"Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 06:04 PM
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I generally shy away from parenting advice books (I really haven't read any) but this book is so overwhelmingly recommended here that I'm tempted. However, I have read the author's article "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job'" and it didn't ring true to me at all. I really disagree with most of the major points. Does this mean that this book is not for me or is there a lot to get out of the book even if one dismisses the anti-praise stuff?
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#62 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ETW
Does this mean that this book is not for me or is there a lot to get out of the book even if one dismisses the anti-praise stuff?
When I first heard about Kohn many months ago, I wasn't convinced about the anti-praise stuff, either. Reading the book, though, I realize that my hesitation was because I had a different interpretation of praise. I've never used "Good job!" because it's a meaningless phrase to my son (he has autism). Instead, I've always described what I see -- "You poured the juice!" -- or asked questions -- "How did you make your turtle puppet?" Kohn suggests these techniques as a replacement for abstract, judgmental phrases that don't let a child form his/her own opinions and grow. He also offers other alternatives. I think it's important to realize he isn't against a child developing self-esteem -- he just believes that self-esteem shouldn't be dependent on the judgment of an outside force, which is how much praise functions.

Hope that helps a little.
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#63 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 07:51 PM
 
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I'd definately say to read before passing judgement on the anti-praise stuff. The main push is to avoid praise that's meant to manipulate.
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#64 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 07:54 PM
 
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YEAH!!! I was yelling at my slow computer to hurry so I could get all this excitement out!! He was on NPR this morning and what he said just made so much sense. We had a "difficult" experince last night and Mark just was so wrong on so many levels. So this afternoon I called and told him about the book and he is going out to get it. We both need to get away from how we were raised and how we want Kailey to "behave" well.

We want a free thinking child, yet want her to blindly follow instructions- UGH! Anyway he was wonderful on so many points!!
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#65 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 08:08 PM
 
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Hooray- My dh actually agreed to read it!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe not till June- when he'll be on the water for work and willing to read anything, but that's OK too.

I just feel so alone with these ideas sometimes. (Well, not alone- I have you guys, but alone in my extended family.)
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#66 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 08:24 PM
 
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mommyogshmoo, I am so right there with you. DH wants to break the cycle but just can't seem to pick up a parenting book. His mom says real parents don't need books they should know how to treat their kids (yeah this from the woman who tried to hit my DH in the head with a baseball bat and chased him with a butcher knife)!
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#67 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 08:35 PM
 
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I can't beleive how many people are against parenting books. It's weird.

Like, everybody reads books about having babies- they even take classes, and frankly I think that gestating and having the baby is the easy part.

Heck, people even read books about making babies! And if you need a guide to doing that.....

(Not trying to offend people who had a hard time getting pregnant. Just stating that raising kids is hard work and there's no shame in reading up on it.)

I think that Mr. Kohn hits the nail on the head when he says that people don't want to have to think about how they were raised because it would be too painful. I think most parents just want to go along and not think about it too much, because to revisit how it felt to be a kid would be just too painful.

I've known for ages that I don't get along with my 'rents. But it was not till I read this book that I truly understood why, or how much I lost, or how much of myself I lost. It made me very sad. But y'know, my kid is worth a little self-reflection and self-critique.
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#68 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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my copy of this book arrived in the mail last night. i got a chance to start it today. i LOVE it so far (chapter one). i want dh to read it, too, but i've already gotten him to agree to raising your spirited child , so i guess i'll bring this with us on longer drives to see family and friends and read it aloud to him (talk about a captive audience, nowhere to run )

i can't wait to be able to discuss this and put it to use.
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#69 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
I can't beleive how many people are against parenting books. It's weird.
I'm taking it a little off topic here, but I am not a fan of parenting books (for me) -- as I said earlier I haven't read one yet. The reason is that my instincts so far have been good and the only time I find myself getting into trouble is when I have been reading too much parenting stuff (on these and other boards for example) and find myself second-guessing and overthinking my parenting instead of just enjoying my son. Maybe as he gets older I will find that I need more "help" but so far it's been very intuitive -- maybe that means I owe my parents a big "thank you!"
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#70 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 09:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sagira
I read a book how men have to retreat to regulate their emotions and feel better.


Could you tell me more about this book?
Thanks

Gaialice:

I didn't see your post until today.. was busy. I do not remember exactly, but I do remember reading a lot of fantastic stuff about men and boys in "Real Boys" by William Pollack. It's great if you have sons or work or live with boys (and as a matter of fact, men -- hmmm.. don't we all?).

I love parenting books. I can see where ETW comes from and sometimes I take a breather and try to go it alone for awhile, but when I find myself going on auto-pilot it's not pretty. I have to restrain myself from saying out loud what I'm thinking (punitive ideas, criticism, impatience, you name it). You could say that is most of us our "legacy".

I do agree that UP was a bit uncomfortable to read at first because it left me naked and exposed when it came to how I was raised (by my mom in particular) and it still hurts -- a lot. I haven't finished the book and I think partly because of that.

I agree that my son deserves me reexamining myself and my childhood and I'm going to go back to reading it today or tomorrow. I just needed a break -- the book made me really reflect inwards and made me realize I, too, depend a lot on external forces. In a way I'm "reparenting" myself often because of this and other groundbreaking books.

As a plus, I realize I always knew (and know) my father loved me unconditionally.. and I listened to him. He never lost his temper, was always calm and talked to me. Yes, he overindulged me I believe, but boy, he really did love me unconditionally.. that made me grin from ear to ear and made me realize what I lacked from my mom.

Ooph! Long post! Sorry!

In short, read Unconditional Parenting! It's a great book!
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#71 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ETW
I'm taking it a little off topic here, but I am not a fan of parenting books (for me) -- as I said earlier I haven't read one yet. The reason is that my instincts so far have been good and the only time I find myself getting into trouble is when I have been reading too much parenting stuff (on these and other boards for example) and find myself second-guessing and overthinking my parenting instead of just enjoying my son. Maybe as he gets older I will find that I need more "help" but so far it's been very intuitive -- maybe that means I owe my parents a big "thank you!"
I get what you mean here. When DS was a babe, I felt the same way. Beyond The Baby Book which offered lovely developmentally appropriate behavior and lots of good advice for allowing baby to be baby so to speak, I didn't feel I needed "parenting advice" per se.

That said, when DS got a little older, I started to feel out of my element with regard to "discipline." I knew somewhat what I didn't want, and had a philosophy of sorts, but had a difficult time interpreting that into every day life. I was happy to read a couple of good parenting books at that time that helped. OTOH, had 'Unconditional Parenting' been available then, I would have ate it up and certainly grown from what it has to say. I've said before that my ONLY regret about this book is that it wasn't published three years ago.

If you do indeed decide to read it, I can pretty much assure you that you won't be disappointed.

Em

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#72 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 10:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ETW
I'm taking it a little off topic here, but I am not a fan of parenting books (for me) -- as I said earlier I haven't read one yet. The reason is that my instincts so far have been good and the only time I find myself getting into trouble is when I have been reading too much parenting stuff (on these and other boards for example) and find myself second-guessing and overthinking my parenting instead of just enjoying my son. Maybe as he gets older I will find that I need more "help" but so far it's been very intuitive -- maybe that means I owe my parents a big "thank you!"
I hardly read any parenting books till dd was around one either. I got the Baby Book when she was around 3 months, mainly for the developmental milestones and emergency health advice.

Now I've just read a few ones that have come hightly recommended.

I'm not saying book learning is the totaly and absolute way to parent. But I do think every once in a while someone writes something really worth reading, and this book certainly falls into that category.
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#73 of 151 Old 04-29-2005, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
One of my big problems is that I feel like people expect me to regulate dd's moods as part of discipline. Like, in addition to not damaging things and not throwing tantrums, she's supposed to be outgoing, accommodating and loving all the time.

I find it exhausting. I simply cannot make my kid want to kiss daddy or talk on the phone with grandma. How did displays of affection and a happy mood become "behavior" or "discipline" issues?
Ugh, I hear you on this one (and so many others ). As an adult, I'm allowed to have a bad day. Heck, all I have to do is say the letters, "PMS" and no one bats an eye, "totally understandable." Indeed, as an adult, I can get past my feelings when I need to, but that's because I'm adult. I can be nice to the VERY SLOW and distracted store clerk, but I have the emotional resources to do so. Our kids often times do not, but this doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to have a bad day. Their reality is a tough one, really. Learning new things all the time, and not always the easy way. Being a little kid in a big person world. Being told NO umpteen times a days. Thwarted at this turn and that. Being expected to know how to act at all times, and the horror of being prompted by the library lady to say PLEASE and THANK YOU even after it was SHE who ignored his first (and very polite) request because SHE was distracted by something else. Ugh. Sheesh, if I lived where my son does (and this is with parents who are both wholeheartedly on board with what Kohn has to say), I'd be cranky once and awhile too.

The only thing I can tell you here is that since reading UP, I have just relaxed a ton on this one. I'm NOT responsible for my son's moods (ok, unless like this morning *I* was the one who started out cranky and it became an infectious disease--we worked through it) and his being in a bad one does not constitute "bad behavior." He's entitled as are we all. If it seems like he's going to have a hard time with this outting or that, I might cancel it first off, but if not, I just take into account that he'll need extra help getting through it. Generally, I focus on him, connect as much as I can which helps him deal better with the situation. If it's family, I might say: "Hey guys, you remember what it's like being a kid, sheesh. It's not always easy being the smallest one on the room. We all give each other a break when someone's grumpy, DS is no less deserving."

The best,
Em

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#74 of 151 Old 04-30-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
Quote:
One of my big problems is that I feel like people expect me to regulate dd's moods as part of discipline. Like, in addition to not damaging things and not throwing tantrums, she's supposed to be outgoing, accommodating and loving all the time.

I find it exhausting. I simply cannot make my kid want to kiss daddy or talk on the phone with grandma. How did displays of affection and a happy mood become "behavior" or "discipline" issues?
I hate that people expect this!! I really frustrates me and also causes me to not even want to be around people who give you the 'look' about your child...you know the one...that condescending all knowing, 'if that were MY kid' look.

Anyway I just ordered my copy of UP!! I can't wait to get it now after reading this thread. While I didn't pay $23, I did pay $15 for it, there is someone on ebay selling brand new copies for $15 at the buy it now price...in case anyone wanted the info.
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#75 of 151 Old 04-30-2005, 03:14 PM
 
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I ordered a copy of Unconditional parenting and a copy of how to talk so kids will listen (etc) last night from Buy.com Free shipping and the book prices were cheaper than amazon.com ... AND if you are a member of ebates you get 2or 3% back I think.....

in case anyone was looking for a good deal
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#76 of 151 Old 04-30-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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Thanks for the book prices and resources, ladies
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#77 of 151 Old 05-01-2005, 04:55 AM
 
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I really enjoyed this book as well. For me, it provided a way to reflect on how I was raised and helped me to think about things differently. I have been struggling with how to raise a moral person outside of the framework I had growing up (religious authoritarian father). UP helped me to think about the kind of person I am hoping our daughter will become and evaluate how our discipline strategy meshes. Lots of good food for thought.

I was just over at amazon pricing it out (really want to send sil a copy - hope the paperback is out soon!) and was sad to see that it only has 3 stars and three reviews. I'm going to write up a review tomorrow. Hopefully many of you on this thread will do so too! It would be great if all of these insights were posted over there for would-be shoppers to reflect on.
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#78 of 151 Old 05-01-2005, 08:51 AM
 
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I just started reading this book, but it already has had a big impact on me. I feel so sad for the way DH and I were raised. I know all the praise and love withholding had a huge effect on my DH. He won't do something around other people if he might do badly or "fail". He doesn't want to play cards with me and my friends because he might get embarassed, though none of us would ever want to make him feel that way. It doesn't seem like a great way to live your life. I still feel like I can do nothing to make my father proud of me. If only our parents had been able to read this book.

How the heck do I stop my in-laws from saying "good job!" every 5 seconds to my DS? He's not quite 20 months old, yet I know he understands it. I feel like I've had to do a lot of work to get him to eat meals of solid food (he's still nursing, and until recently was getting most of his nutrition from my milk)...and I can just see my MIL sabotaging it all by saying "good job!" after every single bite he takes. Ugh! I want him to eat because he's hungry, not because he thinks it makes him good in his gramma's eyes. I know she doesn't mean it that way, but I really need a sensitive way to tell her without her getting offended.
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#79 of 151 Old 05-01-2005, 09:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
This may be a post for the UP section yet to be formed, but....


One of my big problems is that I feel like people expect me to regulate dd's moods as part of discipline. Like, in addition to not damaging things and not throwing tantrums, she's supposed to be outgoing, accommodating and loving all the time.

I find it exhausting. I simply cannot make my kid want to kiss daddy or talk on the phone with grandma. How did displays of affection and a happy mood become "behavior" or "discipline" issues?

My dd hates feeling pressured to do things and is kinda introverted sometimes. When pushed to be affectionate against her will she often gets angry/acts out/whatever. Then it becomes an "issue" that I'm supposed to "deal" with.

Any ideas/thoughts. Telling people to back the (%*$! off doens't feel like a good option. (That's pretty much what dd does anyway )
I think a good way to handle situations like this, like if she doesn't want to talk to grandma on the phone, is just say "I guess she doesn't feel like talking today." Pass if off to grandma or your husband as not being a big deal. Don't apologize for her not wanting to kiss or hug or talk (goodness, there's nothing to apologize for!). Just matter-of-factly shrug it off. If anyone gets upset, just explain that you're sure she'll eventually be ecstatic to hug, kiss, or talk (or whatever affectionate behavior is desired), just not today (again, like it's no big deal, not apologizing). Let them know that you respect your daughter's comfort level or interest or right to determine who enters her personal space, and that when she's ready to do these things on her own then she'll do them happily and wholeheartedly . . . and wouldn't we rather have a willing kiss, hug, or chat on the phone than an unwilling one? And from now on I wouldn't try to force her to be affectionate just to avoid hurting someone else's feelings, the end results aren't worth it. The adults will get over it quicker and easier than the child.

If she sees this kind of behavior--the shows of affection--she'll do them on her own when she's ready. If she's not seeing the affection modeled, then she's unlikely to do it. I have no idea how outwardly affectionate your family is . . . but if daddy wants kisses from his little girl, then he needs to be modeling that behavior by kissing her mommy and her as often as he can. And she needs to see mommy kiss daddy often too. If your family is already doing this, then your daughter will jump onboard too when she's ready.

Be well,
jen

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#80 of 151 Old 05-13-2005, 05:23 AM
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I have this book on my wishlist. But I've been wondering if I will get much out of it. If I'm already comfortable with dd's strong emotions (like I'm perfectly okay snuggling with dd and being nice to her after she has been screaming for an hour), if I don't use rewards and punishments and meaningless praise, can I still get something out of it?

Dar? Are you here? Have you read this? Is it helpful?

Edited to add:
Don't mean to sound perfect; I am most definitely not! The areas I have struggled with are aggressiveness towards me, saying "be careful" too much, and probably not letting her be independent enough -- though I am really trying hard with that one (like not just reaching out and fastening a button for her when she's been trying for 3 minutes already, not believing that she could learn to tie her shoes now, etc.).
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#81 of 151 Old 05-13-2005, 12:46 PM
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I'm currently number two on the waiting list at the library... they didn't actually have the book yet, though, last time I checked -it was "in the process of being acquired".

I did listen to the NPR program on real audio, though (and I didn't see him as blowing off the woman with the problem in the classroom so much as ackowledging that there wasn't a 20 second solution sometimes, which is true).

I want to read it mostly because it seems that it will validate what I do already, and perhaps give me some research to back it up, and I'm sure I'll learn something new. I will let you know what I think, though...

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#82 of 151 Old 05-14-2005, 03:02 AM
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and I'm sure I'll learn something new
I was thinking so too, but the subtitle throws me for a loop. Anyway, I can't get it till I move from here in August, so you've got plenty of time to write your book review!
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#83 of 151 Old 05-15-2005, 10:48 PM
 
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This book and Playful Parenting are the books that have most supported me in my parenting. The rewards thing in neither here nor there to me. If my kid asked me to institute some sort of rewards system, I'd cooperate with her on it, but it's hard to imagine how it would be more useful or fun than the way we interact now.

I'm not able to say why this book touched me as much as it did. But it has encouraged me to show my warmth more in my interactions with the kids. My older dd (4.5) has been very hurt by an awful neighborhood situation, and in the past few days I've really been able to communicate just how much I care about her and how she feels. This in spite of the fact that her hurt, sadness and anger are expressed once a day by slapping me in my face (if she can reach it) and pinching my left arm so hard it bruised. I've been able to stay in it with her, while taking care of myself. It's been a gift watching her "get it" that my love is constant.

Laurence Cohen talks about when your kid is a "leaky cup" when all the love and attention leaks out. I feel like somehow reading Unconditional Parenting helped me interact in a way that she could plug the holes in her cup.

I'm still really sitting with it, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for thoughts to improve their relationship with their kids rather than getting them to "exhibit" any particular "behavior."
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#84 of 151 Old 05-15-2005, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to read it mostly because it seems that it will validate what I do already...
Dar, from all the posts I've read of yours, I can say very sincerely that yes, this book will do that for you. From the moment I entered MDC, I've always appreciated what you've had to say and frankly, I've even stalked you from time to time... "what would Dar have to say about that?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend
This book and Playful Parenting are the books that have most supported me in my parenting.
Indeed, these two books make up my "parenting reference library." Oh, and with regard to the above, whatever Dar might have to say.

The best,
Em

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#85 of 151 Old 05-18-2005, 02:18 PM
 
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I have started a yahoo mailing list for those wanting to work with the principles from the UP. (and haven't found the UP message boards helpful)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnconditionalParenting/

Samantha
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#86 of 151 Old 05-18-2005, 03:49 PM
 
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I have started a yahoo mailing list for those wanting to work with the principles from the UP. (and haven't found the UP message boards helpful)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnconditionalParenting/

Samantha

Just what I need, to be on one more mailing group.
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#87 of 151 Old 05-20-2005, 03:00 AM
 
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Hey I just bought the book the other day on the recommendation of this thread! And it is so awesome I can't even express it properly.

I am on chapter three now, and after reading JUST the intro and chapt 1 I feel like it changed my whole relationship with my ds . Crazy. It's the parenting book I've been waiting for...so I'm into the discussion!

I really like the point that you deal with the issue in the moment and then move on, not keep on bringing it up/punishing for the rest of the day or whatever. We already do this, but my evil upbringing puts the doubts in the back of my head, "you are just going to forget about it? he should be punished!" and so it's really great to hear someone validate what we are doing in that respect.

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#88 of 151 Old 05-20-2005, 03:42 AM
 
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Has the discussion moved to the Yahoo group? I also am not wanting to join another group, but I want to stay with the discussion!

Ive got the book from the library, and it is big stuff. Working through it now.
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#89 of 151 Old 05-20-2005, 04:02 AM
 
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not sure, i just applied to join so i'll let you know (sorry nak)

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#90 of 151 Old 05-20-2005, 06:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelamama
Has the discussion moved to the Yahoo group? I also am not wanting to join another group, but I want to stay with the discussion!

Ive got the book from the library, and it is big stuff. Working through it now.
It doesn't have to. You can join the list or not. Kohn created a message board for the book too.

UP boards are here: http://unconditionalparentingboard.com/eve/

I created the email list because I really don't like message boards much and the UP board above got overrun with the TCSers. The UP board has been modified recently so It might be more supportive now.

There are 24 members on the UP list I created and some discussion so far. I think it will be valuable to have a list for focusing UP and other things that help too.

Samantha
Unconditional Parenting list owner on yahoo.
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