Angel that he is, Charlie can be quite mischievous. He likes to throw things off his high chair, for a start. And he'll taunt whoever's watching him by slowly holding out his sippy cup, for instance, waiting 'til he's got your full attention, before dropping it to the floor. And he won't take 'no' for an answer. Oh no! So, bring on the lavish praise. 'Thank-you Charlie' I'll repeat, effusively, whenever the cup moves back towards his tray. 'Good boy!' I exclaim as he places it down again and carries on with his lunch. 'Well done, what a good boy!' I continue, and it clearly works. He likes the praise. He grins from ear to ear and chortles contentedly as he carries on munching for a minute in a satisfied manner. There's no doubt at all he likes the feedback that he's getting. Oh yes! So much so that - half-a-minute later - he's holding out the cup again for a repeat performance.
This is happening more and more, and appears to reveal a fatal flaw in this (otherwise excellent) philosophy of childcare. If kids really do like praise so much, and if they're praised so readily for turning away from acts of mischief, then what's to stop them repeating such behaviour again and again?
Or am I doing it all wrong?