Unconditional Parenting - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-08-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure I know how to start and that it will be very bumpy before it gets better, but I'm interested in your anecdotes and advice about starting to steer parenting into the Unconditional Parenting (Alfie Kohn) and Collaborative Problem Solving (Dr. Ross Greene) realm in early childhood.

I have fallen too far into punishments, threats and rewards and (most shamefully) withdrawal of love. I feel guilty and disempowered about my parenting over the past couple of years, and I am changing it effectively to the best of my ability.

Where I struggle most at this point is with DS, age 5. He is so spirited and sensitive, though many of his sensitivities he tries to cover or won't admit to feeling bad about things that bother him. I'm hoping to repair his trust and confidence in me as quickly as possible without slipping into permissive parenting. I am struggling to be heard by him at all during our many moments of chaos. I take some responsibility for his difficulty focusing and listening to me due to my own issues with communication.

What have you found helpful if you've chosen to indulge such a paradigm shift in your parenting strategies and philosophies?

I feel very good about a specific incident today, and I want to share that to shine a little light here, as well. DD (age 2) had a little Lego train constructed on the floor where DS wanted to play. He kicked it and disassembled it to get it out of the way as she shrieked in dismay. Instead of saying something like "that was really rude. Why would you do that?" I simply said "I noticed what just happened to DD's train and she feels upset about that. What were you trying to do?" He said "it was in my way and I wanted to play there". I repeated his words and added "I bet we could figure out a way for her train to stay there and you could still have all the space you need. What if we move thus game over just a bit so you have enough space?" He seemed agreeable and not stuck in any negativity, so I proceeded to move his stuff over just enough. Then I asked him if he would help rebuild her train before starting his project, and he happily agreed. He even mentioned a few times how happy DD was playing with the train while he played his game. I wanted to avoid any sort of "I told you so" type responses, and was glad to see he noticed on his own. I hope to have more scenarios like this from here on out. No one was shamed or victimized or punished, and everyone got their needs met. Yay!

Your turn! Share your experiences, please! Let's help each other help ourselves! smile.gif
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#2 of 5 Old 08-10-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Bump. Anyone?
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#3 of 5 Old 08-11-2013, 01:20 PM
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That is a great example of handling a situation with love and dignity for everyone. I think you are definitely on the right track!  This thread will be good for me...I think I have been falling back in to some ingrained patterns that don't feel good to me. Thanks for getting it started, and hopefully I can come back and post more soon.

: Mountain biking mama to one beautiful baby girl, born happily at home 8/26/2008.
Her signature would be: Sleep is for the Weak
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#4 of 5 Old 08-11-2013, 02:45 PM
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Wow that was handled well! You use a technique talked about in How To Talk To Your Kids as well - describing what you see rather than saying something about them. Instead of, "why did you do that?" which causes defenselessness, you described what you saw. That really does often work and I need to remember to do it more!
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#5 of 5 Old 09-22-2013, 03:26 PM
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followed the link from another UP thread. subscribing to this one, too.

and yay Mama Amie on the train situation! i bet that success felt great! i really love hearing UP (and similar) style success stories, as much as i love pondering others' struggles/challenges. they are both helping me get my brain ready for what lies ahead, as well as give me concrete scenarios to discuss with my wife so we can both feel confident with how the other one plans to treat our child. wink1.gif so nice knowing we're on the same page!

in fact, it's interesting how much i am noticing things about how the two of us interact already, asking myself, hmmm, would i want the little one copying this behavior, or this tone of voice? we're even trying to speak differently to the dog!
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will be TTC in late 2014 w/ frozen donor sperm via at-home ICI. queer, 32. DW is 41.  married 10 yrs. 
             and soon          
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Unconditional Parenting Moving From Rewards And Punishments To Love And Reason , Gentle Discipline

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