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Am I the only one who wasn't thrilled with the book Unconditional Parenting? - Page 3

post #41 of 117
I thank the OP for starting this thread!

This book has made me very confused and apprehensive in what I say to dd. Yes, we have used the word "good" to dd. I have even used it in my AP playgroup and then I was nervous about how the mom's would respond! Of course they didn't.

I am LD in expressive language so I have a difficult time expressing myself and have always been very self conscious of this. I knew this book would not give specific things to say, but now I feel that I need them. I find myself not saying anything at all in certain situations because what I always thought was ok is now wrong! So I have a hard time retrieving words as it is, and now the words that come naturally and are easy for me to retrieve are wrong.

If anyone has a good book suggestion, I would be thankful!
post #42 of 117
I liked "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...."

Practical, respectful, and goal-oriented (the goal being a healthy, happy, functioning family).
post #43 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
I greatly prefer the P.E.T. approach in which I get to have foibles and a bit of guilt free breathing space.
NoHiddenFees: What's the P.E.T approach?

-Sandra
post #44 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksmama
NoHiddenFees: What's the P.E.T approach?

-Sandra
How funny that PET got brought up today, my mom and I were just talking about this! It stands for Parent Effectiveness Training and has been around a long time since my mom used it on me It is a lot like How to Talk so Kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. I was using some of those techniques today with my three and five year old, mainly the reflecting on their feelings and some of the granting them their wishes in fantasy and my mom said, "Oh are you doing PET?" So it seems like it has a lot of similarities.
post #45 of 117
P.E.T is a goofy name. So goofy it took me about three years to get around to reading it. However, it and the Faber/Mazlish works based on Haim Ginott's work are, AFAIK, more or less the basis of all GD parenting works that follow.

P.E.T. breaks problems down into two groups: "your problems" and the "child's problems." Depending on who owns the problem, different responses are warranted. A passive (edited to add: oops I meant active) listening approach is recommended for the child's problems, while a "when you xxxxxx I feel xxxxx because xxxxx" approach is better for the parent's problems with the child.

Unlike Kohn, P.E.T. encourages parents to be honest with their children (and themselves) about their feelings. The author believe that trying to hide your negative feelings may do long term damage because kids pick up on stuff. This is where Kohn doesn't ring true for me. He's so worried about kids feeling judged by what parents say that he doesn't consider the consequences of kids sensing our unspoken disapproval. We can't help it, we are human. But we are also unique. Your triggers are not mine and even as individuals our limits can vary depending on such things as how much sleep we're getting, how much stress we're under and what kind of day we're having. With P.E.T. our negative feelings -- whether or not they are interpreted as disapproval -- are at least acknowledged and up for discussion. IMHO, the Kohns of the world seem to place a greater value on our children's range of feelings and emotional needs than the parents.
post #46 of 117
Kari & Nohiddenfees:

Thanks for the answer. I've never heard of this, but it sounds interesting.

Kari you mentioned that your mom used it on you. How did you perceive that method, as a child?

Sandra
post #47 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoHiddenFees
This is where Kohn doesn't ring true for me. He's so worried about kids feeling judged by what parents say that he doesn't consider the consequences of kids sensing our unspoken disapproval.
This is my problem with Kohn too. I loved a lot of what he had to say in Punished by Rewards, and for the first couple of chapters of Unconditional Parenting I thought it was a great book (he does make some good points). But as I continued to read I began to feel that Kohn is nearly paranoid about how each and every little thing a parent says may be perceived by the child as manipulation, disapproval or withdrawal of love-not just concerned about it or mindful of it, but really obsessed by it. I found myself wondering if he has any spontaneous interactions with his children at all. This is where he lost me. To be so concerned, in the extreme way he seems to be, about how each little phrase we utter (even when we think what we're uttering is loving) might be damaging is overwhelming-and more importantly it is potentially damaging for children to sense our unspoken disapproval. I love my children absolutely unconditionally, and I also disapprove of some of the things they do. That isn't wrong, it just is. And my kids will sense when I disapprove no matter how I phrase myself or what kind of body language I try to use to mask my irritation.

I agree that kids will perceive our true feelings no matter what, and honesty about our feelings (in a tactful, sensitive, age-appropriate manner) is so very helpful to children. There will always be times our children perceive us as disapproving or even as manipulating whether or not that's the truth-because they are individuals and perceive things in their own way. You can't control someone else's perceptions, you can only be honest and loving in your interactions with them and mindful of how your words and actions may affect them.

I think P.E.T. is a good alternative recommendation, and so is How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen so Your Kids Will Talk. Non-Violent Communication by Rosenberg is also an excellent resource for loving, peaceful, empathetic, honest communication and I highly recommend it.
post #48 of 117
I love the book.

I think it deals with a lot of issues that are hard to confront head-on since they are so ingrained in our society.
post #49 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
I think it deals with a lot of issues that are hard to confront head-on since they are so ingrained in our society.
Yes, this is one great thing about this book. He did a good job of making me think about my children's experience of life, and about which things are important to teach my children and why, and of making me examine more deeply my own attitudes toward, expectations of, and treatment of my children. He does a great job of emphasizing the humanity of children and the respect children deserve but so often do not receive in our society.
post #50 of 117
I don't think he's obsessed or paranoid, I think he's just trying to get us to have a change in perspective. He wants us to see our actions from the viewpoint of the child, rather than just from our viewpoint. That's a big point for him - that things that we don't intend to be punishments might still be perceived as punishments by children and therefore would have any negative effects that punishments would have. He gives a lot of examples where that might come up but I don't think it's about examining every interaction so much as making that shift in perspective.
post #51 of 117
While I agree that he is focused on identifying how children view things. I find that he often tells the reader how a child feels when x happens. Which really put me off the deep end.
I feel that I already do a pretty good job looking at things from my childrens perspective, and so when he says "your child is really thinking this" I think "you dont know my child? What makes you think you know better than I do how he feels?"
Now again I have not read this book and he may be more general as in "some children might feel this way" but I have read too many things where he said "almost all children think this" And it is these kinds of statements that I object to.
As an attached parent I am in a far better position to guage how my children feel about anything than this stranger making vast generalizations.
Joline
post #52 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
While I agree that he is focused on identifying how children view things. I find that he often tells the reader how a child feels when x happens. Which really put me off the deep end.
I feel that I already do a pretty good job looking at things from my childrens perspective, and so when he says "your child is really thinking this" I think "you dont know my child? What makes you think you know better than I do how he feels?"
Now again I have not read this book and he may be more general as in "some children might feel this way" but I have read too many things where he said "almost all children think this" And it is these kinds of statements that I object to.
As an attached parent I am in a far better position to guage how my children feel about anything than this stranger making vast generalizations.
Joline

Yet, i have seen many, many instances where even AP parents I know well see their child as being defiant or willful where I see the same behaviors as embarrassed or ashamed or scared. I don't think all AP families are that in tune to underlying 'feeings' or issues. Further, I've seen perfectly reasonable parents get crazy and react badly to very normal behaviors, or read certain intent to behaviors that are without intent.

But don't even get me started on parents who call themselves "AP" who , in a word, aren't.
post #53 of 117
Well sure, but even a parent who isnt in tuned all the time to every emotion has an advantage over a stranger who has never met the child.
I am not saying that parents always know, but how can he know better even than those in the best position to know.
Joline
post #54 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
Well sure, but even a parent who isnt in tuned all the time to every emotion has an advantage over a stranger who has never met the child.
I am not saying that parents always know, but how can he know better even than those in the best position to know.
Joline
He just uses generalizations and either completely made-up examples or he uses examples involving his own children. I don't recall anywhere in the book where he second-guessed a specific parent about a specific child.
post #55 of 117
As I said I have not read that particular book.
However I have read many statements form him under the line as "Most children experience time out as a withdrawal of love".
Most children?
If he meant his children he ought to have said that. If he said "some children" or "x child in this example,felt such and such" WEll I'd be ok with that too.
But between Punished by rewards and the online articles I have read that all or most children seem to react in ways or feel things in ways I have never witnessed or experienced in my own childhood or in my own children.
I think that his observations are likely very apt and true for some or maybe even many children. I think that some are probably very likely true for children of particular temperaments.
But the way he appears to state these things as universal truths about all children just doesnt ring true to me and reduces his credibility a great deal.
Joline
post #56 of 117
Here's an example of what I've read:

from http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/to.htm

Quote:
Let me be clear that there is nothing objectionable about having a safe, comfortable place where a child can go to calm down or just be alone for a few minutes. That's a terrific idea -- so good, in fact, that adults can set a powerful example by taking some time by themselves to cool off when they feel angry. Children should be given this option, and when emotions are running high, they can be gently (and, if possible, privately) reminded that it exists. What Katz and Paley and the rest of us are talking about, though, is a situation where the child is ordered to leave the group, where, in the words of one fervent proponent (Ruth Charney), it is "a direction, not a negotiation." In practice, that means it's a punishment -- and for many children, a remarkably hurtful one.
That very clearly says "many children". I don't recall any "universal truths" in his book. Maybe we've read his stuff from different perspectives and we have reacted to them differently because of that? Or maybe I just have a bad memory . . .
post #57 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
However I have read many statements form him under the line as "Most children experience time out as a withdrawal of love".
Most children?
Hi, I'm just reading this thread and want to ask.... do you think that some children don't experience time out as love withdrawal?

TIA for your honest feedback. :

Cheers,
CurlyTop
post #58 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurlyTop
Hi, I'm just reading this thread and want to ask.... do you think that some children don't experience time out as love withdrawal?
I'm not Johub... but I was mostly disciplined with time out and lost privileges as a child, and I don't remember experiencing it as "love withdrawal" at all. I never, ever, ever doubted that my mother loved me. Ever. My mother was the reassuring bedrock of my childhood.

I can distinctly remember being four or five and having to sit on a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor until the oven timer went off. The negative aspects of time out, for me (and I'd say for my siblings as well), were that it was boring and it interrupted playtime. In the context of a loving family and a secure attachment, and administered in a way that didn't involve shaming, time out was not traumatic for me.

I think contextual factors are probably very important in how *most* punishments will affect a child: the overall parent-child relationship, the child's temperament, the parent's manner, the fairness (vs. capriciousness or harshness) of the situation, the particulars of the punishment.
post #59 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivka5
I'm not Johub... but I was mostly disciplined with time out and lost privileges as a child, and I don't remember experiencing it as "love withdrawal" at all. I never, ever, ever doubted that my mother loved me. Ever. My mother was the reassuring bedrock of my childhood.

I can distinctly remember being four or five and having to sit on a chair in the middle of the kitchen floor until the oven timer went off. The negative aspects of time out, for me (and I'd say for my siblings as well), were that it was boring and it interrupted playtime. In the context of a loving family and a secure attachment, and administered in a way that didn't involve shaming, time out was not traumatic for me.

I think contextual factors are probably very important in how *most* punishments will affect a child: the overall parent-child relationship, the child's temperament, the parent's manner, the fairness (vs. capriciousness or harshness) of the situation, the particulars of the punishment.
I was only breastfed two months, and never got sick. Didn't need an antibiotic until was like 13 when i had a horrible ear infection.

Doesn't mean not breastfeeding was actually good for me.

Kids can be punsihed and 'be fine', just as many formula kids are 'healthy'.

Other kids can get punished and be harmed, and some formula fed kids have compromised immune systems and get every sickness their entire lives.

Thing is, it's hard to tell which one you have.

Not only that, raising kids without punishment or shame is better is far more pleasant, and kids learn respect for indiviual needs.

I like not having to deal with deciding who is good and who is bad. Some of my kids are more 'prickly' than others, but even the prickly don't deserve to be shamed. I don't care what one calls 'timeouts'. If my children need space, I can be there with them. I can hold them or give them space without making it a punishment.

I can see that all of my children are trying to do the right thing, and that punishing them doesn't make any of us happier, smarter or better human beings.

Kids don't need timed punishments to grow well.

What might have happened if you had not been but in time out? Do you think you would be in prison today?

I realize what i am saying seems 'out there'. But in my 16 yrs of being a parent, i have seen that children want to do 'the right thing' and often feel sick when they think they have let their parents down. They experience shame when they feel they are not doing what is 'right'.

I am not about shame. My kids respond to my compassion. They are not perfect, but neither am I. And my partner? Way not perfect. :LOL

We cut each other slack.
post #60 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by CurlyTop
Hi, I'm just reading this thread and want to ask.... do you think that some children don't experience time out as love withdrawal?

TIA for your honest feedback. :

Cheers,
CurlyTop
Absolutely. In fact there are very few circumstances where I would see how a child might perceive it as this way.
For example if the parent is holding and showing love to the child at the time of the misbehavior and the parent pushes the child away and sends them to time out.
But in my experience children are not acting out during a time frame in which they are in a giving/receiving of love mode wiht their parent.
If for example my two sons are playing together entirely separate from me and one hits the other. I remove the hitter to time out. The only thing the hitting child is being withdrawn from is play and his brother, but not me. As he was not with me in the first place.
I read this idea and I pondered it. And I tried to see how it might be true. But it is just somethign that does not ring true with my experience. Not for me and my children, and their temperaments and the times when I use time out.
Different children react differently. I imagine that time out might be seen as a withddrawal of love by some highly sensitive temperaments as well as by small children with serious separation anxiety.
But that is certainly not all or most children.
Joline
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