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Who else thinks unconditional parenting is a load of twaddle?

(180 Posts)
Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 09:39:41

OK, now I have your attention grin... Firstly I don't...necessarily...but have heard it talked about lots and have looked into it a little and have some 'questions'

How do you make it work in a real life family setting where things just have to get done? How do you make sure your kids make appropriate choices (seems to me you just hope for the best)? How do you avoid your kids growing up as selfish, self centered, spoilt? How do kids brought up this way deal with the rigid control systems of, for example, the school setting. Can the make the transition/separation between home and the outside world?

Hoping for a positive and useful discussion here not a tit for tat criticism of different parenting approaches.

Personally, having thought about how I parent it seems to the a mix of 'unconditional' (which I think would be better described as uncontrolling or some such) and so called 'sugar coated control' (which I think would be better described as directive??)

Anyway over to you...if anyones interested wink

SpacePuppy Wed 06-Aug-08 09:44:13


and how do you teach them boundaries?

FeelingLucky Wed 06-Aug-08 09:45:27

Watching this thread with interest.

Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 09:51:21

Yes, boundaries, thats what I'm struggling with too

Gateau Wed 06-Aug-08 10:18:28

Personally, I'm not going to read any books; they just add to the confusion. I'll try using my own instincts. These kind of books weren't around when I was young - and I think my parents did a good job.

Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 13:05:01

Gateau, not to sound condescending but I said that when my first son was born too smile. However, our society is waaayyy different to when our parents were bringing us up. Social structures and sources of support, example and guidance and very very different and lots of new parents now are completely adrift. Also I've found as ds1 gets older there are new challenges, behaviours I've never come across or have no idea how to handle and on this basis I'm willing to take the support, info and guidance where I can get it and adapt that to suit my own situation and family. Hence my enquiry about 'unconditional parenting'.

HaventSleptForAYear Wed 06-Aug-08 13:14:10

Am interested in this too.

We have had quite a lot of success with "How to talk so kids will listen" and "gentle" parenting up until now.

DS1 seems to be having a testosterone surge atm coming up to 4 and we are now struggling a bit.

Am finding it hard to find the patience this approach entails - and sometimes wish he would just do something when I say "get your shoes on" for example.

"you need to wear shoes so that you don't hurt your feet and you need to get them on now because otherwise the pool will close" takes so long the pool almost has closed !

Gateau Wed 06-Aug-08 13:15:16

What you do is up to you entirely. I never questioned your judgment. And I would prefer you don't question mine.
Life was also different when I was born to what it was 20 years before that. But there still weren't any books for new mums - they just went by their own instincts - so why all the books now??!
I just think there is TOO much info out there - on pregnancy, birth, parenting - the lot.
And many people just end up confused - and often, living their life by a book. A bit pathetic, I think. (the infamous Gina Ford is ust one example).
But as I said, each to their own.

Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 13:35:18

Calm down Gateau, I didn't question your judgement nor did I suggest you were questioning mine! Your post didn't add anything to the discussion in practical terms anyway. As you can see others are interested in this topic so this is clearly not the thread for you. If you want a mn row perhaps you could try one of the AIBU threads. Although I am left wondering why you are on mn at all if you're so sure of your 'instincts' hmm

Haventsleptforayear you seem to be exactly where I am. DS1 is 4 at the end of September and in addition to his testeosteone surge we now also have DS2 (9 months) so lots of challenges. I love and try to parent him gently but find its often not possible and sometimes he just has to do what I ask if we're going to get anywhere or do anything. Hoping for some insight into how others cope with this.

ruddynorah Wed 06-Aug-08 13:39:33

have you read the book pheebe?

Gateau Wed 06-Aug-08 13:39:40

Pot/kettle. You calm down! I can say what I want on any thread, whether it's constructive or otherwise. Who are you, the MN police??!
GO back to your book.

ruddynorah Wed 06-Aug-08 13:42:42

gateau. there were books around 20 years ago. i don't see what your point is. fwiw i think my parents did quite a shitty job in some respects. so what? some of us like books for different ideas of how to do things.

alardi Wed 06-Aug-08 13:45:07

I reckon Alfie Kohn's book is really underdeveloped. It's more an exploration of ideas, without knowing how to really implement them in practice. He does say in off-hand ways that you still need boundaries, but what he does poorly is distinguish how to know when to be firm and when to be flexible.

Surely we all know "Choose your battles carefully", and "Don't go over the top with praise or punishments". Much simpler to absorb those ideas than read AK's essay.

I found a lot of UP and its examples easy to shred, or his arguments based on knocking down strawmen. I'd like to know what AK's academic critics have to say to his ideas.

ruddynorah Wed 06-Aug-08 13:47:08

'Surely we all know "Choose your battles carefully", and "Don't go over the top with praise or punishments".'

i'm not sure that people do all know that. most people seem to go with the supernanny do as i say i am the boss method.

alardi Wed 06-Aug-08 13:49:45

My mother had loads of parenting books in the house when I was a child -- I remember reading them and thinking how crud she was at following the advice . That was 30+ years ago.

And they had the themes of choosing battles carefully and only using praise/punishment constructively, even back then. Re-presented in Miriam Stoppard, Chris Green, Penelope Leach books (very popular only about 8 years ago).

lulumama Wed 06-Aug-08 13:50:07

there were books.. Dr Spock being the bible 20 - 30 years ago. penelope leech too

i think there have to be boundaries. and children seem to thrive with some notion of how far they can go.. i think , like with most things, it is not one size fits all, but picking and choosing elements and not getting too hung up on labels

Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 14:13:06

Gateau, I'm really not trying to pick a fight, just have a constructive discussion! Please just back off me!

Ruddy, no I haven't read the book, just exerts and what I've heard from others. Despite what Gateau appears to think of me, I do prefer to discuss ideas with other parents rather than take one persons word as gospel.

Alardi, thats where I struggle too, how to be gentle and 'unconditional' but know when directive parenting is appropriate and useful.

Also I agree Ruddy, it can be difficult to know which battles to choose and I've started using time out on myself and saying, for example, does it really matter if he has 2 more minutes play while I get everything ready for his bath. However, I worry about the give and inch take a mile result I often get though and how to avoid that escalating into all out war! Especially as DS1s getting older and asserting his independence more. He sure doesn't know which battles to choose and will fight over the smallest things if they don't suit him in the moment...

Pheebe Wed 06-Aug-08 14:14:45

Lulu I agree wholeheartedly smile, kids definitely need boundaries if they are to feel secure and protected imo. Its how to integrate that with a UP-type approach which as Alardi points out AK fails to address.

ruddynorah Wed 06-Aug-08 14:15:57

maybe i have it easy with dd but i've found UP ideal. although i must say we didn't do his potty training method. we did that the cod way wink

cornsilk Wed 06-Aug-08 14:32:28

Pheebe - starting this thread is encouraging people to have a go at unconditional parenting.
Otherwise why start it? Oh yes - for discussion hmm. If you don't agree with it just give your reasons and stop pussy footing around.

kittywise Wed 06-Aug-08 14:35:06

Get this , it's great

cornsilk Wed 06-Aug-08 14:39:25

That looks good kittywise. I wish I had enough time to read all these books. I've read bit and bobs of a few. Gateau I think your style of trusting your instincts is sensible - many of us aren't that brave or confident - hence the market for parenting books.
Pheebe I don't know Gateau at all, but I am cross for her that you tried to throw her off the thread 'cos she didn't agree with you. This is a public forum and we can post whatever we like thankyou.

Gateau Wed 06-Aug-08 14:44:28

Message withdrawn

kittywise Wed 06-Aug-08 14:44:53

gateau there have been books around for at least 200 years with advice on parenting, weaning, discipline etc etc!!! Each generation having it's own ideas, just as now.

If people couldn't/didn't read then they most likely had mother/ female relatives helping them and passing on their ideas and beliefs.

Where did you get the idea that they were a new thing? hmm

Gateau Wed 06-Aug-08 14:46:30

I didn't mean they were a new thing.
I meant there are more of them now than ever - and people are getting more confused than ever.

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