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

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#1 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with the principle of Unconditional Parenting, but I had a few problems with the book.

1) The whole praise issue. I've read the anti-praise research and I've read the pro-praise research. I think like anything else, each child is an individual and has individual needs. I believe giving praise and positive feedback is very natural to loving parents. Telling my 2-year-old that "kitty seems to be happy that you're petting him so gently" helps her realize that she has control of her actions (a big Alfie Kohn point) and that her actions affect others. From an adult perspective, before I became a mama I was in management at a large company. My staff responded to and appreciated praise -- and if adults need it, why wouldn't children?

2) I believe children NEED to learn to do things on other people's timetables sometimes. Kohn seems to think you should let your child set the pace and "wait it out" when they don't want to do what you need them to do. That may be fine for toddlers, but when a child goes to school they will need to follow the teacher's directions and cooperate with the rest of the class. I also believe children should understand that each person in the family is equally important and that we all take turns "getting what we want".


3) I felt kind of ripped-off after I bought the book. I usually only buy paperbacks but since everyone was raving about this book and it just came out, I splurged for the hardcover. It didn't seem like enough information to warrant a book -- it read more like a magazine article that had been padded out.

Overall I do believe in giving your children unconditional love, but along with the love comes guidance and encouragement, which I felt like Kohn was dismissing.
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#2 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 09:17 AM
 
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Have your read the Faber and Mazlish books? I love them. In one of them they talk about how SPECIFIC praise is meaningful to kids and other people (like, the kitty is happy when you are gentle) but VAGUE, generalized praise makes kids and people uncomfortable (like, you are such a good girl, good job, etc.)

(I think it was a F and M book but sometimes all those parenting books are a blur in my head... :LOL )

I know what you mean about feeling ripped off...I haven't read Alfie yet but I was disappointed with the No Cry Sleep Solution after so many moms recommended it (although it was much gentler than many books and I totally respect anyone if it worked for you...it just wasn't right for me and dd.)

Maybe you could ebay it or trade it in at your used book store. Maybe a mom here will want to buy it!

Take the time to heal from your marriage before you move on with someone else. Make a list of all the qualities you would like in a new partner and then work on growing that way yourself. ~mandib50
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#3 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 09:53 AM
 
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I always find it so interesting how people can read the same book but take away such different things from it.

I understood Alfie Kohn to be saying that specific praise ( "kitty seems to be happy that you're petting him so gently") that doesn't make a judgment about a child's character ("you're such a good boy") is very good. I understood him to be saying that generic praise like saying "good job" (without elaboration) too frequently is what's problematic. Yes, he also talks about praise making a child focus on external motivation rather than developing intrinsic motivation-but he did (I think) make it clear that kids need feedback in order to learn, so "kitty seems to be so happy that you're petting him gently" is a very in line with what he was saying. And I also took him to mean that not all praise is bad, just that we can find better and more specific/helpful ways of phrasing ourselves-and that if an enthusiastic and genuine "good job!" does come out of our mouths it's okay.

I also took him to be saying not that you should always do things on a child's timetable, but that it's better to pick your "battles"-that whenever possible it's better to try to find a way to take things at your child's pace and with less coercion, but that sometimes it's just not possible and that's also a valuable thing for kids to learn.

Honestly, I thought he was saying a lot of the same things a lot of other books have said. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before. For me, something about this book was just more accessible, and I really enjoyed it.

I think it's great that you're sharing what you didn't like about this book.I always feel awful when I only hear how great people think a book is, buy it, then really dislike it. At least when I hear both what some people liked and what some people didn't like, I have more information to base my decision on.
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#4 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sledg
I understood Alfie Kohn to be saying that specific praise ( "kitty seems to be happy that you're petting him so gently") that doesn't make a judgment about a child's character ("you're such a good boy") is very good.
Hmm. As I said in the other thread, I haven't read the book, but I have read the article 5 Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job (http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm) and it's one of the reasons I'm thinking I might not read the book. In it he gives examples like this:

Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I’m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping.

which seem to me to fall into the good praise category, but are clearly not considered "good" by the article.
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#5 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 01:14 PM
 
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I think an important point that was made is that it's less important the words you're saying to a kid and more important the message they take home. I know that even my best intentioned praise sometimes distracts my dd from what she's doing and she looses interest.

My dd is SUPER sentsitive to being controlled or manipulated, so I can judge better sometimes if what I'm saying is manipulative sounding by her reaction than by my intention.

-That's one reason I thought the book was good.



The other thing is- if you are someone who really, really, really beleives that your kids need to learn to do what you say when you say it- this is not the book for you.

Simple as that.

Some people beleive they need to control their kids- some beleive that obedience is a valuable asset and being able to do things without argueing or questioning is important. If that's a core part of your value system- this books not for you.

I found that when it came down to real-life situation examples, I am even more laid back than the author. So this book struck home with me and helped me realize where I was going with discipline and hone what I'm trying to acheive.

To each thier own.


For the Record, I didn't like No Cry Sleep Solution either. But luckily I read enough at the store not to buy it.
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#6 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 07:14 PM
 
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I haven't read this one yet, but definitely plan to asap. I recently read his "Punished by Rewards" and I wonder if you have read this one...you said you have read anti-praise research, so maybe you have. But if you haven't this is FULL of many many studies proving that praise is as detrimental as punishment and definitely does not read like a padded magazine article. I felt like Punished by Rewards was the most helpful parenting book I had read yet and it set me up for a MAJOR paradigm shift.

I can't wait to get Unconditional Parenting! LMK if you want to sell your copy!
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#7 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry -- edited to take out my response to another post. I apologize for being so easily defensive -- I guess my sleep deprivation is catching up with me.
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#8 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 09:53 PM
 
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I don't think mommyofshmoo was trying to slam you...

Anyway, I could also relate to those who said NCSS wasn't that helpful! :LOL
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#9 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 09:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveandkindness

Okay, enough with the judgmental crap. I don't need to "control" my child and I don't expect her to be "obedient". I like to have a family life that runs smoothly and happily, and for the most part it does. No tantrums, no whining, no crying. Lots of laughing and playing and hugs. My 2-year-old knows that sometimes she can set the pace and make decisions, and she also knows that sometimes we "must" do some things. That is something she has grown up knowing and so it is never an issue. When I tell her we "must change dipey" or "must get in the car to go see Nana" she recognizes the word "must" and is happy to help make it happen.

Anyway, I'm not here to debate whether or not I'm a good parent, I just wanted to let others know that they may want to skim the book in the store before buying, instead of ordering online like I did.

I wasn't actually trying to be judgemental. Though I can see how it may have sounded that way.

There are some people on MDC who do value obedience for it's own sake and plenty for whom it's important to have a higher level of control that A.K. advocates. And that's OK. I was just stating that this book is not going to jive with everyone.

Sorry if you felt singled out- I didn't mean it that way.
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#10 of 117 Old 04-30-2005, 11:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ETW
Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I’m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping.

which seem to me to fall into the good praise category, but are clearly not considered "good" by the article.
I think the problem that AK has with "good sharing" is that it is a value judgement, and "I'm so proud of you for helping" implies that you're not proud at other times. I think a more AK-approved statement would be "Look how happy Johnny is that you shared with him!" This is an observation, with no judgements, that teaches the kid to value how his actions directly affect other people, the other person being Johnny, and not the parent.
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#11 of 117 Old 05-01-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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I would bet that there are TONS of parents out there who wouldn't be thrilled with Unconditional Parenting. And I can completely understand how many people won't accept its conclusions. It presents a very radical departure from where parenting norms currently stand. And what it asks of us can be very, very challenging.

I'm a parent who IS thrilled with the book, and maybe one of my posts about the book contributed to your purchase. While I'm not responsible for your decision or your disappointment, I would be very willing to buy it from you. (I am thinking of donating a copy to our local library.) PM me and I can PayPal you for it.

One caution...
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveandkindness
I believe giving praise and positive feedback is very natural to loving parents.
...The line of logic "natural acts of loving parents = loving act" is quite a problematic one. I'm a loving parent. I'm a loving partner. I promise you. And yet, as a loving parent, and as a loving partner, it sometimes feels very, very natural for me to want to yell harsh words when I'm feeling impatient with these people. The loving act, IMO, is to REFRAIN from subjecting people I love to these "natural" acts. Something that feels very natural for me can feel quite "unloving" to the recipient. I guarantee it. And I'm no sadist.

I feel like I agree with a lot of what is written in Unconditional Parenting. And I can assure you that I frequently both feel and express UTTER DELIGHT with the people I love, including my daughter. It's simply not contingent upon what she does or doesn't do. It's unconditional. And, guess what?! Since I've read this book, "unconditional" is beginning to feel a whole lot more "natural."
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#12 of 117 Old 05-01-2005, 03:26 PM
 
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Disclaimer -- I haven't read this book yet, but I have read Punished by Rewards and several F and M books.

I general stick with positive feedback but sometimes I'm so overwelmed with something amazing my kids have done I can't HELP but praise! I totally agree with all the positive feedback stuff (esp about being specific), but it would be impossible to not occassionally let my kids know that what they kids knocked my socks off. None the less, the constant stream of praise of hear some some "positive parents" just seems absurd to me. I think there can be a happy balance. Praise shouldn't be about trying to control a child, but rather letting them know that we think that they are amazing people.

The thing about doing things on other people's schedule is also a balance issue for me. I have 2 kids and they are closely spaced. Neither of them can run the show and any attempt to allow them a great deal of power just causes them to fight. I tried non-coercise parenting for a while and it just made my kids unhappy. On one hand, I work hard to let them each have as much control over their own lives as possible, at the same time, they both have to do things they don't want to at times they would choose to do something else. I think this is part of getting older (my kids are 6 and 8) and learning how to function in a group.
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#13 of 117 Old 05-02-2005, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ETW
Hmm. As I said in the other thread, I haven't read the book, but I have read the article 5 Reasons to Stop Saying Good Job (http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm) and it's one of the reasons I'm thinking I might not read the book. In it he gives examples like this:

Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I’m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping.

which seem to me to fall into the good praise category, but are clearly not considered "good" by the article.

I've read that article you're referring to, as well as half of the book. The book goes more into detail than the article when addressing praise . . . of course, and describes more clearly and explicitly why it's better to describe than to judge when you praise, the OP's line "kitty seems to be happy when you're petting him so gently" describes what the child is doing. Much better than saying to the child, "Good job petting kitty" according to Kohn.

And I think his point is that we start saying "good job" and can't turn it off! I'm guilty of this, and am trying to not use it for meaningless things. When I'm just thrilled with something he's done, I praise wholeheartedly and with genuine excitement. For other things, I try to describe rather than throw out a generic "good job!"

And to the OP, I agree with sledg: my understanding of the book was that you praise children as you did in your example, and that you try to respect your kids' sense of time, but it can't always be like that. I thought the book expressed the same views that you expressed in your two points. I agree with you on those points. (As does, in my understanding, Kohn.)

So interesting to hear why some do not like the book. Thanks for starting this thread.

jen

Jen, mom of R (9), T (7), C (5), and E (2) ... my stillheart.gifs

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#14 of 117 Old 05-03-2005, 07:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lizamann
I think the problem that AK has with "good sharing" is that it is a value judgement, and "I'm so proud of you for helping" implies that you're not proud at other times. I think a more AK-approved statement would be "Look how happy Johnny is that you shared with him!" This is an observation, with no judgements, that teaches the kid to value how his actions directly affect other people, the other person being Johnny, and not the parent.
ITA.

I also find that, and AK says this in the book, if dc have come to expect praise, you should not withdraw it from one day to the next, but rather use a different kind of praise. Like, my dd has recently learnt to shower and put pajamas on by herself in the evening. (She is 4) I used to say "Good job" now I say "You showered and put pajamas on. That makes my life so much easier, you know, because I have to do so many things and I am on my own tonight".

I would also add that the main idea from the book is that praise should be sincere and not manipulative. Like if you really like something your dc has done, absolutely tell her! But there is a difference between that and trying to use praise to influence the future behaviour of your dc. I mean, honestly, I would like for my dd to continue to shower and put pajamas on because it does make my life a ton easier. So, instead of using praise to that effect, I just honestly tell her. This also, BTW, gives her liberty, when DH is there and I have more time to ask me to help her shower, if that should please her....(but it seems it does not).

Anyway, for me, the book manifesto of anti-behaviouralism justifies a book. The idea that the end goal of parenting is not just better behaviour is in my view a pretty revolutionary one. People would not buy that idea after 4 pages. It does need and deserve a book. Of course, many people may not buy that idea after the whole 200 pages, and that's fine, not every one has the same parenting style, however, the book is worth reading in its entirety to understand this idea which is a complex one, and then rejecting it if it does not suit you.

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#15 of 117 Old 05-03-2005, 07:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda KS
I have 2 kids and they are closely spaced. Neither of them can run the show and any attempt to allow them a great deal of power just causes them to fight. I tried non-coercise parenting for a while and it just made my kids unhappy. On one hand, I work hard to let them each have as much control over their own lives as possible, at the same time, they both have to do things they don't want to at times they would choose to do something else. I think this is part of getting older (my kids are 6 and 8) and learning how to function in a group.
I also have two closely spaced kids, younger than yours. I agree it is a real challenge to get them to do things that they do not want to do. How does that function in your house? BTW Alfie Kohn has a lot on that too...
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#16 of 117 Old 05-03-2005, 10:43 AM
 
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I also have two closely spaced kids, younger than yours. I agree it is a real challenge to get them to do things that they do not want to do. How does that function in your house? BTW Alfie Kohn has a lot on that too...
Some things that help:

1. keep the number of things that they have to do as short as possible. things like brushing teeth and wearing seat belts matter, but 90% of the stuff I see other parents getting into power struggles with their kids really don't matter. The trend in parenting is to pressure very young children to do all sorts of things, and I think that is what Kohn is talking about it.

2. don't ask questions. Although it might seem harmless to ask kids if where they want to go to eat, or if they would rather go swimming or go ride bikes, little questions like this cause my kids to fight. Things go much smoother here if the grown ups have a plan and we just tell the children what it is. It is obvious what they like and don't like, and this isn't about forcing them into something, it is just about keeping the 2 of them from having a power struggle, or worse, mommy or daddy having to decide who gets their way.

Here is an article that I found very helpful when my kids where younger:
http://www.continuum-concept.org/rea...InControl.html
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#17 of 117 Old 05-03-2005, 05:05 PM
 
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I am just starting to read Kohn's book and have been following this thread today. I just read a passage that fits really well with the discussion going on in this thread (p. 37):

Quote:
I should emphasize again that there are no absolutes in human behavior. Whether positive reinforcement has a detrimental effect (and, if so, how detrimental) may vary depending on several factors. It matters how it's done: the way praise is phrased, the tone of voice that's used, whether it's given in private or in front of others. It matters to whom it's done: The child's age and temperament count, as do other variables. And it matters why it's done: what kinds of things children are praised for doing and what your purpose is for praising--or, rather, what the child believes your purpose is. There's a difference between congratulating kids for acting in a way that merely makes your life easier (for example, eating neatly) and congratulating them for doing something that's genuinely impressive. There's a difference between expressing pleasure in response to mindless obedience (for example, when a child follows one of your rules) and expressing pleasure in response to a really thoughtful question.
Of course nothing in life, or parenting, has easy or pat answers...
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#18 of 117 Old 05-03-2005, 10:23 PM
 
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Hmm. I took this book out of the library based on a recommendation of a friend of a friend but I am really resisting reading it. I feel that as the AP parent of a high-needs child I am already bending over backwards to set up his world in a way that suits him -- picking battles, making sure he has lots of stimulation every day (he is a classic extrovert) and basically denying my own needs in order to meet his. After 3-1/2 years of this, I am exhausted!

I'd like to make my life as a parent a little bit easier, and would also like to raise a pleasant child who recognizes the needs of others. Ds is very kind-hearted, so we must have done something right.

I already worry that I am not "AP-enough" and feel like this book will just make me feel worse. Any thoughts?
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#19 of 117 Old 05-04-2005, 12:48 AM
 
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I haven't read the book yet, but I heard Alfie Kohn on the Diane Rheim (sp?) Show on NPR a few days ago talking about it. I was excited to hear the topic, because like mamamillie, I was blown away by Punished by Rewards. I wasn't a praise freak before that or anything, but it caused me to change some behaviors, and shifted my thinking in a number of ways, especially as a homeschooling parent.

Nevertheless, I was a little turned off by the way Kohn came off on the show. He seemed rather dismissive of some real problems parents and teachers have. As much as I liked Punished by Rewards, it *did* leave me feeling a little "damned if I do, damned if I don't" in the parenting department. In that book, he seemed to suggest that satisfying parental needs for control at certain times (which he aknowledges is sometimes necessary) nearly always come at the expense of children -- that we should just be aware of that when we decide that we *must* exert control. I guess I just don't agree that it has to be so adversarial -- that I have to sublimate my needs and wants whenever possible for my child. Of course I must do this often, but everyone in the family deserves to be accomodated in their desires at least some of the time, and that includes me.

BUT, Kohn said in P by R that it was *not* a parenting book, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt that there may be ways to pull off this kind of parenting in a way that is good for everyone. I won't say that Unconditional Parenting fails to offer a path that I would be comfortable with because I haven't read it. Perhaps it does. But my sense from the radio show was that he remains long on theory and short on specific strategies for the trenches. In my experience, that equals guilt and confusion for me. I still don't know what to do when..., but now I feel worse about the way I *do* manage to handle it. On the radio, when faced with a direct question of "what would you do..." he tended to lauch into reasons to avoid punishment. If he gave specific suggestions, they tended to be kinda lame, IMO. Hopefully, he gives many more substantive specifics in the book. I still want to read it, or at least look it over, but I have lower expectations for it than I did.

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#20 of 117 Old 05-04-2005, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Meli65

I already worry that I am not "AP-enough" and feel like this book will just make me feel worse. Any thoughts?

He acknowledges that parenting is hard. He's on your side. It's worth the read.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#21 of 117 Old 05-04-2005, 03:04 AM
 
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You're definitely AP enough! My feeling from the book was that he's saying EVERYONE in the family deserves respect and to have their needs met. I came away from it realizing that I didn't HAVE to control everything my dd does and that we should all get our needs met some of the time. I took his emphasis on letting go of control as a signal that he was/is really trying to show a radical alternative to current mainstream parenting practices. And coming from a family who exercises a ton of control, it was nice to see someone reaffirming my instincts (ie, it's okay to acknowledge dd's opinions and preferences)

I was also disappointed my his NPR interview. Both with him and Diane. I felt like she missed a major point of the book, ie every child and situation is unique and using blanket "if x do y" approaches fails to respect the individuality of all involved. I felt like he didn't do a very good job of getting his message across. This book doesn't tell you what to do if you kids won't sleep or throw food on the floor. There aren't any formulas or charts involved. Instead it asks you to work with your child to find a solution that is mutally acceptable most of the time. Even if you reject this approach, it can be useful to use some of the time or as another parenting tool.

Great discussion!
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#22 of 117 Old 05-08-2005, 10:24 PM
 
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I'm reading the book right now and by-and-large I'm enjoying it. I, too, was a little hesitant to buy it after hearing him talk to Diane (he was totally dismissive of a teacher who called in to ask about a particularly difficult child in her class--even Diane, who's usually pretty mild-mannered, sounded irritated and pointed out that he was avoiding the question). But even so, I bought the book anyway.

Coming from a very controlling, authoritarian family, I needed to hear what he has to say. I don't want to repeat the kind of childhood I had, but I didn't have any other models to follow. This book is giving me a good start toward being the kind of parent I wish I'd had. I find myself wanting specific situational advice, but I appreciate his resistance to provide it since different children and circumstances require different responses. So I'll have to become better at finding my own style. But I figure it's a growing and learning process for us all--I know I'll make mistakes, but I hope that we as a family grow closer and more trusting along the way as we work together through each issue.

Just wondering . . . did it seem to anyone else like Kohn makes "Mommy" the scapegoat in his book? Everytime he's got a negative example, it's always something "mom" did or said. That, coupled with the fact that the "right" way of doing things is coming from a man/dad (Kohn himself), was particularly irritating.
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#23 of 117 Old 05-12-2005, 12:48 PM
 
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I am only a little way into the book and have not noticed yet that he blames mom! I will look out for it.

I am enjoying this book so far. I am looking forward to discussing it.
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#24 of 117 Old 05-12-2005, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momandmore2
Just wondering . . . did it seem to anyone else like Kohn makes "Mommy" the scapegoat in his book? Everytime he's got a negative example, it's always something "mom" did or said. That, coupled with the fact that the "right" way of doing things is coming from a man/dad (Kohn himself), was particularly irritating.
Hmmm...

I didn't notice that, and I read it through twice.

I think maybe it came off that way because a lot of toddler examples involve mothers mainly because mothers often spend more time with young kids. Also the experiments showing the negative effects of control all involved moms, not dads- but he was quoting research there and it's not his fault if the researchers used moms rather than dads.

I thought he said lots of things about good moms.
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#25 of 117 Old 05-12-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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I didn't notice the mom thing, but maybe that's because we've only got moms in our house, so if a parent screws up...yup, it's mom!

Not that we have ever screwed up....

I totally loved the book. Finished it last night. Gave me so much to lean on and think through.
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#26 of 117 Old 05-12-2005, 06:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Meli65
Hmm. I took this book out of the library based on a recommendation of a friend of a friend but I am really resisting reading it. I feel that as the AP parent of a high-needs child I am already bending over backwards to set up his world in a way that suits him -- picking battles, making sure he has lots of stimulation every day (he is a classic extrovert) and basically denying my own needs in order to meet his. After 3-1/2 years of this, I am exhausted!

I'd like to make my life as a parent a little bit easier, and would also like to raise a pleasant child who recognizes the needs of others. Ds is very kind-hearted, so we must have done something right.

I already worry that I am not "AP-enough" and feel like this book will just make me feel worse. Any thoughts?
I think I'm never going to read another parenting book again. Like you said, doing you own thing and caring about your child's needs works pretty well without having to worry about what else you should be doing. I never read parenting books when DS was an infant, why do I need them for a toddler? I should have more confidence in myself.

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#27 of 117 Old 05-12-2005, 11:56 PM
 
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I didn't notice the mom thing, but maybe that's because we've only got moms in our house, so if a parent screws up...yup, it's mom!
:LOL :LOL
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#28 of 117 Old 09-23-2005, 11:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
But my sense from the radio show was that he remains long on theory and short on specific strategies for the trenches. In my experience, that equals guilt and confusion for me. I still don't know what to do when..., but now I feel worse about the way I *do* manage to handle it.
I'm only about a third of the way thru this book so far but this hits the nail on the head for how I'm feeling about it. I have a IRL friend who has read the majority of it and says it has refreshed her whole approach to parenting. So I'm sticking with it. But I have to say, I feel like I'm trying so dang hard at this whole parenting thing and want desperately to do the right thing for my kids and so far, this book has been a hard pill to swallow. I am sure I will have to re-read it at least twice to fully digest the points he is trying to put forth.

But you know, I *REALLY* need the specifics. I need to know what *IS* okay to do when my kids make me so mad I could spit nails. I mean, I fully acknowledge that walking away from them in the heat of the moment is more about me keeping my cool than about doling out punishment. So to hear that this is not okay, that this tells them I love them conditionally? It's HARD. It's very HARD. I mean, here I am feeling like I'm doing an okay job of controlling my own feelings and not unleashing them upon my children, and then I read that my method for doing this is detrimental to their emotional health. So what do I do instead? You know?

I know, I need to finish the book and re-read it and let it sink in. But I'm having a hard time with it.
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#29 of 117 Old 09-24-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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I have read most of Punished by Rewards and to tell you the truth at first I hated it. Just so much full of theory that didnt jive in any way with my experience. But it has been sitting in the bathroom and I have thumbed through it more and towards the back where he quotes the research he does make several qualifying statements like how sometimes genuine praise IS a good idea and parents shouldnt' avoid it altogether. I even think he said that sometimes a well thought out consequence like time out is necessary. But these things shouldnt be the primary tools in a parents reportoire.
So I think I will read it cover to cover now and not just throw it down when I get ticked. . . Because he really doesnt mean it to be as black and white as it sounds in the beginning.
I have also read just about all the articles on his website. I think the man has excellent ideas on education. I find that I disagree a great deal on his ideas on parenting and I am not really motivated to read Unconditional Parenting.
For example. I do not believe timeout to be a "withdrawal of love". Or that it makes kids feel that it is unfair and makes them angry. I never felt this way and my children never responded this way themselves.
I think this may be true for some. I dont deny it. But he states things that he has observed asa being true for some as if they are true for all and that just drives me nuts when it is stated as fact.
And as to the PP who stated that if you think obedience is important for its own sake this type of idea is unlikely to appeal to you.
I agree but i wanted to point out that there is a middle ground.
IT isnt "my children must always obey right away" or "we dont have the concept of obedience or disobedience in our home". In my home I do expect a reasonable amount of obedience within a reasonable time frame. Things are always open for negotiation, and there is always a reason why. So obedience is important but never for its own sake but for the sake of expediency and family harmony etc. . ..
Anyway, Alfie Kohn is worth reading because he has a lot of interesting ideas but he kinda should be taken with a grain of salt.
Joline
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#30 of 117 Old 09-24-2005, 02:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jenmk
For other things, I try to describe rather than throw out a generic "good job!"
I'm interested in this part, as I tend to use "good job" in one particular way, more often than not. I tend to use it when dd is showing me that she can do something she's proud to have accomplished (figuring out how something works, example). She'll tell me what she did and then show me, and I usually reply with "good job". I don't really know what else I'd say. Repeating back what she just told me seems....patronizing or something.

This is interesting, as I haven't read much of what you're all talking about. I've come across other references to overpraising, but I've never read much about it.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
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