Originally Posted by lizamann
"-let go of the belief that I can control my children's behavior.
-let go of the belief that I should control my children's behavior
-let go of the belief that if I'm a good mother, if I'm using the right techniques, my kids will not misbehave
-let go of the need or desire to have other people think I'm a good mother, to let go of caring what other adults think
-let go of the word "misbehavior", of the idea that kids do things we don't like out of choice and to test limits "
These are the very points in the book that have helped me to RELAX. What a relief to say the least! In particular, I can't believe how many of my parenting ideals have been washed out lately by my concern about what other people are thinking. Indeed, DS at four is a totally brand-new person: more unpredictable, more of a dare-devil, more vocal, more emotionally raw. It's the first time I've had a difficult time adjusting to new and exciting behaviors, and I think because so much of the "rawness" seems to come out in public places like for instance, the library.
At any rate, since reading the book, it's been much easier to focus on DS in these instances and realize that he's just being a kid. When I'm not worried about what others are thinking, I can actually think clearly and help DS (and me!) get through a difficult spot. I'm much less likely to resort to coercion. He and I can truly connect and we both, for the most part, stay calm and work through it together.
Originally Posted by lizamann
This quote from Sledg in her other thread really seems to sum up Kohn's theme to me. I loved the first part of the book where he explains why this is so important, and sites studies and explains why.
I thought the second part of the book, the part with the "suggestions" was a little weak. But not in a bad way. I think he definitely feels the relationship is the important thing, so doesn't give specific suggestions on purpose.
Reading this book has has been an interesting transtion for me. The first parenting/discipline book I ever read was Kids Are Worth It
by Barbara Coloroso. I remember liking it's overall theme, but being frustrated by the lack of specific advice and examples. Being new to the discipline arena, this was very important to me at the time. Then, I read How To Talk...
and it was like, "ahhhh." A book written in a similar mindset as Kids
, but with tons of examples and techniques. I realized the importance of overall philosophy, but what I thought I really needed was "my words" available for any given situation.
Apparently however, my needs are shifting. When I began reading Kohn's book, one of the first items he addressed was that when we focus too much on "behavior" and obtaining obedience in the moment, we can easily allow our long-term goals for our child to slip through the cracks. Ya know, like self-security, confidence, ability to think for him/herself... eek.
|It's the child who engages in a behavior, not just the behavior itself, that matters. - Alfie Kohn
Statements like these have not only hit home for me, but helped me tap into my own resources for answers. I realize I've had them all along, but somehow they get lost among all sorts of needless external factors. As I've read on, I have quite literally felt tension easing out of my body. Indeed, I've cringed at some of the things he points out that I could be doing much better, but overall, I know it's within my power to change those things. I'd go so far as to say that "Unconditional Parenting" is the first of a more "general philosophy" book that has truly empowered me. Before, it was like, "This sounds great, but I just don't have the implementation skills." Now, it's ever so clear that behavior itself is neither here nor there, but the "relationship I have with my child" that truly dictates the weather. (Hey, maybe this is some sort of personal growth thing for me!
) At any rate, DH and I were so relieved by this mainly because we already know exactly the things we need do to keep the relationship between DS and ourselves on good footing: we spend time with him. Truly focused time. We play as much as possible, and here he takes the lead. We don't expect more of him than is develpmentally appropriate, we say YES a lot and realize that there are enough non-negotiable NOs in his life that we don't need to add to them for our own convenience or because we're feeling too lazy to help him make things happen. We talk less, listen more, involve him in decisions, yada yada yada... you get the picture.
Yikes, serious rambling here. I really can't say enough about this wonderfully insightful book. Alas, my husband and son are jamming VERY LOUDLY in the background and my concentration is a bit limited.
Hope this disussion grows and more people read the book! Can't wait to read more perspectives and experiences!