Monday, July 14, 2003

Is "good" bad? features an article on the ways in which a perfectly good word like "good" may not be good enough when it comes to encouraging children. The author proposes that, instead of letting loose with a simple superlative, parents and teachers should give specifics as to what merits applause. And I think he's probably right — the Nurtured Child Approach that's been so successful with my son suggests much the same thing, and it's the detailed positive comments that seem to have made the most difference.

At some point, though, doesn't your imagination just break down? I mean, when you have kids with multiple special needs, every day is filled with little opportunities to be extra-enriching. Every conversation should hit speech development points; every play time should offer sensory integration-targeted activities; every book should be read with a mind to asking questions and boosting comprehension. And now, you can't even end it with an exhausted, "Good job!" I'd like to be detailed and specific and supportive of my children in the most elaborate and effective way possible; but sometimes, goodness me, "good" is as good as it gets.

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