Unconditional Parenting - Chapter 1 (Conditional Parenting) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 38 Old 03-22-2009, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Please share any parts of this chapter that you have strong feelings about - whether in agreement or disagreement with what was said. Share any quotes that really stood out to you. How has what you read effected you?
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#2 of 38 Old 03-22-2009, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I can see why some people may feel offended by the book, though I didnt find it offensive personally. To feel the author is saying their parenting is "conditional" but the important message in the first chapter is that its not about whether or not you love your child unconditionally, its about whether or not THEY know you love them unconditionally. and of course, actions speak louder then words! Or should I say, some words speak louder then others! Much like my mom would tell me time and time again that I could tell her anything and she will still love me, I probably believed her because she said that a lot - believed that she loved me that is - but I didnt believe I could tell her anything.

I will discuss more as others post
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#3 of 38 Old 03-23-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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I knew I was going to like this book, and that it was going to help me, when I read the first example the author used from his daughter Abigail. He poses the question of how to respond after she didn't do what she said she would. Carry on with the evening plan as normal or impose a "consequence"? Considering the "consequence" action he says (pg 12), "What's more, I have to admit that it would have been satisfying on some level for me to lay down the law because I was seriously annoyed by Abigail's defiance."

I can so relate to that feeling! It rises up in me and I'm almost unable to back off, especially if I'm already not in a good mood for whatever reason. I would consider myself to be a GD parent, but when I related to that feeling so much I realized that this book was going to challenge and help me a lot!

The important ideas in this chapter for me are:

*As Super Glue Mommy said,
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...the important message in the first chapter is that its not about whether or not you love your child unconditionally, its about whether or not THEY know you love them unconditionally.
*It's what kids are learning(hearing) that's important, not what you think you are teaching(telling) them.

*(pg 15) "Children are not pets to be trained, nor are they computers, programmed to respond predictably to an input. They act this way rather than that way for many different reasons, some of which may be hard to tease apart. But we can't just ignore those reasons and respond only to the effects (that is, the behaviors).

Question: This is my first online book group discussion. Anything newbies like me need to know?
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#4 of 38 Old 03-23-2009, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
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this is my first online discussion as well, I'm so glad you are joining! I agree with Kohn that we need to respond to the cause, not the effect. (ie: the emotions behing the behavior, not the behavior themselves)

I also think when we do this, and when we meet a child's needs, we prevent "problem" behavior. when you only approach the behavior you *may* rid of that behavior (and may not), but if you approach the need you can rid of that behavior, and any other behaviors that may later be caused by that unmet need.
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#5 of 38 Old 03-23-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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I read this chapter a long time ago and have never gotten beyond that. I'll have to go reread it so I can take part in the discussion. It's hard with two little one's and a wahm job. AGGGGRRRRRHHHH! If only I had more hours in the day!

Dalila, mom to two boys, 7 and 5

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#6 of 38 Old 03-23-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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Hi! Thanks for starting this thread. I love this book.
My DD is only 14 months, so we aren't yet really at a place where we are facing any kind of "discipline" issues, but I feel fortunate to be moving forward with a mindset that Mr. Kohn's book has helped me to achieve.
I think this first chapter has been so helpful in the way I think when relating to ALL people, child or not. It is a profound notion that the message we intend to deliver is not nearly so important as the message that's perceived. I find myself, much more often, now, really trying to see things from my daughter's or husband's perspective.
I really look forward to hearing what others think. I've yet to meet anyone IRL who has even heard of this book.
Leigh Ann

Leigh Ann, Wife to David:, Mama to Rowan. Exhausted and loving it (most days). 

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#7 of 38 Old 03-23-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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Well, I'm a bit of a slacker. I haven't acquired the book yet. But I'm subbing, nonetheless, in hopes of learning something from the thread.

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#8 of 38 Old 03-25-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Question: This is my first online book group discussion. Anything newbies like me need to know?
Enjoy!

As a special ed teacher, I hear so much weight being put on behavior. Kohn's reference to this on the bottom of p13, "we're acting as though nothing matters but what's on the surface" struck home.

p.15 "UC parenting assumes that behaviors are just the outward expression of feeling and thoughts, needs and intentions." : Let's go!

Chapter 2 gets good. He blows time out out of the water.

wife to DH mama to DD14 Jan '08 and DS 6 Sept '10
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#9 of 38 Old 03-25-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I'd like to join if you guys don't mind... I'll have to grab my copy and dust it off. It's been a couple of years since I've read it, but My DS is 3 1/2 now and I've got number two on the way, so it's time to refresh myself. I'll contribute after I've got Chapter One read.

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#10 of 38 Old 03-26-2009, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I started to get REALLY into it by chapter 3!! I will be re-reading the chapters as we discuss them
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#11 of 38 Old 03-26-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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i missed that there would be a new thread so i'm joining in here late...
i think kohn really hits on the underlying motives for "traditional" discipline and how we all feel its pull occasionally in order to satisfy our need for control and, what seems to me to be, a kind of a vengeance for having annoyed/angered us.
i also like that he points out (as foodmachine quotes) that UC looks at what may be triggering a behavior rather than the simplistic outlook behaviorism takes. it saddens me that behaviorism is what is taught in school to our future teachers (and all who attend college & psch 101 in order to work with children).
ch 1 also makes me think of the quote "do as i say not as i do". for example it just doesn't make sense to teach not to hit by spanking a child when he hits his sibling. or that you love him but you don't take into consideration his feelings. i'm trying to make sure that i set an example for what i want dc to do- from saying thank you and speaking in a respectful tone to others to picking up, showing concern for others etc. at 2 it really helps as dc is in the imitate and be industrious stage, while dc doesn't always pick up his toys sometimes he does without my even asking and it just makes for better cooperation and easier going for everyone.
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#12 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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My book finally arrived from interlibrary loan today : As soon as I make it through Chapter 1 I'll be back

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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#13 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I totally agree mommabear! the lessons that seem to get through to my children in the strongest way are the ones I am modeling - not the ones I am trying to teach. I recently realize that I rarely say please! I always say thank you and your welcome. My children are the same... I ask nicely I just dont say please and they do the same. So Ive been working on saying please more. They probably say please more then I do, but I find that the other manners were learned effortlessly because they are just copying me.
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#14 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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oh yeah! i found you! i am so happy you are all doing this too...this is just what i'm needing right now...

ok...going to read chapter ONE again now...i'll be back! :
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#15 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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i'm loving how humble alfie is when he talks about how he still doesn't have it down and fumbles sometimes...makes me feel a little better about my imperfections...

loving his examples of his dd, abigail's behavior and he and his wife responding with love and acceptance despite her behavior...wow!

i also like how he says UP isn't about ignoring the behaviors or letting kids act however they want. wait is that what he said...let me grab my book... oops my baby had my book...ok got it. ok...yes, that is what alfie said (p. 13)...and also i love how he said "its very important (once the storm has passed) to teach, to reflect together...which is exactly what we did with our dd after we read her a story". (which of course, i am sure, included loads of snuggling and lovin' & sweet relating. that is truly what dd needed, afterall, isn't it? love that dd learned most likely from the unconditional acceptance & love she received then despite how she acted.

i'm curious now how and when he and his wife go about talking about the behavior/needs of their dc...onto reading more...

i am sooo glad you started this up superglue! i forgot exactly what this book had inside of it...this is what my heart truly believes...as naomi aldort once told me, "you are the tiger of my heart", i feel about alfie kohn. he is a trail blazer and i love him for this info & validation for how my heart truly beats.
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#16 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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I was grateful to hear what Kohn had to say about how so many parenting actions assume that kids "will take advantage of us". I hear other people talking (to me too) about how "you have to be careful you don't just give in to everything your kid wants" and am real appreciative to see someone talking about taking the time to recognize that behavior is driven by underlying needs.


What he talks about seeing human interactions as a kind of "economic transaction" is really intriguing as well. I think about it more deeply with other family/dh/friends etc than parenting personally. It's pretty easy (right now at least) to know that dd is not exactly in a position to reciprocate stuff. . . I mean she's 2, but I think about how I treat and think about other people and having expectations about interactions.
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#17 of 38 Old 03-27-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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yeah that! my ex-fiance (my ds' "father") said this about my dd as i was parenting her the UP way & insistant that he do too...that's 1 huge reason why he's my EX now & why i moved back to the state i'm in leaving him behind in his own, many states away...

i used to feel guilty (false guilt, that is) up 'til this very moment!!! i now do NOT feel guilty or wrong for demanding supervised visits or ignoring his and his sister's b.s. a lot of my protection of my kids has to do w/ my passion to have UPing in their childhood (and beyond!). yay! i feel so much lighter now!!! the phoenix is now truly rising from the ashes!!! thanks for mentioning this mumkimum!

i know the courts, other parents, etc. would not agree w/ me but i don't care. i will do whatever i have to to keep him and his insane family away. they are truly nuts. my ds is merely a possession to them...ah but that is a whole 'nother story in itself.

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I was grateful to hear what Kohn had to say about how so many parenting actions assume that kids "will take advantage of us". I hear other people talking (to me too) about how "you have to be careful you don't just give in to everything your kid wants" and am real appreciative to see someone talking about taking the time to recognize that behavior is driven by underlying needs.


.
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#18 of 38 Old 03-28-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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subbing! I just requested this from the library to re-read.
I read it a year ago and loved it, but now I need heeeeelp as my dd is almost 2 and it's time to put it into practice.
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#19 of 38 Old 03-28-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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I'm so happy to have found this thread! Delaware mom, my ds is also 14 months old and I also haven't yet had to use the "d" part of gd, but I'm so happy to have discovered this forum so that I can share and learn. Anyways, I've been reading this book for the last week or so and it's starting to sink in. I'll going to go back and reread chapter 1 now.

Kelly, wife to my wonderful DH , and mom to DS1 born 1/20/2008 and DS2 born 7/14/2010 by VBAC.
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#20 of 38 Old 03-29-2009, 04:25 AM
 
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I've got a January 08'er too! So we too, haven't gotten to the "D" and I am actually uncomfortable with the word. I am loving this book and this thread.
Time to move to Chapter 2? I think there are more Moms waiting to chime in when we get to the juicier bits. :

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#21 of 38 Old 03-29-2009, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I plan to post for chapter 2 tonight or tomorrow at the latest... I feel things REALLY start to pick up around chapter 3 (for me)
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#22 of 38 Old 03-30-2009, 02:54 PM
 
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I was grateful to hear what Kohn had to sayabout how so many parenting actions assume that kids "will take advantage of us". I hear other people talking (to me too) about how "you have to be careful you don't just give in to everything your kid wants" and am real appreciative to see someone talking about taking the time to recognize that behavior is driven by underlying needs.


.
oh i hear/heard this so frequently! even in most preschools/daycares and even schools (even waldorf/waldorfy ones...). and my ex did this...it drove me batty and i felt so enraged w/ him and his family...grrr! : again, WHY he is my EX. thankfully i didn't marry his sorry buttocks. he used to say that if i give my dd 'things' so much she'd grow up expectig this or some hogwash. she had a lot of toys/dress up stuff from when i had a childcare biz in my home...she has never been 'spoiled'...she has known she's loved and i think that is awesome. the ex and his family always tried (and still do) shaming me... ie. dd was 'naughty' (not ME) for running around OUR house naked...and for even THINKING of touching her vagina...WHAT ever!!! and they mocked me/made fun of me loving her, being sweet and kind to her...i'd say 'she is just 3...' then when she was 4 i'd say 'she's just 4...' and that was the running joke for them...whatever. oh once my dd hid my ex's sister's lug nuts in the grass near our patio when the ex was working on his sis' car and she was SO UTTERLY ANNOYED w/ my dd...it was obvious. she did NOT have anywhere to be anytime soon.............she was just annoyed to be annoyed w/ her behavior. "naughty"...i said to my dd in earshot of my ex and his sis, "you don't want S to leave, do you?" and she said yes, that is why she hid the lug nuts...after all, S couldn't leave until we found all 4 of them...which we did at last... children surely do NOT know how to express their emotions all the time thru words...nor do adults for that matter. so they get punished by angry adults and withheld love...

i have a question, though...this is related to rewards/punishments...i have a reward board that i just put away. my dd saw it this morning and wanted me to put it back up. i did but i made sure to tell her that i have changed the way i treat her and that she is ALWAYS loved by me NO MATTER WHAT. no matter WHAT she DOES or DOESN"T do. i will talk more about how i would like her to :be: towards me/others but i think the most important is HOW she feels about me and my love being unconditional...she will then MODEL it, like kohn says...and will probably be less and less 'rude' or 'spiteful' or 'resistant' to helping out, taking responsibility for her toys/clothes, etc. yeah. totally agree with that one.

and she is totally a mirror for how *I* react and "behave" and how loved she feels...and like i said, whether she feels it is conditional or unconditional. loving re-reading this book. again, thanks supergluemommy for starting this up! : i'm already noticing a HUGE difference in my relationship w/ my daughter and her self esteem as well. woo! this morning she said in her mae west slang she does sometimes (which is SO DARN CUTE!!!) and i can't recall what it was (DARN!) but it reflected that she was feeling confident and good about herself. (i sure wish i could remember what it was about and what she said...doh! mamabrain strikes again! )

sooo...what to do about this 'reward board' i thought was a good idea about a month ago? the goals on there were to mind me and my mother, to put away her toys, speak instead of 'shriek' (aka yell), be nice, no hitting (or biting, scratching, kicking...), etc. you get the jist of it............so what my mom was thinking is it can be viewed as just a GOAL...is it still ok to reward her for our appreciation or is that still a reward??? or maybe, i was thinking she could reward herself (w/in a certain budget) when she reaches each goal? thing is, the board goes by days M, T, W...hmmm. your input/ideas would be appreciated. i really want to treat her in a UPing way... : is it ok to reward OURSELVES when we reach goals? hmmm. or maybe we can just have the 'reward' or OUTCOME, rather, of simply feeling good about ourselves that we reached a goal.................instead of focusing on acquiring THINGS...or the "get to spend time alone with mommy" crap you see as a reward for good behavior in so many parenting books. yuck. no thank you! poor kids..................
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#23 of 38 Old 03-31-2009, 11:04 AM
 
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It's SO tough to identify, let alone stop, all those things we do because of how we were raised or because society has conditioned us to do them. I have a 6 y.o. son who has suffered from that. I'm moving to GD now and it is very hard to change all those ingrained behaviors of my own, let alone all the destructive patterns he and I have engaged in.

For me, the whole idea of focusing on the child and his/her needs rather than on the behavior is pretty radical but now makes perfect sense: "It's the child who engages in a behavior, not just the behavior itself, that matters" (15).

So, I am now trying to look into what is beneath the behavior and work on ways to deal with my ds at that level. I do feel I need more practical help than Kohn gives in this book, which is more philosophical. But the philosophy drives the practice, so it's good for me to have read this book!

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#24 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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I do feel I need more practical help than Kohn gives in this book, which is more philosophical. But the philosophy drives the practice, so it's good for me to have read this book!
I think this is why I originally stopped reading this book because I needed some practical advise quick! But I still struggle with UC. I get tired and frustrated and it all goes out the window. It's hard for me to find the right thing to do in a situation so I revert back to things I don't want to do. I'm hoping that by actually finishing the book and getting to discuss it : it will really help bring the philosophy home so that I can implement it with greater success.

The first chapter is challenging for me because I agree with what he says completely but at the same time there is a part of me that is so entrenched in conditional thinking from years of being educated as a teacher it's hard to let go of it. (Although I see all the flaws of it not being effective at the same time.) YKWIM?? Anyway it's time for me to stop typing and start reading!

Jess ~mom to DS1 8/05, DS2 6/07, DD 7/09 and one surprise 5/11!
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#25 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 01:18 PM
 
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jwoodbri- would you mind elaborating on the "conditional thinking from years of being educated as a teacher"? my DH is having some issues with kohn because he is currently finishing up his education to be a certified teacher. i know behaviorism has been stressed in his phych classes. is this the same as what you have been taught? and how have you been able to let go and do you feel you still have to be conditionally minded in the classroom? thanks!
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#26 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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mommabear207- I have a BS in early childhood ed and an MS in elementary ed and I think pretty much all along the way what we are taught and observe is conditional "parenting/teaching." For little ones (and sometimes older ones too)... time outs and reward systems (stickers, certificates, extra privileges and grades.) I think it is very hard to come away from all that. I know and understand what Kohn is saying and really do agree with it but there is always something nagging in the back of my head along the lines of if I let him get away with that it will only get worse. If I'm tired especially I have trouble fighting off that voice. So I am still struggling to do what I know is right, UP/GD. But that's why I am here!

I am a SAHM now so I don't have to worry about the teaching aspect at the moment but yes I'm sure I would struggle there too. I had someone recommend Parent Effectiveness Training for some more concrete examples in GD and he also has a book called Teacher Effectiveness Training which I would definitely read before returning to work. (The titles almost turned me off from the book but I really liked it.) Perhaps your husband would be interested in checking out the book?

I'm not sure that exactly answers your questions so feel free to ask others.

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#27 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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I'm a teacher too! - (spec ed- so much focus on behavior!) I soooo understand what jwoodbri is saying. Getting away from "Good job!" is my biggie in the house. Now I describe what DD is doing instead and ask a question about it. For ex: You are eating with a spoon. Is that fun?

I'm not in the classroom right now but plan to bring everything I'm learning back with me and revolutionize the schools! :
I am sooo scared to send DD to school. Luckily I have a few years to figure it out.

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#28 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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doublyblessed: what if instead of a rewards board you did a personal growth board, and let your child decide what her goals are, and the "prize" will be reaching those goals?
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#29 of 38 Old 04-01-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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Haha! I'm a teacher too, also taking a couple years off to raise my babe. I did not go through the traditional route, though, so I missed all those education courses

Lucky wife to DH and mom to DS (10/02) and sweet DD (7/08) and DSD (3/93) and assorted animalia
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#30 of 38 Old 04-02-2009, 07:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Materfamilias View Post
Haha! I'm a teacher too, also taking a couple years off to raise my babe. I did not go through the traditional route, though, so I missed all those education courses
Lucky you!
My DH also has a bunch of credit of credits in education (in Sweden) and when I told him about how all that Skinner stuff really hit home he was like, "but Skinner is the bad example not the rule". Good to know not all teachers all indoctrined!

wife to DH mama to DD14 Jan '08 and DS 6 Sept '10
and 2 rescued greyhounds
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