Thursday, December 26, 2013

Allan Katz - summary - the differences between conditional and unconditional parenting

Guest post from Allan Katz
I posted a summary- chart on the differences between conditional and unconditional parenting -  ( short !!)

I think it is relevant to the parenting discussion. I don't mind parents or mechanchin choosing different educational or discipline styles  that focus on different things - compliance or autonomy/ intrinsic motivation. But not to confuse the goals or the parenting philosophy involved 
Here is a chart  summarizing the differences between conditional and unconditional parenting

Differences between Conditional and Unconditional Parenting

Conditional Parenting
Focus                                                    Behavior
View  of  Human  nature                     Negative
View of Parental Love                         A privilege to be earned
Strategies                                            ''  Doing to ''  - control via rewards , punishments etc

Unconditional Parenting
Focus                                                  Whole child ( including reasons, thoughts, feelings )
View of Human nature                       Positive or balanced
View of Parental love                         A gift
Strategies                                            ''  Working with '' (  collaborative problem solving )

Conditional Parenting or Typical View of Difficult Children:

 Guiding Philosophy: “Children do well if they want to”.
  Explanation: Children’s difficult behavior is attention-seeking or aimed at coercing adults into “giving in”.
 Goal of treatment: Induce children to comply with adult directives.
  Tools of treatment: Use of reward and punishment programs to give children incentive to improve behavior.
 Emphasis: Reactive focus on management of problematic behavior after it has occurred.
Unconditional Parenting -Dr. Greene,Ablon  Collaborative Problem Solving Approach  View:
  Guiding Philosophy: “Children do well if they can”.
  Explanation: Children’s difficult behavior is the byproduct of a learning disability in the domains of flexibility, adaptability, and frustration tolerance.
  Goal of treatment: Teach children lacking cognitive and emotional skills.
  Tools of Treatment: Teach children and adults how to work towards mutually satisfactory solutions to problems underlying difficult behavior.
  Emphasis: Proactive focus on solving and preventing problems before they occur.


  1. Part 1)

    I’ll preface my remarks to Allan by saying that I’ve read some of his posts here on DT (and a bit on his own blog) and I respect his passion for helping future generations. Indeed, I share many – but not all – of his viewpoints.

    Knowing the sincerity of Allen’s views, and after reading his two tinyurl links, I am a bit perturbed by what I humbly see as a basic misunderstanding of the underlying philosophies of human nature, as the Torah explains them.

    I’m convinced that the list posted on under “Conditional Parenting” doesn’t represent Baumrinds thinking, and it surely doesn’t represent Torah thinking.

    The “Conditional Parenting” list strikes me as a poorly developed “strawman argument” against Baumrid with the singular goal of replacing one flawed methodology - with a second – equally flawed one.

    I humbly posit that the TWO commonly used cultural manifestation of parenting resemble Baumrinds Authoritarian and Permissive types. My concern is that “Unconditional Parenting” in it’s day-to-day manifestation hews too close to the permissive model and shares its defects. NEITHER come close to Torah thinking.

    To properly “frame” our disagreement, let’s start by saying that this is NOT about “Pnimius” vs. “Chitzonios”. NO! We’re all for “Pnimius” – the debate is about HOW to get there.

    Torah truth is – above everything else – NUANCED. The Pat answers don’t work. The reality is that Getting to Pnimius “needs” Chitzonios. Yet, focusing ONLY on Chitzonios WON’T get us to Pnimius. Just TALKING about Pnimius without clarifying and implementing the “hows” & the “whys” of how to get there, won’t work either.

    For parents and educators in the “trenches” day after day, the burning need is not for another “ivory tower” theory on education, either Allan’s or my own – but rather on REAL DETAILS – THAT WORK. The paradox is that in order to offer practical advice that works we need to first change OUR OWN mindsets from a set “polarized” mode of thinking into that of an integrative synthesis of ALL that works.

    The job is hard enough as it is. I believe that there’s absolutely no room in this crucial debate for sweeping generalities that attack sensible parenting / teaching tools without offering SOLID alternatives.

    I’ve met more than more share of parents & educators who have stopped trying, simply because they’ve never been given tools that REALLY work - the beautiful, uplifting Droshos simply couldn’t be put into practical action.

    Here’s a bit about the Torah view:

    The Chovos Halvovos offers a portrait of both Human potential and human folly (I’m using the using Feldheim translation):

    Human folly - (From his Introduction):
    “Every man has an enemy within him, unless he has help from G-d, an ever-present, corrective guide for his soul and the self mastery to bind it with the bridle of service, control it with the reins of virtue and strike it with the rod of discipline, so that when the performance of some good act occurs to him he will not delay and if his heart entices him to do otherwise he will berate it and overcome it”.

    Sounds bleak? Here’s “the other side of the coin” about Human Potential - (Gate of self accounting - #18):

    “[a person] should reflect on his position in this world, … let him consider how G-d has granted dignity to man by giving him dominion over the various animals, pants & inanimate objects…by acquainting him with the secrets of the Torah; and by giving him knowledge of all secrets beneficial to him, of the upper and lower realms of this world. … has elevated man.. Add to this all the favors… too numerous to recount … consider my brother how insignificant you are.. and yet how your Creator has exalted you…

  2. Part 2)

    Based on the C”H, Here’s my own little chart, similar to the one that Allan posted on his URL:

    Torah Parenting

    Whole child ( including reasons, thoughts, feelings ) – like Allan’s “unconditional parenting”

    View of Human Nature:
    Mixed – unlimited potential for good, but also requires vigilant awareness of the “enemy within”

    View of Parental Love:
    Unconditional – expressed exactly how self-love is expressed, through full awareness of both human potential AND human folly & working with great humility to develop self efficacy in regards to meeting life’s challenges (humility is based on parents awareness that child is not his chattel & that the parent himself needs to constantly employ a growth mindset, thus dealing with the same core issues that he is expecting the child to deal with).

    Strategies (Partial list): (I’ve including some sources)
    “Working with”. (Allan)
    Encourage autonomous reasoning about moral problems and independent thinking, built on a basis of “enlightened partiality” towards Torah morals and ethics & based on the importance of critical thinking skills to counteract the human potential for folly. (Chovos Halvovos + Baumrind)
    Develop crucial cognitive & problem solving skills, flexibility, frustration tolerance, etc (Greene)
    Encourage unlimited autonomy within these parameters. (Deci “light”, Pink)
    Use all possible means, including extrinsic rewards & punishments, constant conditional feedback & consistency, focusing on effort / process (rewards for effort – not results). (Chovos Halvovos, Baumrind, Dweck)
    Use behavioral methods employing incrementality & habit, intrinsic motivational tools such as self efficacy, flow / engagement & employ - and constantly update - optimal learning strategies. (C”H, Sefer Hayoshor, Bandura, Seligman, Csíkszentmihályi, Dweck).
    Welcome failure. Prioritize learning that has potential to attain mastery while valuing engagement in learning in of itself. (Dweck, Gemara, Sefer Haikrim, Yavitz).
    Develop a supportive social setting that value aforementioned traits. (Rambam, Chovos Halvovos, Deci)
    Encourage growth in both scholastics and morals, by changing / channeling character traits, challenging / diffusing negative thoughts and “connecting spiritually” (Rambam, Ri Bar Shushan, ACT, Alshich, Jung, sublimation).
    Live and value a moral, ethical lifestyle, featuring truthfulness and honesty & encouraging contemplative thinking on spiritual matters.

    Baumrind doesn’t talk about of this, but I believe she’s in congruence. I’d welcome a detailed, respectful, one-on-one discussion with Allan, if and when he is interested in doing so.

  3. Either this guy never had kids, or he has a bad memory.

  4. In summation -

    I think our goals will be much better served if we admit to the complexity of the subject matter, and instead of attempting to "dumb down' & oversimplify the pertinent issues & solutions, we should endeavor for a synthases of all the various tools at our disposal, with a keen eye for filtering out those tools that are at odds with our Torah True beliefs and priorities.

  5. Ploni,
    I thank you for the time you spend sharing your knowledge and ideas. What ever parenting style speaks to one - OK , but combining approaches for someone who believes in ' constructivist'- working with - promoting self determination does not go with behaviorism. The behaviorists don't have a problem - keeping their belief in ' reinforcements ' and trying to incorporate the rest, the same goes for rewarding the process, it is a contradiction in terms. Jerome Bruner said that we want kids to experience success and failure not as reward and punishment, but neutral information upon which they can reflect and see how they can continue to improve. As I mentioned in my blog on authoritative parenting Dr Ross Greene is very much against helping parents be better at getting compliance , because this comes at the expense of becoming better collaborative problem solvers with kids and you are sending mixed messages to kids as to how problems are solved in the family. The Jerusalem Talmud asks 'what is the punishment to be done to the sinner '? Wisdom replies that sin pursues bad experiences. Prophecy replies that the soul that sins should die. God replies that the sinner should repent and return to him. In this way he atones for his sins. Extrinsic motivation – punishments , consequences teach kids to ask what will happen to me if I do this , but never helps them reflect on what type of people they want to be or does their behavior reflect their values. Most behaviorists have given up on punishments , now they call them consequences , easier for kids to swallow , but they most prefer rewards because honey catches more flies than vinegar. Extrinsic motivation might get behavior , but no commitment to the underlying values of a behavior . A word about the Yetzer harah – it takes creative skills to fight the war with 'Tachbulot '

  6. The real issues here are quite simple:
    Do you have a Plan B?
    Are you claiming that constructivist “intrinsic motivation” approaches ALWAYS work?
    Recent research clearly points out that it most surely doesn’t.
    Besides, when exactly would you consider “intrinsic motivation” successful? Is ANY interest sufficient, or is interest to do high-quality (based on ability) necessary?
    What would YOU recommend should be done in cases that “intrinsic motivation” doesn’t work?
    If you agree that in certain cases alternatives are necessary - Who decides WHEN to implement these alternative modes of motivation? Does the child / student retain “veto power”, even when he is totally disinterested in change? Does the onus remain on the parent / teacher, indefinitely?

  7. As far as research, I believe many of Allen’s statements are inaccurate:

    Research definitely mentions the problem that intrinsic motivation doesn’t always work, 2) Even when intrinsically motivated, students won’t necessarily do good work, 3) The necessity to have alternatives, and That constructionist & behavioral methods CAN & SHOULD be mixed.

    Concerning 1) Research definitely mentions the problem that intrinsic motivation doesn’t always work:

    Palmer (International Journal of Science Education Vol. 27, No. 15, 16 December 2005) notes:

    “constructivist-informed teaching has not always resulted in high motivation. Banet and Núñez (1997) found that their programme was not successful in maintaining the interest of about one-third of their 13-year-old and 14-year-old students. Similarly, Lee and Brophy (1996) investigated teaching that was guided by a conceptual change approach and found that it failed to motivate half of the sixth-grade students in their study. These studies suggest that motivation can still be problematical in constructivist-informed classrooms, so one should not assume that it is inherent. Consequently, future models of constructivist-informed teaching do need to explicitly consider motivation and the factors that may positively or negatively impact upon it.”

    Concerning 2) Even when intrinsically motivated, students won’t necessarily do good work, Palmer writes:

    “motivation by itself only means that students are willing to engage in learning—it does not ensure that they will develop scientifically acceptable knowledge structures (Pintrich et al., 1993). Strategies for motivation therefore need to be integrated with teaching techniques that can reduce the status of students’ misconceptions and increase the status of scientific concepts. However, this approach has not been explicitly adopted by extant models of constructivist-informed teaching.”

    Concerning 3) The necessity to have alternatives, and That constructionist & behavioral methods CAN & SHOULD be mixed:

    Steele, M.M. (2005, April 30). Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities: Constructivism Or Behaviorism? Current Issues in Education [On-line], 8(10) writes: “The best teaching will often integrate ideas from constructivist and behaviorist principles.”

    Hidi, S., & Harackiewicz, J. (2000). “Motivating the academically unmotivated: A critical issue for the 21st century”: “The research reviewed in this paper suggests that our best hope will be to determine optimal combinations of mastery & performance goals, intrinsic & extrinsic motivation, & individual & situational interest. External interventions may be critically important for unmotivated students who lack interest, intrinsic motivation, & mastery goals for academic activities.”

    I believe that too many children fall by the wayside because of impractical & utopian child-rearing & educational theories.

    And as I originally noted - Chazal are very clear on the matter. Why do we take their timeless words so lightly????

  8. A few comments
    1 intrinsic motivation in schools – does not exist except in progressive schools , also in Finland . Kids that are motivated - it is because of grades , competition, so learning is focused on test prep and doing well on the test , and not on solving problems and exploring ideas . In any case 80% of kids forget what they have learned after writing a test
    2 Mastery – it is not about understanding things from the inside out - it is about memorization and giving back to the teacher what she has dictated. The harder it gets , it becomes just technique and practice with no understanding
    3 "Measurable outcomes may be the least significant results of learning - Most research relies on test outcomes as a standard – a very behaviorist measurable outcome and still constructivist schools do the best . When test scores go up , parents should be worried as it comes at the expense of real learning -
    4 Kids who have not grown up in a constructivist environment and then thrown into a class will struggle and obviously get frustrated – you have got to start thinking for yourself and kids want to be spoon fed , they now how to work the old system
    5 SDT – when the 3 basic needs of autonomy , competence and relatedness have been met , they impact on each other – competence is a separate need from autonomy
    6 Finland is the proof – they never thought they would do well in international tests because their education is not geared to that, fewer hours learning, kids don't go for extra lessons and the system is most equitable – a very small achievement gap. The high scoring Asian countries are realizing that the pressure, extra tutoring, focus on achievement has killed a love for learning and creativity -
    7 The only time I would advocate a combination – is that change should be slow and with the cooperation of all involved
    8 Motivation has less to do about the kids and more about the learning conditions that support motivation - collaboration, choice and content

    1. Allan:

      1) If you believe that intrinsic motivation only exists in the Nordic countries or progressive schools like Montessori schools - you're on very shaky grounds.


      Finland recently fell 22 points on its 2009 results PISA tests in maths, reading and science. And guess why they think it happened? I don't necessarily agree with everything the naysayers claim, but common sense still dictates that intrinsic motivation doesn't always work, and that a PLAN B is required when it doesn't work - otherwise children SUFFER from a lack of purpose and self efficacy, and therefore a lack of well-being. It also happens to be the reasoning behind חושך שבטו שונא בנו.

      2. About mastery - You're parroting Alfie Kohn again. See Willingham's "Why Don't Students Like School" - The most consistent findings show that Factual knowledge, lots of it, is a prerequisite to higher-level thinking. No, it's not a contradiction to deeper understanding, it's a prerequisite. It also happens to be the Gemara ליגרס איניש והדר ליסבר, לעולם ילמוד אדם תורה ואח"כ יהגה-ע' פרש"י. But it doesn't mean just parroting- see שו"ע הרב הל' ת"ת פ"ב ה"א לידע הטעמים בדרך קצרה בלי עיון רב ופלפול.

      3) Example of all or nothing thinking (splitting). Most constructivist models ADD observation of the learning process to assessment, but have the common sense not to do away with tests, otherwise they know that not just students, but also teachers slack off. Plan B in action.

      4) Kids get frustrated BECAUSE they weren't in a true constructivist environment? Maybe, but since you can't show the superior results of those that DID, why should we entrust our children to a theory that contradicts common sense AND Torah?

      Displays of power aren't punitive - they're meant to ENFORCE REASON.

      As Baumrind writes:
      The use of a reason accompanied by a display of power conveys to the child that, to satisfy the parent, adherence to a rule of appropriate conduct is required, even in her absence. With young children, a display of power captures their attention and clarifies in their minds that compliance is required, whereas the use of a reason without a display of power signals to the child that the parent is indecisive about requiring compliance. By being paired with punishment, reasoning becomes a discriminative stimulus that noncompliance will be punished. Once this connection has been established, reasoning alone may suffice to obtain compliance.

      5) Competence is a separate need from autonomy - We might want it to be so, but autonomy defined as "freedom from restraint" impedes self-discipline, which stymies competence. Who loses? The child!

      6) Finland's proof - see 31 and the Economist article. There goes the proof. (Personally, I'm not impressed either way by test scores that don't show a long-term pattern).

      7) Advocating combination only with cooperation - The real question is - What's in the child's best long term interests. PS: Did you see the Palmer article? He offers a wealth of excellent teaching tips. So does Willingham the "behaviorist". So what? You didn't explain WHY they can't me mixed, although I cited some literature that they definitely can and should...

      8) Defining motivation - Motivation has to do with EVERYTHING. Also, Dweck's Growth mindset & Seligman's "PERMA" well-being acronym....

  9. Ploni - ' And as I originally noted - Chazal are very clear on the matter. Why do we take their timeless words so lightly???? I am not sure what you are saying - can you elaborate . My impression is that you are putting the tefel before the ikar . When we talk about kids and human behavior Chazal's words might not apply if they do damage to a different generation for eg hitting a kid. Besides consulting and sharing my ideas with Talmedei chachamim here in Israel , I have corresponded with Dr Benzion Sorotzkin - I recommend his site . He is clearly far from behaviorism

    1. About more elaboration - Do you mean I should quote the original sources in Chazal? i'd be happy to IY"H do so. Please explain which points you'd like me to elaborate on.

      I've read a bit of Dr. Sorotzkin's work - and I have serious reservations about whether he attempts to synthesize Chazal's multifaceted words in his work or just choose those that fit his thesis and discount the rest as נשתנו הדורות.

      I would love to have a discussion with him, here on this thread or elsewhere.

      The IKAR is to give our heart & soul to look out for another Jew's LONG TERM benefit, whether child or adult.

      I'll post a synopsis of some self-efficacy tips IY'H soon. These are the nuts & bolts of consistently proven good research that brings results, and gives students the שמחת החיים of mastery & meaning, through being מקיים what Chazal say: שיהיו דברי תורה מחודדים בפיך, as explained in the Gur Aryeh - that we should "own" Torah, כל חד לפום דרגא דילי'.

      THESE TIPS is MUCH more important than


    2. A Synopsis of Tips On Teaching From "Improving Self-Efficacy and Motivation - What To Do , What To Say" by Howard Margolis and Patrick P. McCabe. Intervention In School & Clinic, Vol. 41, No. 4, March 2006 (pp. 218-227)

      1) Plan moderately challenging tasks that are slightly above current performance levels and require moderate effort.

      2) Use peer models that can be observed successfully tackling targeted tasks.

      3) Teach specific learning strategies that provide a logical sequence of steps for attacking difficult tasks, thereby making task manageable, giving struggling students a starting point & developing optimism about ability to succeed.

      4) Whenever possible, allow students the ability to choose among acceptable, meaningful assignments and identify students' interests and develop assignments that incorporate interests into tasks.

      5) Reinforce effort, persistence & correct strategy use by offering extrinsic reinforcers and by negotiating behavioral contracts. Phase out reinforcers by moving from continuous to fixed to variable schedules of reinforcement and by moving from novel to naturally occurring reinforcements.

      How to strengthen self-efficacy:

      1) Encourage student effort and show how effort and persistence applied to activities at the appropriate level that require moderate effort will usually bring success, when coupled with previously mastered strategies.
      (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002)

      2) Tie new tasks to previously mastered tasks, thereby making the new ones more accessible. Ask students to compare new tasks to old ones and to find ways of applying previously learned strategies. Record progress and chart recent successes. (Alberto & Troutman, 2003; Heron & Harris 2001, Schunk, 1999, 2001; Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997)

      3) Offer immediate, specific feedback on what needs to be improved and what was done right. This acts as a map for success which strengthens self-efficacy. During the acquisition stage of new information mistakes are common and allowing mistakes to become entrenched can cause diminished self-efficacy, therefore immediate feedback and correction is crucial. Five types of teacher directed feedback: 1: Corrective feedback-reteach, rephrase, clarify, restate. 2: Prompt-Offer information (visual, auditory, tactile) to help correct mistakes. 3: Process feedback-Strengthen students' clarity by repeating student's correct answer and explain reasoning. 4: Instructive feedback-expand on concepts by offering additional information, such as definitions of difficult words. 5: Praising-Only offer legitimately earned praise so as to avoid the problem of unearned praise that students eventually understand as false & insincere. Effective praise suggests competence and is contingent on success, specifies accomplishments, is spontaneous and focuses attention on task relevant behavior. Praise should encourage determination, independence & creativity. Ineffective praise can weaken teacher's credibility and minimize effectiveness of future praise.

      3) Encourage functional attributions, where student sees success as attainable with proper effort and strategy.

  10. I believe that the blog auther's worldview flows from a specific understanding of what "autonomy" means. He seems to hew closely to what Buchanan in Am J Public Health. 2008 January; 98(1): 15–21 (view at: writes:

    "Most Americans view autonomy as synonymous with liberty, consciously or unconsciously reflecting the views of John Stuart Mill’s influential work On Liberty, in which liberty is construed as negative freedom, freedom from restraint, to do whatever one wants as long as it does not harm others".

    Buchanan continues with an alternative explanation:

    "By contrast, the definition of autonomy ... following Kant, is based on the integration of freedom and responsibility. Autonomous agents can adopt moral constraints, willingly submitting to norms to which they have given their consent.

    Autonomy ... is equated with positive freedom, self-mastery, with being in charge of oneself. One can be restricted (e.g., celibate) yet still be autonomous. The critical point is being in the position of deciding, not being decided for, being able to choose to accept reasonable constraints on one’s behaviors. As defined by Dworkin, autonomy is thus the capacity of a person to critically reflect upon and then attempt to accept or change one’s desires, values, and ideals."

    He (and his mentor Alfie Kohn) misunderstand Baumrind's work, based on their conceptualization of any restrain where one isn't allowed to do whatever one wants even in cases that others aren't harmed - as limiting liberty & therefore limiting autonomy. Therefore they view this restrain as a deprivation of love & an expression of control.

    In my opinion, this view is clearly anti-religion. Religion VALUES reasonable constrains. Religious Jews WILLINGLY accept many restrains – we endeavor to marshal our cognitive and emotional resources to help attain goals that the Torah considers important.

    I think it’s also anti common-sense, since autonomy doesn’t keep someone back from living a selfish, self-centered life..

    I think the other view on autonomy more closely corresponds to the religious view.As Buchanan explains Dworkin “autonomy is thus the capacity of a person to critically reflect upon and then attempt to accept or change one’s desires, values, and ideals”.

    That’s why self-disciple is viewed so positively by almost all important researchers in the field.

  11. Over at, Allan quotes Alfie Kohn as an authority to back up his views, both in regards to his belief that rewards are destructive to motivation & that too much self-control may be associated with anxiety, compulsiveness, and dampened emotional responses- only make things worse,.

    Here’s what Daniel Willingham (professor of psychology at the University of Virginia) writes about Alfie Kohn, at

    Kohn consistently makes factual errors, oversimplifies the literature that he seeks to explain, and commits logical fallacies.
    In his book, Punished by Rewards, Kohn claims … that praise and rewards for good behavior are destructive to motivation. The truth is actually somewhat more complicated. Rewards can reduce motivation, but only when motivation was somewhat high to start with. If the student is unmotivated to perform some task, rewarding him will not hurt his motivation.

    Praise can be controlling and exact a psychological cost, but its effect on the recipient depends on how it’s construed: does the child think you are offering sincere appreciation for a job well done, or sending the message that future behavior had better be in line with expectations? There is important psychological work showing that the role of praise and reward is complex. Carol Dweck is a leader in this field and her book, Mindset, provides a good overview.

    In a recent piece in the Phi Delta Kappan, Kohn argues that self-discipline has been over-sold, and indeed, that it has a dark side—too much self-control may be associated with anxiety, compulsiveness, and dampened emotional responses. … But Kohn proceeds from a definition of “self-control” that differs from that used by these researchers (Roy Baumeister, Angela Duckworth, Walter Mischel, and Marty Seligman), and indeed, by virtually all of the important researchers in the field.

    They define self-control as the ability to marshal your cognitive and emotional resources to help you attain goals that you consider important. Kohn defines self-control as using willpower to accomplish things that are generally regarded as desirable. Thus by Kohn’s definition, a child shows self-discipline when she determinedly (and miserably) slogs towards a goal that she does not value, but that her parents (or others) deem important.

    Researchers use the former definition when they claim that they find no disadvantages to self-control, and that they observe positive associations with achievement, social adjustment, mental health. Kohn’s point—that authoritarian control leads to negative outcomes—is not very startling and is shared more or less universally by researchers.

  12. 'He (and his mentor Alfie Kohn) misunderstand Baumrind's work, based on their conceptualization of any restrain where one isn't allowed to do whatever one wants even in cases that others aren't harmed - as limiting liberty & therefore limiting autonomy. Therefore they view this restrain as a deprivation of love & an expression of control.' - Ploni
    I don't know where you get this from – a dream maybe. If you understand Deci and Ryan – where the locus of control is placed outside the kid, that the parent or teacher becomes responsible for behavior through the imposition of rewards and punishments , no internalization of the value underlying the restraint takes place. The limit does not become the kid's limit . All the kid thinks is what will be the consequences on me and not what are the consequences of my behavior on others. The way limits are set – collaborative problem solving , the kid participating , or understanding the underlying principles so he will be able to analyze any situation and set a limit. The argument is not about the importance of limits but how they are set and internalized. Doing to kids with rewards and punishments instead of working with them is not respectful and a funny way to love kids

    'In my opinion, this view is clearly anti-religion. Religion VALUES reasonable constrains. Religious Jews WILLINGLY accept many restrains – we endeavor to marshal our cognitive and emotional resources to help attain goals that the Torah considers important.' –ploni
    Baumrind is a behaviorist ,which is anti-religious – the intentions and pninimus of a kid are totally irrelevant , not quite – there is self interest and no place for altruism

    I think it’s also anti common-sense, since autonomy doesn’t keep someone back from living a selfish, self-centered life.. - autonomy when defined as being connected to a person's inner core values and in the context of the 2 other needs competence and especially relatedness focus a person on others. Kohn unlike libertarians speaks of the importance of a school being a community of learners - cooperative learning and caring . His book on school discipline – Beyond discipline – moving from compliance( = Baumrind )to community . When kids are focused on the good of the community you certainly don't needs rewards and punishments to get them to think of themselves – what will I get , what will be done to me , what's in it for me ?

    1. Alan said, concerning Baumrind: "the parent or teacher becomes responsible for behavior"

      Alan, we're entering the realm of the absurd.

      Baumrind doesn't want the parent or teacher to become responsible for the child's behavior - she wants to teach him REASONING SKILLS, so that he is responsible for himself!

      Deci may believe that extrinsics don't foster independence, but doesn’t equate to forcing our will on children.

      Have you ever READ Baumrind's paper? I've already offered to send you a copy.

      Either you've been mislead by the Deci / Kohn people (which I'd like to believe, knowing your sincerity), or your practicing an especially egregious case of "strawman" argumentation.

      All of these quotes are taken VERBATIM from Baumrind’s landmark article: The Discipline Controversy Revisited
      Family Relations,Vol.45 No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 405-Published by: National Council on Family Relations

      I think that #7 is especially important, since it cites research that parents using the Nordic model used LESS reasoning.

      I’ll BL”N try to address the other issues that you raised when I have a chance later / tomorrow…

      1) “When parents consistently issue superfluous commands accompanied by threats and promises, but not by REASONS, they are being coercive. Coercive parents focus the child's attention on the powerful status of the parent rather than on the harmful consequences of the act that the parent wishes to correct. Coercive cycles of the kind Patterson and his colleagues (1992) describe tend to escalate into ineffectual and mutually hostile disciplinary encounters that provoke defiance and undermine internalization (Hoffman, 1960)”.

      2) “Typically, authoritative parents value behavioral compliance but not dispositional compliance (Baumrind 1966, 1975, 1978, 1980). Authoritative parents remain receptive to the child's views but take responsibility for firmly guiding the child's actions, emphasizing REASONING, communication, and rational discussion in interactions that are friendly as well as tutorial” …

      3) “Within the authoritative model, behavioral compliance and psychological autonomy are viewed not as mutually exclusive but rather as interdependent objectives: children are encouraged to respond habitually in pro-social ways and to REASON autonomously about moral problems, and to respect adult authorities and learn how to think independently”.

      4) “Parents influence children's development by such processes as ... use of induction and REASON; and observation of loved adults who manifest consistency between their beliefs, self-perceptions, and actions, and who model moral compassion and courage (Colby & Damon, 1992; Oliner & Oliner, 1988)”.

      5) “The importance of using REASON to justify caregivers' directives increases with age. By junior high school, children are more likely to identify with parents who use reason to justify their decisions and demands (Elder, 1963)”

      6) “The use of a REASON in a disciplinary confrontation broadens the context in which compliance is expected by generalizing from a specific act to a rule governing a larger class of behavior. (e.g., Baumrind & Black, 1967; Lytton & Zwirner, 1975; Walters & Grusec, 1977)”.

      7) “A Nordic Model … Palmerus and Scarr (1995) obtained current data on … discipline used in Sweden, … Compared to U.S. parents, Swedish parents report much less use of physical punishment, but they also report somewhat less use of REASONING”.

      End of Baumrind quotes. Allan, if you think I’m making this stuff up, I’ll be happy to send you a searchable copy of the paper.

  13. Stated briefly, I’ll repeat a few questions that I mostly already stated earlier:

    Do you have a plan B for times that you can’t motivate a child intrinsically?

    Are you claiming that intrinsic motivation always works, contrary to research to the contrary, some of which I quoted?

    Are you cognizant of the dangers of just “letting things sort themselves out”?

    I won’t quote any research now on this last point, although there’s a lot available. I’ll just quote The Rabbeinu Yonah, who points out a lack of proper upbringing as one reason why people continue to commit transgressions into adulthood:

    (שע"ת שער ג' מאמר עה.) ... "יש פושעים יכשלו בם כי לא הורגלו בנעוריהם בית אביהם להזהר בהם ונחלו אבות ולא ישמעו לקול מורים. ואלה עושים בזדון". [מש"כ "נחלו אבות" לכאורה הכוונה על מש"כ ירמי' ט"ז י"ט " אֵלֶיךָ גּוֹיִם יָבֹאוּ מֵֽאַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ וְיֹאמְרוּ אַךְ-שֶׁקֶר נָחֲלוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ"]

  14. Ploni,
    I don't have the time to repeat what I have said before -
    You can't metaheir the sheretz of behaviorism . Internalization of values, developing commitment to values , doing Teshuvah are promoted when kids' needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness are being met . When behavior in the home is enforced and controlled through rewards , consequences and punishments, the relationship is reciprocal – you have to do to get = an economic relationship, kids needs are not being met and they learn to ask – what will be done to me , what will I get , what's in it for me – . The research which Baumrind uses shows that it is the warm and not controlling relationship with a child that helps.The non-behaviorist research spearheaded by Deci and Ryan have long disproved Behaviorism – see Willingham . The battle is now on the ground where the practice of behaviorism is widespread. And that was the point of Alfie Kohn's ' Self Discipline is overrated ' Alfie Kohn replied to Willingham's drivel , who appears to have written the article 'ul menat lekanter ' but proved that he missed the whole point of the article. Teachers etc who make no effort to foster the love for learning for sure will glamorize will power and self control , because it makes their job easier to get kids to attend to learning which in itself has absolutely no inherent value or pleasure
    You asked if the kid does not have intrinsic motivation - you work hard at making the learning more gesmack and relevant , check whether the task is worth doing at all or teach the kid how to use his imagination to make uninteresting tasks more interesting. Much better than try to bribe the kid.

    1. Alan, there's no need to REPEAT, rather - there's a need to VALIDATE what you've been saying.

      You keep on offering up a false dichotomy - beating the "dead horse" of a coercive behaviorist methodology, while assuming incorrectly that anything deviating from Myrna Shure, Alfie Kohn , et al's idea of constructivism must be inherently flawed. I think it’s the “framing effect” at work, where only Posibilities A and B are acknowledged, totally ignoring the plausible alternative of Position C.

      The real problem is that your mentors are "throwing out the baby with the bath water" - they're so focused on denouncing one inferior approach, that they end up 1) ignoring & even denouncing excellent, valuable tools - including INTRINSIC tools, and 2) not offering up any adequate choices of your own, 3) prioritizing purely subjective issues clearly open to debate, while ignoring crucial, life-altering strategies. .

      There are parents & educators that intuitively practice a constructivist approach to teaching / parenting, but their practice looks NOTHING like what you describe. And they do EXTREMELY WELL.

      Why? Because they're aware of NECESSITY of a MUCH LARGER TOOLBOX OF STRATEGIES. Let's focus on intrinsics...

      There needs to be an awareness of the inherent cognitive BIASES that are part and parcel of life, which leads to the need to PRIORITIZE a number of issues which are being ignored and / or renounced by SDT:

      I'm surprised that they totally ignore REASON.

      In an earlier comment you protested that SDT doesn't define autonomy as "liberty", so I'm assuming that it's defining as "being able to choose to accept reasonable constraints on one’s behaviors".

      Is so, HOW do we mediate "autonomy" with restrain - besides for HOPING that the child will eventually give of himself when & if he reaches relatedness. What about Bayn Odom Lamokom?

      No, my answer isn't extrinsic - one important answer is REASONING. Why isn't reasoning important? Why not MORE important than autonomy, because without reason, autonomy leads us astray?

      ... And reasoning alone often won't be enough, because reasoning is often BIASED. Reasons for cognitive bias abound; information-processing shortcuts (heuristics), mental noise, the mind's limited information processing capacity, emotional and moral motivations, social influence, etc.

      Children need to know about biases. They need to value critical thinking skills - which equals SEARCH FOR TRUTH. Why don't we teach children these crucial INTRINSIC skills? Will collaboration do the trick? I doubt it.

      ... And dry reasoning isn't enough. There is a burning need for motivation. Solutions for motivation such as "learning more gesmack and relevant" sound nice, and relevance is most definitely endorsed by Chazal,

      However, yours is an example of “situational interest” - a spectacular chemistry demonstration could arouse transient interest even in students who are not particularly interested in chemistry. It's considered a transient motivation.

      By putting the onus on the teacher to entertain you're defeating the purpose of an ENDURING motivation - so what's the plan for making children into INDEPENDENT LEARNERS when there's nobody around to do the entertaining?

      Additionally, will the teachers entertaining teaching style make up for the child's negative emotions of inadequacy in feeling an ability to master the subject matter? Why is the tremendous INTRINSIC motivator of self-efficacy being ignored? Is self efficacy of minor import?

    2. continued....

      Please don't tell me that you're okay with "adding" self-efficacy to the "brew", because what will you say should happen when the drive for self efficacy and mastery CLASHES with the child's sense of autonomy? SE usually entails tackling moderately difficult work, and autonomy - even with collaboration - won't necessary lead to an intrinsic desire to tackle difficult work.

      Does your methodology include META-COGNITION - i.e., the conscious awareness and management of cognition and learning? Is meta-cognition unimportant? Can it be taken for granted?

      What constitutes reasonable constrains to an Orthodox Jew? Is the decision collaborative - or is it G-d given? Truth be told, it belongs to NEITHER parent or child, NEITHER teacher or student.

      ...And truth be told: If "restrain" is experienced as limitation, the the natural tendency would be to remove such constrains. Do you have a plan for that?

      I can go on and on. The problem is ignoring & even denouncing excellent, valuable tools, not offering up adequate choices of your own,and prioritizing purely subjective issues clearly open to debate, while ignoring crucial, life-altering strategies. .

      I've seen Kohn's rebuttal of Willingham & stand by my earlier opinion, but as mentioned - that's not the ikar here.

  15. 1 a teacher was having discipline problems with a kid for several weeks. A fellow teacher said to why don't you just give him a punishment or a consequence – the teacher replied I am not about to give up on this child
    2 a kid by mistake kicked a ball that hit a teacher in the face and she fell , the kid ran away - when a teacher asked the kid why he did not go and help the teacher – the boy replied – I am afraid of the consequences
    3 there was a mitzvah campaign to return lost property and kids were rewarded for returning . All of a sudden there was a spate of money being found in the playground - I wonder what was happening
    4 A story from Rav Osher Weiss - as a young boy he forged his mother's signature because he so much wanted the prize . He was called into the office and saw his mother and the principal. He was asked –is this your signature - and before he could answer he was told he could go. That was the last he heard of that incident. He said that this made an incredible impact on him – a punishment just reinforces a kid's view that adults are unfair and the focus is now on the punishment and not on the problem that caused the behavior

    1. Back to beating a dead horse?

      Your example 1) Don't you understand yet that what BOTH teachers need is better tools that DO WORK - in other words; neither of the two used bast practices?

      Example 2) Had the kid been raised in a thoughtful environment, the question of to punish or not to punish would depend on INTENT & FREQUENCY. There would be no need for him to run away if he made an innocent mistake. Perhaps explaining proper etiquette about playing around people would be in order.The false deduction would be to say that an habitual Mechutzaf doesn't deserve punishment.

      Example 3) I don't get your point here.

      Example 4) See #2 above, it would depend on intent on frequency. In this case no explaining was necessary, as the transgression was clear. I think you're strengthening my point here - if ROW NEVER expected punishment, the message would have be lost on him - as it was, he understood that he's on notice,

      So, what's your point - how about filling up the minds of these children with some positive, masterful learning experiences, where they find meaning in learning & put their energy there, instead of acting up?

  16. In an illuminating passage from her recent book Learning to Trust (2003), Marilyn Watson explained that a teacher can make it clear to students that certain actions are unacceptable while still providing “a very deep kind of reassurance – the reassurance that she still care[s] about them and [is] not going to punish or desert them, even [if they do] something very bad.” This posture allows “their best motives to surface,” thus giving “space and support for them to reflect and to autonomously engage in the moral act of restitution” – that is, to figure out how to make things right after doing something wrong. “If we want our students to trust that we care for them,” she concludes, “then we need to display our affection without demanding that they behave or perform in certain ways in return. It’s not that we don’t want and expect certain behaviors; we do. But our concern or affection does not depend on it.”
    This is the heart of unconditional teaching, and Watson points out that it’s easier to maintain this stance, even with kids who are frequently insulting or aggressive, if we keep in mind why they’re acting that way. The idea is for the teacher to think about what these students need (emotionally speaking) and probably haven’t received. That way, she can see “the vulnerable child behind the bothersome or menacing exterior.”
    The popular view is that children who misbehave are just “testing limits” – a phrase often used as a justification for imposing more limits, or punishments. But perhaps such children are testing something else entirely: the unconditionality of our care for them. Perhaps they’re acting in unacceptable ways to see if we’ll stop accepting them.
    Thus, one teacher (quoted in Watson, 2003) dealt with a particularly challenging child by sitting down with him and saying, “You know what[?] I really, really like you. You can keep doing all this stuff and it’s not going to change my mind. It seems to me that you are trying to get me to dislike you, but it’s not going to work. I’m not ever going to do that.” This teacher added: “It was soon after that, and I’m not saying immediately, that his disruptive behaviors started to decrease.” The moral here is that unconditional acceptance is not only something all children deserve; it’s also a powerfully effective way to help them become better people. It’s more useful, practically speaking, than any “behavior management” plan could ever be.
    People who have influenced my approach Ross Greene, Myrna Shure, Alfie Kohn , Joe Bower and Dr Benzion Sorotzkin

    1. I'd only hope that G-d decided to listen to you!

      Hashem is the epitome of goodness - correct?

      Guess what - כי כאשר ייסר איש את בנו כן ה' אלקיך מייסרך...

      He punishes - Oh boy! Can HE punish.... But we Believe that HE isn't punitive... And HE compares Himself to a father punishing his son...

      Get the message? Think about it. Punishment isn't automatically punitive.

      I'l end with the famous Midrash - although I'm sure you'll say "נשתנו הדורות" - (I've seen Dr Sorotzkin's paper on this, which I believe contains serious errors):

      (מדרש תנחומא-שמות א): תַּנְיָא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחַאי אוֹמֵר: אַתְּ מוֹצֵא שָׁלֹש מַתָּנוֹת טוֹבוֹת נָתַן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְלֹא נָתַן אוֹתָם אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי יִסּוּרִין, הַתּוֹרָה וְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. תּוֹרָה, דִּכְתִיב: אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר תְּיַסְּרֶנּוּ יָהּ וּמִתּוֹרָתְךָ תְלַמְּדֶּנּוּ (תהלים צד, יב). אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, דִּכְתִיב: וְיָדַעְתָּ עִם לְבָבֶךָ כִּי כַּאֲשֶׁר יְיַסֵּר אִישׁ אֶת בְּנוֹ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְיַסְּרֶךָ
      (מדרש רבה שמות – א): וְכָל הַמְיַסֵּר אֶת בְּנוֹ, מוֹסִיף הַבֵּן אַהֲבָה עַל אָבִיו וְהוּא מְכַבְּדוֹ ... אַתָּה מוֹצֵא שֶׁאַבְרָהָם יִסֵּר אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וְלִמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה וְהִדְרִיכוֹ בִּדְרָכָיו ... כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ הָיָה יִצְחָק מְשַׁחֵר מוּסָר לְיַעֲקֹב שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ יִצְחָק תּוֹרָה וְיִסְּרוֹ בְּבֵית תַּלְמוּדוֹ, ... לְפִיכָךְ זָכָה לִבְרָכָה וְיָרַשׁ אֶת הָאָרֶץ...וְאַף יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ יִסֵּר אֶת בָּנָיו וְרִדָּה אוֹתָם וְלִמְּדָם דְּרָכָיו, שֶׁלֹא הָיָה בָּהֶם פְּסֹלֶת, שֶׁכֵּן כְּתִיב: וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה וגו', הִשְׁוָן כֻּלָּם לְיַעֲקֹב, שֶׁכֻּלָם צַדִּיקִים כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ הָיוּ, הֱוֵי: וְאֹהֲבוֹ שִׁחֲרוֹ מוּסָר. ... שֶׁכָּל הַמּוֹנֵעַ בְּנוֹ מִן הַמַּרְדּוּת סוֹף בָּא לְתַרְבּוּת רָעָה וְשׂוֹנְאֵהוּ, שֶׁכֵּן מָצִינוּ בְּיִשְׁמָעֵאל שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ גַּעְגּוּעִים עַל אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וְלֹא רִדָּהוּ וְיָצָא לְתַרְבוּת רָעָה וּשְׂנֵאָהוּ

  17. I am always asked why you are against Rewards and punishments if the Torah is full of God rewarding and punishing , so your question from the verse is a good question
    I planned a blog artice on this on parashat be'har - R chaim Smulevitz etc , I will try do it earlier

  18. Allan!

    Stop beating around the bush!

    Answer him!

    He's making some good points!

  19. The issue of praising effort came up Ploni has argued praising effort based o Carol Dweck . Praising effort does not make ' praise' kosher , you are still making the kid into a object instead of being a subject . Being reflective is being a subject so help a kid be a gavra and not a cheftza
    Alfie Kohn in the link below summarizes his critique of Praise and deals with what praise is people wrongly think is ok . Point 3 deals with praise

    It’s not an argument for praising people’s effort rather than their ability. That distinction, which has attracted considerable attention over the last few years, is derived from the work of Carol Dweck. I have been greatly impressed and influenced by Dweck’s broader argument, which spells out the negative effects of leading people to attribute success (or failure) to their intelligence (or its absence). Intelligence, like other abilities, is often regarded as innate and fixed: You either got it, or you ain’t.
    But the critical distinction between effort and ability doesn’t map neatly onto the question of praise. First of all, while it’s impossible to dispute Dweck’s well-substantiated contention that praising kids for being smart is counterproductive, praising them for the effort they’ve made can also backfire: It may communicate that they’re really not very capable and therefore unlikely to succeed at future tasks. (If you’re complimenting me just for trying hard, it must be because I’m a loser.) At least three studies have supported exactly this concern.
    Second, the more attention we give to the problems of ability-focused praise in particular, the more we’re creating the misleading impression that praise in general is harmless or even desirable. Of the various problems I’ve laid out -- its status as an extrinsic inducement and a mechanism of control, its message of conditional acceptance, its detrimental effects on intrinsic motivation and achievement -- none is limited to the times when we praise someone’s ability. In fact, I’m not convinced that this type is any worse than other praise with respect to these deeper issues.
    Third, to the extent that we want to teach the importance of making an effort -- the point being that people have some control over their future accomplishments -- praise really isn’t required at all. (Dweck readily conceded this in a conversation we had some years ago. Indeed, she didn’t seem particularly attached to praise as a strategy and she willingly acknowledged its potential pitfalls.) It would be a useful exercise, for an individual teacher or as a staff development activity, to figure out how we might be leading students to conclude that failing at a task means they just don’t have what it takes. What policies, and what approaches to assessment in particular, might incline someone to think that ability, as opposed to effort, makes the difference?

  20. First of all, I wanted to thank you for addressing at least one of the substantive issues that I raised, namely that of praising effort & not outcome. I hope you’ll eventually address the many other substantive issues I raised, as well.

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said before, that my greatest (although not only) gripe with SDT isn’t what you DO advocate, but rather the gaping holes caused in childrearing practice because of the inherent limitations of the dogma of “autonomy” and illegitimization of so many crucial teaching / childrearing tools.

    The analogy would be to a first-time mother, who upon hearing of the health benefits of eating SPINACH decides to obligate her child to eat spinach each & every day. The problem isn’t with the spinach, but rather in the inability to implement the “great” idea, since the child has no motivation whatsoever.

    Torah Lishma is really great. However, there’s a reason why Chazal found it important to note that מתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה – they UNDERSTOOD human nature. Lishma alone tastes like spinach, until the taste is acquired……

    Therefore, SDT’s grand theory is only as good as its weakest link, namely “Plan B”. THAT is why I pressed you for Plan B.

    As someone working in the field for many decades who has been fortunate to meet many educators literally from all over the world, I can confirm what any experienced educator would say: Your list for Plan B is left wanting, both in quality & in quantity. Saying, “you work hard at making the learning more gesmack and relevant , check whether the task is worth doing at all or teach the kid how to use his imagination to make uninteresting tasks more interesting.“ – isn’t enough, it won’t work!

    I’m not being nitty-picky, I’m just pointing out that stronger research isn’t so exclusionary; good research combines both constructivism AND behaviorism – they don’t believe in Greene and Kohn’s גזירות. Additionally, good research combines BOTH “cognitive constructionism” AND “social constructionism”, unlike SDT’s emphasis on the social aspect – to the detriment of the child.

    Next post I’ll iy”h address Kohn’s criticism of Dweck


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