Unconditional Parenting has "emboldened" our daughter, not in a good way...? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 42 Old 04-01-2010, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Preggie,
Please come conduct an in-service training at our house.. I hope I can be as articulate as you are when I grow up...but, being over 40 already, can only dream.
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#32 of 42 Old 04-02-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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Preggie,
Please come conduct an in-service training at our house.. I hope I can be as articulate as you are when I grow up...but, being over 40 already, can only dream.
and

Fwiw, I don't think you are lacking.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#33 of 42 Old 04-02-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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Thank you for the thoughtful replies again, PreggieUBA2C.

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That is my own preference for the use of those terms and it really is a philosophical/semantic issue, admittedly, and perhaps that's going much further than you wanted to, but it would be helpful to me if you'd allow me that latitude- I really have to make that distinction in order to keep my own thinking in alignment. I am happy to take your meaning over your word choices where they differ from mine, of course, as I am asking the same of you here.
Definitely. I think I understand what you're saying better now. People just defining and using terms differently is an issue here, I think. Such as Unconditional Parenting, or the term "judgement"...

For instance, I don't have any negative connotations with the word or the concept of judgement at all. I think it's just something we all do, every minute of the day. We observe, take in information and form conclusions about the information. So it's more difficult for me to accept or understand a philosophy that identifies making judgements on a child's behaviour as something to be avoided. Since I see it as something we naturally are going to do anyway. And something that the child will probably not analyse or think about so deeply in any case. (I'm only going on the way I myself thought as a child.)

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I hope that my brief explanation of behaviourism above will address some of what you've written here. As above, the contradiction exists in what seems to be your denotative understanding of the term 'unconditional parenting.' Stopping the child from causing another harm is not ipso facto controlling him/her. It can be, and as pp wrote, intention matters a lot, as does the child's perception of the parent's actions toward him/her....

Coercion, though having many definitions, in the context of UP, is used to denote the compulsion of another under threat, as in, "if you do/don't, then I will withdraw my love and acceptance/punish/reward you." It does not assume the impotence of the parents or an absence of need of the child for direction from his/her parents.
Re: the child's perception of the parent's actions/feelings toward him or her...If a child believes that he's being punished for something, or that his/her parent is displeased with his behaviour in any given situation, do you believe that the child will necessarily feel unloved as a result? In other words, do you think it goes that deep...if you do not accept a certain behaviour and want it to change, would you say a child naturally sees that as the parent is not accepting him or her, fundamentally?

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#34 of 42 Old 04-02-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Hey! Thank you to you too!

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Originally Posted by coffeegirl View Post
Thank you for the thoughtful replies again, PreggieUBA2C.

Definitely. I think I understand what you're saying better now. People just defining and using terms differently is an issue here, I think. Such as Unconditional Parenting, or the term "judgement"...

For instance, I don't have any negative connotations with the word or the concept of judgement at all. I think it's just something we all do, every minute of the day. We observe, take in information and form conclusions about the information. So it's more difficult for me to accept or understand a philosophy that identifies making judgements on a child's behaviour as something to be avoided. Since I see it as something we naturally are going to do anyway. And something that the child will probably not analyse or think about so deeply in any case. (I'm only going on the way I myself thought as a child.)
I wouldn't consider my view of judgment as negative either- just different than discernment and unnecessary in the majority of behaviours. It's sort of like overkill at best, bu that's because I view it as being distinct from discernment. I don't view their actions as fitting into one of two available categories, as in 'right' and 'wrong.' There is an enormous amount of grey between the finalities of black and white, and the grey is where most of us live most of the time, imo.

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Re: the child's perception of the parent's actions/feelings toward him or her...If a child believes that he's being punished for something, or that his/her parent is displeased with his behaviour in any given situation, do you believe that the child will necessarily feel unloved as a result? In other words, do you think it goes that deep...if you do not accept a certain behaviour and want it to change, would you say a child naturally sees that as the parent is not accepting him or her, fundamentally?
Absolutely not in my family, but there are a lot of caveats to that, which I've already written about in previous posts. I find behaviours unacceptable all the time, but there is no threat of love withdrawal if my dc don't do as I prefer.

I do think it always goes that deep though. I see in my dc that they don't do anything with half-effort or have half-feelings or half-anything. They do everything as though it were the last thing they will ever do and they give their whole selves into whatever it is. So, if I am difficult to please, they do feel that very deeply, because they are fully invested- fully. It is possible to desensitize a child to my responses by adding things like punishment and rewards as red herrings so that they focus on that aspect of our interraction instead of the interpersonal one, but that is the sort of child-training that I would not do.

In almost every circumstance, given that I am a free-thinking philosophical anarchist (to give you an approximate gauge), I can consider how I would respond to a stranger- assuming the best intentions, quickly scanning for all the possible options for explanation of his/her behaviour, examining my own participation in his/her responses and reactions- and then heaping on love and retaining my connection with them because they are not strangers, but little people I know very well.

Given that, I cannot imagine the situation in which I would assume the the worst intention of a stranger, threaten him with isolating him from me and removing a security of his (property or something I know matters to him), expressing my displeasure with his actions by chastising him and without considering my own participation, ignoring his needs as they would be obvious if I had paid attention, etc...

I would seem like a lunatic to that person. Our children become acclimated to that if we treat them that way, but we are no less lunatics for all of the assumptions we make about them to allow ourselves to be so flippant with their emotions and needs as to punish them or reward them for when they displease/please us.

Again, giving love unconditionally does not mean being a wet-noodle, unsure of myself and unable to make a decision. And my children are not feral. There is a very, very large area of grey between the two extremes of authoritairian and permissive. UP does not mean abdicating my responsibility to guide my children. Of course that will look different in every family according to the dynamics of relationships within them.

I do think that it is very hard to know that I am loved if my partner withdraws from me any time I offend him, with looks of disaproval, no concern for or inquiry into the reasons for my choices/behaviours and does not allow me to explore my own self and my own limitations freely. He may indeed profess to love me before and after he withdraws from me, but that love, even if he didn't think of it this way, would definitely feel conditional to me. I would feel mor eloved when he was pleased with me and less or not at all loved when he was displeased.

I expect in my healthy relationship with my dp that he will ask questions and actually try to root out underlying reasons before he assumes that I intend to offend him, that he will not take offense to me or even my behaviour but sees himself as capable of standing autonomously in spite of it- being steady even if I am not. He may respond, of course, and that is ideal! But he must not cross into my autonomy as a whole human being with the assumption that he may dole out punishment or rewards, even if they are just emotional- such as withdrawal or special-circumstance affection. As a parent, my responses must not cross into the autonomy of the child either, recognising that the child is in the process of actualising that autonomy and does not yet know its boundaries; but I do, so I mustn't abuse my privileged position! They will figure it out too, but it will take a lot longer if I hinder them with my own superimposed conditional relationship with them when I kow that this relationship is foundational to them being able to self-actualise.

For a child, seeing that his/her behaviour can change mummie or daddy, that their moods and behaviour are contingent on the child's moods and behaviour, is very scary. I think that is the insecurity you are actually concerned about. The 'structure' the child needs is the surety of the parents' selves, not the certainty that there are going to be imposed consequences for behaviours according to the parents' judgments (good or bad- reward or punishment).

Consequences, if they are actual, come in any case, so imposing extras, and especially as doing so often shields the child from seeing the actual ones, is not helpful to the child or the relationship. And I think that doing so does convey a conditionality of love to the child. I don't know of many parents who would admit to not loving their children, so that parents retain their love for their children no matter how they parent is not at issue for me. Rather, it is how the child receives love from the parent that is. The child's perception is HALF of the equation! If love is to be complete, it has to have a giver and a receiver, and if the receiver is not able to receive it because of some hindrance, then the giving is lost, and to the one who isn't able to receive it, it is as if it never came. I submit that punishing and rewarding by whatever means, clouds that ability to receive.

It isn't good enough to assume that however we treat our children, somehow they'll be able to extrapolate from our mixed messages a continuous stream of love. That doesn't work in adult relationships at all! As adults, we know this, and to ignore it usually means that intimate relationships are out of reach or don't last, or we continually feel unfulfilled in them. It is not different for the child except that this is formational for the child, and therefore it's of much greater import that we not mess that up for them!!!

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#35 of 42 Old 04-03-2010, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Preggie,
I wish you were MY mother. LOL.
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#36 of 42 Old 04-03-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Wow, thank-you for such a thought inspiring thread! I have read UP by Alfie Konn and Naomi Aldorts book(raising your children raising yourself), and I'm trying to raise my daughter using UP principles. The problem is, I'm still learning, and trying to undertand, and while DH has read the Naomi Aldorts book, he's gotten a completely different concept from it, than I think it was trying to imply. He still uses punishments, and rewards(example: no dessert until you eat X amount of bites of your dinner). And his way works, so to him, thats how it should be. I find myself reverting to these ways as well, when I'm frustrated, because it does work, but I know in the long run, thats not what I want.

Another constant struggle, is I try and allow DD freedoms to learn on her own, as long as I don't perceive it to be too dangerous. DH's perception of dangerous is wayyy different than mine. For example one of the PP's mention allowing her kids to sit on the table. To me the danger of them falling off, maybe bumping their head or something of that sort, is not all that big of a deal. But for DH that is unacceptable. Too dangerous, you never know how badly she could hurt herself, and we're supposed to be there to protect her. Any suggestions in my case(sorry to thread jack, just thought it was relevant enough, and could maybe help others as well)?
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#37 of 42 Old 04-04-2010, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nereid,
I'm with you...maybe your dh will read Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards. It goes over behaviorism really well...and if he won't read it (as my dh has not done) it will give you some fortification in your conversations...

As to the second part of your reply--I'm with you there too. I did read some things about our fears and projections onto kids inhibits their growth--but of course I can't put my finger on what or where. Anyone...?
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#38 of 42 Old 04-04-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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Another constant struggle, is I try and allow DD freedoms to learn on her own, as long as I don't perceive it to be too dangerous. DH's perception of dangerous is wayyy different than mine. For example one of the PP's mention allowing her kids to sit on the table. To me the danger of them falling off, maybe bumping their head or something of that sort, is not all that big of a deal. But for DH that is unacceptable. Too dangerous, you never know how badly she could hurt herself, and we're supposed to be there to protect her. Any suggestions in my case(sorry to thread jack, just thought it was relevant enough, and could maybe help others as well)?
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I'm with you there too. I did read some things about our fears and projections onto kids inhibits their growth--but of course I can't put my finger on what or where. Anyone...?
I personally don't believe that a child should ever be discouraged from climbing. They know their own bodies and usually will not go somewhere too high or too dangerous. When DD was a baby, I used to 'spot' her if she looked like she was in over her head on the playground, but I never told her she couldn't do it. If she asks for help, I tell her where to put her feet or hands but I don't jump in with a rescue unless she asks. On the same token, if something is clearly over her head I don't lift her up to do it. If she's scared to do it herself I figure she shouldn't be doing it.

Qualifier: I spent years of my childhood trying to get up the guts to do figure skating jumps and years of my adulthood trying to get up the guts to do tougher moves in rock climbing, and I grew up with the stereotypically overprotective Jewish mother, so I may not be entirely objective about this

OTOH, in the instance of climbing on the table, is it really that it's too dangerous or is it that he doesn't want the baby up on the table?
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#39 of 42 Old 04-04-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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Nereid, My husband is like that too. His big thing, and indeed his whole family are livid when they see it, is barefeet, especially barefeet outside.

I never wear shoes if I don't absolutely HAVE to, so I think they are crazy...but then every single time dh opts to go free like his carefree wife and son something bad happens to him, he stepped on a poisonous caterpiller one time, he stubbed his toe black and blue another, he stepped on a shard of seashell last time and sliced his heel wide open, and needed three stitches! I can't understand why it keeps happening to him and ds and I walk everywhere sans shoes and survive. I have to assume part of it is just not knowing how to walk barefoot because his mother convinced him that being barefoot would cause him serious danger, like some self-fulfilling prophecy.

DH is convinced that barefeet can lead to no good, and I think all my best memories include my toes being in the fresh air. It is really hard not to put that fear on to your kids and let them experiment with actions you feel are unsafe, even if they aren't really.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#40 of 42 Old 04-04-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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Nereid, My husband is like that too. His big thing, and indeed his whole family are livid when they see it, is barefeet, especially barefeet outside.

I never wear shoes if I don't absolutely HAVE to, so I think they are crazy...but then every single time dh opts to go free like his carefree wife and son something bad happens to him, he stepped on a poisonous caterpiller one time, he stubbed his toe black and blue another, he stepped on a shard of seashell last time and sliced his heel wide open, and needed three stitches! I can't understand why it keeps happening to him and ds and I walk everywhere sans shoes and survive. I have to assume part of it is just not knowing how to walk barefoot because his mother convinced him that being barefoot would cause him serious danger, like some self-fulfilling prophecy.

DH is convinced that barefeet can lead to no good, and I think all my best memories include my toes being in the fresh air. It is really hard not to put that fear on to your kids and let them experiment with actions you feel are unsafe, even if they aren't really.
This made me you know - my Dh doesn't go barefoot much, but I think it's because his parents built the house and were worried about nails being in the lawn, so they made the kids wear shoes. Although - considering that they live amongst pine trees, shoes might be a good plan at their house anyway He pretty much wears socks around the house (no shoes indoors) but is rarely truly barefoot. But I finally talked him into some flip flops a few years ago and he does wear those...

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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#41 of 42 Old 04-05-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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Has anyone else read Playful Parenting and practiced some of the ideas there in conjunction with UP? I'm about half-way through the book, but it reinforces something I've already learned with my 3 yo - if I can get him to laugh then I can head off a power struggle and its win-win for both of us (and a heck of a lot more fun for me than getting frustrated).

For instance in the toy throwing issue - if he were tossing around something like wooden blocks I would not let him continue. Doing something that could result in a broken window or a broken skull is non-negotiable. But instead of getting stern or mad or just lecturing and over-explaining I might do something like talk in a funny voice, chase after him, grab the blocks and say "Oh no, the toy fairy turned your blocks into bean bags! They're flying away so they don't break anything." I then fly around the house like an airplane and swoop them onto the top shelf of the closet.

Or if he doesn't want to put on his shoes I might start marching them towards the door "Oh look, your shoes are leaving without you!" or I might try to put them on my own feet using a really exaggerated body language.

I don't want to say this works all of the time, or that it would work for other kids, and frankly being imperfect I don't always have the energy to "play" - but I've found that if I can get a giggle then we always avoid a tantrum.
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#42 of 42 Old 04-05-2010, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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instead of getting stern or mad or just lecturing and over-explaining ... I've found that if I can get a giggle then we always avoid a tantrum.
Good point. This tool always works at our house too but I often forget to use it.
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