Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Big Deal, Little Deal: Not Everything Can Be Huge!

*Warning: I can guarantee this post is going to piss some people off. There will probably be cursing and most will go against the typical parental stance. Please bare with me, I know its long and rambling  So here goes nothing*

One of the early scripts we were taught by our neuropsychologist was big deal, little deal.  This was used to help with emotion control.  If someone touched you pencil rather than start yelling stop and think is this a big deal or little deal.  Well it's a little deal so I'm going to move on.  Someone hits you well that's a big deal so I should tell someone. You get the point right?

Many parents need to learn and use this script.  Not everything your child dose is huge.  Oh they did their homework without a fight. Hey great job yes, huge not so much.  We all know the type everything their kid dose is huge.  Johnny crossed the street huge, Johnny used a tissue huge, Johnny wrote his name huge. Johnny flushed the toilet huge. (hey can Johnny come teach my kids what the magic lever on the toilet is for, because they don't know) After you hear huge, huge, huge it loses its meaning.  What happens after that when Johnny dose something huge like give a speech to the whole school it's overlooked because we have all heard how huge it was that he swept the floor.

I've talked with my kids about it.  Roger once had a teacher that said everything he did was huge. It really bothered him because his line of thinking was I'm not doing anything different than my peers so why is what I'm doing huge? In a way you are telling Johnny I don't expect you to turn your homework in on time so its huge that you did. Wait hold on that is something that is expected of all students in his grade.

Roger is in the school band.  Now while we do have a exit strategy in place in case he gets overwhelmed and it is to much he is expected to stay and participate in the concert.  Sure it would be easy to have it written up that while he will be in band class because of anxiety we are just going to exempt him from performances.  That is not doing him any favors.  Making accommodation to make sure he gets the full benefits absolutely helps.  When he stays and preforms just like the rest of the band. Is that huge no its expected for him to do that.  Now if he stands up and does a solo during the concert huge.

One of the things I hear most from parents is how they want their child to be accepted in society for who they are.  This is great but when everything is huge you start to give off the impression that your child can't fend for themselves so everything they do is amazing and huge. When this impression is given people tend to use kid gloves no matter the persons age.

By no means am I saying don't celebrate accomplishments, we all do it.  Just remember sometimes a how does that make you feel does more for self empowerment than that's huge. Asking how the event makes you feel allows for self expression and really be able to think about what you did.  That's huge is more of a brush off. Roger hears that's huge and thinks the person didn't think he could do it and adds to self doubt. Where as asking him after a concert so how did that solo feel, gives him a outlet for his self pride.

I get it I do.  How many of us have been told your child will never, and then they do.  Or they work really hard at what is seen as a simple skill and they get it down.  Yes that is huge and amazing. Drinking all their milk no really that's not.  I'm saying tack a step back just like we ask our kids to do and think big deal, little deal.  We spend so much time teaching all kids that not everything can be a big deal that I think we forget it ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with what you are saying about disproportionate praise, and I think it is important to have a set of expectations for a child that doesn't result in a bunch of meaningless praise. On the other hand, if a child has struggled with a skill, worked hard to learn it, and finally mastered that skill, I think that's deserving of praise and celebration, regardless if it's just dressing oneself or using a fork. The thing about praise is that you can fade it as well- it IS a big deal if someone achieves something for the very first time. The 2nd time... the 3rd time... not so much. :)