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What is UP?!!

(17 Posts)
Lexiejack Sun 03-Jul-11 19:26:21

Seen it mentioned on couple of threads and I'm baffled!! Can someone please enlighten me?!

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 03-Jul-11 19:27:27

Unconditional Parenting

Lexiejack Sun 03-Jul-11 19:36:49

As in children shouldn't have to sit tests in case they feel bad about their result? Omg the world has gone barmy sad

nethunsreject Sun 03-Jul-11 19:38:55

No. There's a bit more to it than that.

Try reading the Alfie Kohn book before jumping to ridiculous conclusions.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 03-Jul-11 19:39:47

please don't dismiss it until you have researched, yes?

Lexiejack Sun 03-Jul-11 19:42:10

I'm on playful parenting at the moment but will amazon the Alfie kohn one I think. I'm
Intrigued. Can someone explain a bit about it though as it sounds very airy fairy. No offence intended to anyone!!

matana Tue 05-Jul-11 09:29:56

Oh lord, unconditional parenting, playful parenting etc etc? What about 'Trust Your Own Instinct First and Foremost and Adapt Your Parenting Style Accordingly'? I suppose there's no money in writing a book like that though....

worldgonecrazy Tue 05-Jul-11 09:51:06

Here's a quote from Kohn's website:

"Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?" -- and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need - and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.

One basic need all children have, Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time-outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it's not the message most parents intend to send."

I've highlighted the bit I feel is important to me. We don't "do" unconditional parenting as I dislike being put into boxes, but it does have an influence on how I interact with my child.

Octaviapink Tue 05-Jul-11 13:21:31

Not having read Kohn's book, I'd be put off by his apparent assumption that when we teach our children right from wrong we are somehow ceasing to love them while doing so. I teach my daughter not to hit her brother /because/ I love her, and I don't stop loving her while doing so, and she knows that. Sometimes I will make it explicit. However, loving someone continually is not the same as approving of all their actions.

I think Kohn's approach is probably a counterpoint to the usual parenting approach in America which is very much a 'how to control your child' style. I feel it's less relevant in a more European culture that already worries quite a lot about its children's self-esteem.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 05-Jul-11 14:58:27

Imo this is one where you definatly need to read the book. All of it. I was convinced by it but still feel put off by the blurb.

Matana i don't think we have very strong "instincts" as humans. We have lots of social and cultural stuff we have inherited, but that isn't "instinct." I for one am glad some people are prepared to do all the research and put it in a handy paper based format for me. I can inform myself and make up my own mind from there. It seems the least i can do when setting up someone elses life.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 05-Jul-11 15:02:14

lexie iirc you were rather rude about UP on your other thread. So i'm suprised to see you know nothing about it. hmm

matana Wed 06-Jul-11 16:49:31

MoonFace i suppose my hatred of these types of books stems from that i feel they robbed me of the first few weeks with my DS because i was worrying so much about whether i should be doing x, y or z or whether i was damaging my child forever just because he cried alone for 30 seconds. As soon as i started to be led by my DS, and ditched the books and stopped questioning my own knowledge and judgement, i became much happier and more confident literally overnight. I think these kinds of books have a tendency to make you feel like you're doing the wrong thing when i actually believe that a mother's knowledge of her own child grows over time and is the thing that should override everything else. I understand that others find them useful and don't mean to sound dismissive. I just happen to hate them myself for these reasons! wink

Octaviapink Wed 06-Jul-11 17:19:15

I'm inclined to disagree on the 'instinct' front, actually. There are things that are absolutely universal with small babies - for example the strong urge to pick them up when they cry, the automatic jiggling that you do if they're crying. Those are instincts - even someone who's never ever held a baby will start swaying like a natural if holding a crying baby. There are plenty of so called experts out there who tell you to override these urges - despite the fact that they're what's got the human race this far.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 06-Jul-11 17:41:00

Ah i can see what you mean matana. I think though if you read around enough you will find a book to back up pretty much every parenting attitude. You just have to find that book.

Of course wether the book is outdated or based on any scientific evidence, is another matter. The "your baby should x y z" such as gf/bw tend not to be evidence based.

I think the problem is lots of new mums buy or are given books with delightfull words like "contented" in the title by people who have very prescriptive (and sometimes questionable re evidence) methods, and having read little else the mums think the book is gospel. Though there are plenty of views the other way...they just don't sell as well.

And you have to ask weather the author and you have the same aims in mind, eg, sleeping through asap or long term development.
I guess what i'm saying is that there are tons of books on parenting out there. It seems a shame to dismiss them all when there must be at least one you could learn something usefull from, or at least back back up what you're doing. That last one can be particulary important if you're doing things differently from most people you know. Not every one wants to parent in the way they were brought up. smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 06-Jul-11 17:47:52

octavia i agree that we have some instincts, like picking up a crying baby, and i'd even say we have some subtler ones than that, i just said i don't think we have very strong ones. And i think those we do have are clouded by cultural things, like the experts you mention, family and how we were parented. Since we have all this to contend with, taking the time to read and think about different perspectives can be really usefull imo.

matana Thu 07-Jul-11 10:07:07

To be fair MoonFace, i think my own perspective probably was clouded slightly by exactly what you say - someone gave me the GF Contented Baby book and it was the first one i read. Even though i wasn't really wanting to get into a routine (i'm baby led) i naively thought that was just what mothers should be doing with their babies, or else they're destined for life with a child who calls all the shots. Clearly that's rubbish, but as a new first time mum you don't have the confidence in yourself and your abilities to question it.

Once i ditched the 'this is how you parent' books, I found the 'Week by Week' what-to-expect type books more useful (though only as a guide) and there was a really good one i read which basically said stuff like "the experts will tell you not to co-sleep, but you have to do what feels right for you and your baby - here are the facts on both sides, now make up your own mind". It was much less prescriptive and basically said you can't afford to be self righteous about parenting because what works for you won't work for someone else.

I'm actually writing my own book now about my experiences, so maybe i'll be back on here in a year or so trying to plug it (and getting my posts pulled by the board mods!) grin

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 07-Jul-11 12:56:20

Gf has a lot to answer for. Her books should come with a health warning imo. Like you i much prefer books that are rooted in child development or psychology. I find you can look around and at your own dc and see it in action and make decisions about applying theories based on what you see.

That's one of the reasons i really liked "unconditional parenting" kohn is a psychologist and cites lots of studies to back up his points. On the surface it seems counter intuitive because it goes against alot of cultural norms, but the evidence is compelling. Once i'd read it i saw what he said at work everywhere, from my own upbringing to the banking crisis!

Matana parenting will be all the rage i'm sure! grin

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