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Uncondicitional parenting. Your thoughts (good or bad) please

(19 Posts)
yetama Mon 11-Jul-11 21:18:01

I am currently reading "uncondicitional parenting". I have not finished the book yet but I can see the point of everything the author says.

Has any of you read it? If so what did you think? Are you using it? How does it work in reality?

Thank you in advance

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 12-Jul-11 20:45:48

Yep. Read it and loads of stuff clicked in to place.

If past form is anything to go by you will get lots of posts on this thread from people who haven't read the book but think it's rubbish. hmm

If you look further back on the board there was a up support thread for a while which gave examples of how people do it in real life.

I read a thing by olive james recently that said punishment and reward aren't good in the long term (obv this is one of the main points of up, but he didn't name the book or kohn). However he also said that takes patience. If it's a toss up between a sticker chart, and loosing your rag then sticker chart everytime. But if you can do without, all the better. As with anything in parenting, it doesn't work for all parents. But it's my prefered approach. (smile]

monkoray Tue 12-Jul-11 21:10:16

I read it. I liked the principles but i felt that Alfie Kohn threw the baby out with the bath water. I felt that rather than treating the child as an equal member of the family who's feelings should be considered equally to those of the parents and other siblings, AK seemed to put the child at the centre completely. I'm not sure that that is productive when it can leads to a really tired and stressed parent.
I have tried to follow the principles but i found the book "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" much better. It took the principles and actually translate them into something i could work with and understand and use even with my toddler who is only 21 months. AKs book was not so accessible - and it really arsed me off that he suggested that if you ever try to get your child to do anything you are controlling, manipulative and coercive. (Ok he probably didn't literally say that but it felt like he did).
There are quite a few reviews of this book in the review section.
What ever you do don't try and apply his ideas to get your child into a car seat. He suggests you shouldn't wrestle with your child if they don't want to get in, you should just let them play for a while and then they'll get in on their own. Now i don't know what miracle child he has but my DS, (and i have tried this on more than one occasion) will play in the back seat for 45 minutes and still show no signs of wanting to get in. I end up coercing him with offers of a biscuit if he'll get in the chair - i guess that makes me a bad mother in AKs book.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 12-Jul-11 22:23:00

monkoray lol recar seat! Ds is hit and miss with this. He likes the drivers seat better. hmm

Iirc kohn does say that there are times you have to get a child to do something because they are not capable of making an informed decision. Safety issues like a car seat are a good example. However he advised trying to meet half way, so play in the car first, then they have to get in. Leaving enough time is a big thing in up imo. Alot of agro is caused by rushing in our house. If i have to get ds straight in if seat and he cries it's shit. He just wants to play! He has no concept of time! If he's had a few minutes of play he often is easier to get in to the seat. When he isn't i know i have tried to compromise and demonstrated compromise to him. That knowledge seems to make crying easier to bare...for me at least.

There is a common misconception that up is letting kids have their own way all the time. It isn't (or at least not how i read it)...but it is about not automaticaly assuming stuff has to be done the "adult" way.

yetama Tue 12-Jul-11 23:01:46

Thanks to both of you. I thought that no one would ever answer my post sad. I am glad you both did.

I completely agree with what he says. Sometimes we forget that because they are children they cannot have feelings or opinion and DD has vey strong opinions on everything which I find lovely but hard sometimes.

As I have said, I have not finished the book yet but I have already been using some of his stuff and at the moment it seems to work fine, we have not had so many tantrums which is good. Something that he says that made me realise that we cannot always follow it is that WE ARE NOT PERFECT and sometimes we have to compromise. I guess the important thing is that the times we compromise are lower than the times we use UP. That is why I wanted to know how it worked in real life because when I am telling some of my friends who are mums themselves about what I am readig they look at me like if I was sploiling my daughter. I guess some people will believe that if you do not punish you are spoiling them hmm

bejeezus Tue 12-Jul-11 23:06:44

AK makes some good points but it doesnt have to be 'a method'

its not AK OR Supernanny

There is middle ground

and there are some fecking loons on the support thread

yetama Tue 12-Jul-11 23:16:38

what I know is that the famous "time out" technique appied to DD only made things even worse even though I have not use it a lot. She stayed on the place I put her but it was not worth it all the stress it created in both of us. I know that it can be a bit difficult to aplly some of his points to a child that does not talk as they can't express their opinion but I have seen an improvement in DD behaviour and I ill keep using it.

Of course that you can match and mix but I think it is important that you keep perspectvie ofwhat you would like your child to become and work towards that

toptramp Wed 13-Jul-11 08:25:51

I tried reading that up book but gave up half way through due to me being so irritated by it. The author states that we would never talk to an adult the way we do our kids. Yes but an adult wouldn't sit down in the middle of Tescos flailing away after grabbing lots of sweets off the shelves, an adult wouldn't deliberately empty a bottle of glue on the table and an adult wouldn't smear poo on the walls or run into the road etc, etc, etc. Before you consider my dd to be maladjusted these behaviours are not common btw but they have happened. Also adults don't do the low level winging that drives me stark stair crazy. So children do need to be spoken to slightly differently imo. Not nastily just firmly and with boundaries.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 13-Jul-11 09:06:03

monkoray i ment to say, re biscuits...i regularly distract ds with a song/toy etc while putting him in the car seat. I just see this as making it a more pleasant experience for him. So he gets something out of it untill he is old enough to get the safety aspect. Biscuits are the same surely. I think this is a up approach! As long as it's more "here's a biscuit for you to eat in your car seat" rather than "if you are a good boy and get in your car seat you can have a biscuit" iyswim.

MavisG Wed 13-Jul-11 09:21:12

I love this book. I don't worry about 'following it' - I don't hold myself up against AK, perhaps my child is more spirited than his, or just different. And I want to be authentic with my child, to be myself, do stuff my own way. But UP and other books/blogs/forums really help me by showing me a different perspective to my own upbringing and to what I see around me.

Re carseat-type stuff, I genuinely consider, must we go by car for this journey, must it happen right now, could low blood sugar or the fact he's in the middle of an imaginative game (so in another world just now) be relevant? And then, can the game be transported to the car/can I join in with tidying it away in a fun way, can I give him a snack, postpone the journey, take the bus instead? And if it has to happen I explain that it has to happen, and that I'll be counting down from ten in a minute, and when we get to one, it'll happen, and it'll actually be fun because of whatever...

I understand why some people would think that it's nuts to 'indulge' a child in this way. It does require a bit more imagination than I'd like to employ on days when I'm tired. But I don't have a need for unquestioning obedience in all situations, and don't mind too much what other people think. My son's 2 1/2 and I am really enjoying his childhood.

bejeezus Wed 13-Jul-11 09:26:52

some thing that in my opinion, is quite dubious, that has been raised on other UP threads;

no one knows much at all about Alfie Kohn. He has refused to reveal any thing about his situation, stating that he wants to keep the focus on the contents of his book. We do know that he is the father of 2 children and we do know thta he is a (by his own admission) a failed teacher.

Another poster said that they would bet money that he has help with child care and/or domestic help; he is probably not the one that has spends hours reasoning with his toddlers when they want to empty glue/ smear poo/ tanrum in the supermarket etc

holyShmoley Wed 13-Jul-11 09:28:28

i think it is a great book- although very challenging as a parent. I did read Playful Parenting immediately afterwards and they go together really well. So i'd recommend that too.

porpoisefull Wed 13-Jul-11 09:31:13

I haven't read the book (sorry) but did read an interesting discussion about it on here and it seemed to emerge that techniques like distraction and so on work much better with some children than others - so if it works for you, great and ignore those who say it's bollocks, but if not, don't stress because you're not living up to the ideal - it might just be a style of parenting that doesn't work for your child.

yetama Wed 13-Jul-11 21:03:49

In my experiece at the moment, distraction does not work very well as my DD knows very well what she wants. However today at bed time we safe a big tantrum taking in consideration her opinion and explaining her before the tantrum started that it was her desicion to do things that way. She looked at me with this kind of face that knew I was right and went straight to bed. So I guess at the moment it is working. Also I have realised I am more relax about it and maybe that is also helping.

I will try to get a copy of playful parenting holyshmoley and she what it says. I guess that at the end we need to find what works for our children

AngelDog Sat 16-Jul-11 23:34:04

Agree with the Playful Parenting recommendation too.

I found both very helpful. I wouldn't say I slavishly follow either approach but a lot of the principles have helped me with my 18 m.o. DS. He's a pretty compliant toddler though (although not at all easily distracted!) so other methods might have worked just as well.

For me it's about listening to DS's opinion on what's happening and then deciding whether or not to take his views into account, rather than always making him do things my way for the sake of it. And trying to explain positively what I want him to do and why, rather than what I don't want.

BertieBotts Sun 17-Jul-11 11:07:58

Do look for the support thread. I have found it really helpful. If you find the suggestions "loony" of course you are under no obligation to try them grin but I don't think it's that bad.

I think it can work with any child, but perhaps not every parent. It's more of a general approach rather than a method. I tend to think it's about helping children understand things better than just that hitting is naughty and sharing is good, and trying to understand their underlying motivations for doing certain things and addressing that problem rather than the immediate issue. But TBH I don't see why it's seen as so outlandish, I'm pretty sure most people use UP kind of techniques to a degree. It's just about finding your place on the spectrum.

WowOoo Sun 17-Jul-11 11:12:18

I might have to re read the book. I could do with being more relaxed about things at the moment. Agree with AngelDog.

PirateDinosaur Sun 17-Jul-11 11:19:05

I liked it in theory, but I struggled to get it to work in practice. Ultimately as a working parent with several DC there were too many things that we just needed them to do -- they have to get dressed in the morning in non-geological time (and I can't supervise each of them individually), we have to get out of the door on time in the morning or I will be late for work, it is not acceptable to torment your siblings, they have to get up in time for school in the mornings so can't just go to bed late every evening, and so forth. If I were a SAHM to one pre-school-aged (or home-educated) child I can see that it might be easier to implement.

So as a theoretical framework I have taken away a good deal of interesting stuff, particularly about praise and motivation, but I don't "do" UP as such.

Sparklyboots Sun 17-Jul-11 23:04:16

I liked it very much, and found "How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" great for suggestions of strategies to implement the philosophy. I don't think they are written as such but the strategies of "How to talk..." are very sympathetic to the principles of UP

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