appreciation, our gratitude and our enthusiasm toward other people. The difference between praise and appreciation is that when I praise you I’m telling you about you. When I express appreciation I’m telling you about me.
Instead of saying, “You’re so good to come spend time with me,” I’ll say, “I appreciate you for coming and spending time with me.” I’m telling you about myself, not about you.
How about using praise and blame with kids
When parents or teachers interact with kids they often use praise and blame to control the children. From a Live Conscious perspective we don’t think this is appropriate, unless we’re trying to protect a child from some kind of danger. Other than that, we don’t use praise or blame with kids.
When my grandson is with his mother he looks to her to find out if she thinks he did a good job, he looks to her to find out if she thinks he is acceptable, attractive, etc. When my grandson is with me he looks to himself to determine if he thinks he did a good job and if he is acceptable, attractive, etc. When he says to me, “Hey, grandpa, I hit the ball over the fence for the first time,” I don’t say, “That’s great!” I ask him, “How does that feel?” Or, “Was it hard to do?” Or “Do you have any idea how you did that?”
The point is that he gets his sense of self from himself, not from me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hide my enthusiasm from him, I just try not to tell him about him, instead I tell him my experience of being with him. The result is that he’s calmer and more confident.