Mrs. Right and Mr. Wrong on child-rearing
By melinchina on Jun 09, 2007
When my husband (who is Chinese) quizzes our daughter on her math homework and she gets the answer right he moves right on to the next problem. No praise, no recognition of the fact that she got the answer right, he just moves on to the next one. If she gets something wrong though he says pretty loudly, "Wrong!" and she has to rethink her answer.
I asked him why he doesn't compliment her when she gets the answer right. His reasons were a) this is the way I was raised and I can do long-division in my head b) the assumption is that she's right so I shouldn't have to acknowledge it if she is.
My approach is exactly opposite (I am American). When I'm quizzing her on math and she gets something wrong it's hard for me to say that she's wrong. I tend to say stuff like, "Not quite" or "guess again" or "you're so close" when in fact when it comes to Math there really are just two options: right and wrong. Why is it so hard for me to say it when she's wrong?
And if she gets something right I tend to give heavy praise. "Awesome!", "You got it!", "Excellent!" Admittedly to the extent that my encouragement might not really mean that much after a while.
My husband and I are trying to cross-pollinate each other. He's learning to say "right" and I'm learning to say "wrong". And we're both learning to temper our compliments and criticisms so that both mean something to our daughter.