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Unconditional Parenting in a nutshell (I know this is incredibly lazy)

(438 Posts)
SuperBunny Mon 18-May-09 21:37:22

I am embarrassed to do this but I haven't been able to read the book and need some quick Dos and Don'ts til I can get hold of the book again.

I have read some of the old threads but was really hoping that some nice person could give me a couple of bullet points about unconditional parenting.

I will be very grateful.


flamingobingo Mon 18-May-09 21:38:30

Don't do punishments or rewards. Do a search for me on behaviour or parenting threads - I'm always banging on about it grin

have you read it already? Ask me questions.

SuperBunny Mon 18-May-09 21:45:01

I have read some old threads but I can never remember the important points after I sift through all the discussions and chat. I'm quite simple blush

What do I do when DS does something that I told him not to? (for example, going on a slide in someone else's garden blush)

What do I say if he refuses to put his clothes on and we HAVE to do out?

SuperBunny Mon 18-May-09 21:46:18

I have to go out but I will be back. I do appreciate your help. Thank you smile

flamingobingo Mon 18-May-09 21:52:16

Can't remember exactly the UP stuff - I also try to think a lot along the lines of the taking children seriously type philosophy.

If it were me (if I'm doing it the way I actually think is best, which doesn't happen often!), I'd work out what was the real issue.

How old is he? What's the problem with him playing on someone else's slide? Ask them if he can play on it? If it's because he likes slides, say 'we can't play on this one because it belongs to someone else, but if you want to slide, I can take you to the swings and you can play on the one there' or 'shall we go and buy one for our garden?'. Don't tell him not to do stuff, but explain why something's not ok, and move onto something else.

Clothes? Why does he need clothes? Because he'll get cold? Well, take some with you and I expect he'll put some on when he gets cold. Social etiquette? Well, unless he's quite old (which I'm guessing he isn't if he's still keen on slides!), then who cares what other people think? He's not doing anything harmful by walking around with nowt on. Perhaps ask him to at least wear pants - he might be willing to put pants on if you say you're worried about him hurting his willy if he walks around without pants on. My toddler will often put clothes on as we walk out of the door, so I don't bother asking her to before hand - too stressful!

Think creatively. Believe that there is no situation where you can't find a solution that makes everyone happy, where no one has to compromise, no one has to sacrifice and no one has to be coerced. If you can't find the solution, believe that you just didn't do it this time, but you will next time. And think about the problems afterwards and talk about them and think if there was some other way of doing it.


thisisyesterday Mon 18-May-09 21:52:53

we work with natural consequences.

ds1 was a real refuser for getting dressed. so I would say to him "ds1, we need to go out in 5 minutes. if you are not ready you will go like that"
I have taken him out in his pyjamas before. he didn't like walking down the path in the rain, barefoot.
I took clothes for him, obviously, so when we got to where we were going he decided to put them on and all was well once more!

pure disobedience tbh we just work on talking it through and explaining why certain things are unacceptable, how he would feel if someone came into his garden and used his slide, why we value others possessions and ask before we use them and that kind of stuff

the basic premise of UP is that you place no conditions onyour parenting. so there is no "you will get this if you do that"
there are no rewards or punishments.
a big thing that stood out for me in the book was AK pointing out that all parents will turn round and say "yes, of course I love my child unconditionally" but a child doesn't necessarily see that.
not when you're saying "behave in the way I want you to, otherwise this bad thing will happen to you"

SuperBunny Tue 19-May-09 03:26:02

Ok, some of this I do already.

I do try to do logical consequences rather than random threats and I try to pick my battles. I think I just need to take a deep breath and remember it and stop being shouty - things are stressful and I am lacking patience and not being the parent I want to be. I will be better tomorrow!

I have ordered the book from the library (again).

Thanks for the help.

SuperBunny Tue 19-May-09 04:04:21

How about this:

We live in a flat with 2 rooms - living room & bedroom. At times, when DS continually throws toys at his friends or takes things or shouts at me, I think we both need a break and I'll ask him if he needs to have some time to calm down in his room. It's not intended as a punishment,just, if you can't be with others then have some time alone until you can. Which is, effectively, withholding love, isn't it? So does against UP. But when DS gets worked up and distracting/ hugging/ comforting/ singing/ reasoning isn't working, what do you do then?

He's 3.5

Othersideofthechannel Tue 19-May-09 05:48:50

How about reading a book?

Sometimes when my two are going crazy, I sit down with a fave picture book and start reading it aloud in a loud voice. This works to calm them down because they both love listening to stories and cuddling up on the sofa.

flamingobingo Tue 19-May-09 07:22:14

Have some activities up your sleeve that he'll do quietly - jigsaw puzzles, playdough, books, drawing, even watching tv! Something to take his mind off the fact he's got worked up.

When our children start getting wound up like this, my friends and I often just say 'right, shoes on, we're going to the park', knowing that what they need is to burn off some energy.

You need to look at why he's behaving like that, but at the same time making sure he knows it's not acceptable to throw things/snatch etc. - teach him other more acceptable ways to deal with his anger - hitting cushions, scribbling very hard on paper.

I find posting on lists most helpful in thinking up better ways to be with my children - sometimes it just takes someone not in the situation to come up with some creative ideas to help in the future.

mollyroger Tue 19-May-09 08:40:11

SB They hadn't invesbted UP when mine were little grin
But with regard the time out thingy, ds2 (the vocano) used to get so upset/sangry with himself/others/me that we had to say ''you are really upset and I can't hear what you are saying. Let's go to your room so you can have a cry then when you are feeling calmer we can have a hug and a talk.''

When he was calmer he usually said sorry unprompted and we had a cuddle and talk about stuff.

That way I didn't feel like I was punsihing him for having big emotions but we both got the space we needed.

This probably isn't UP but it was what evolved out of these sorts of situations.

FrannyandZooey Tue 19-May-09 10:41:46

oh god bunny i don't know, this is what i am rubbish at - summing things up
search for threads with avi on, she is great on it

ahundredtimes Tue 19-May-09 10:49:43

I don't think it is withholding love is it? You're not saying 'you're a dreadful human being, I can't stand you when you're doing this - go to your room. You've made mummy very very cross and she doesn't want you anywhere near her.'

You are saying 'You've thrown the train at Horace and hurt his ear, poor Horace, nobody wants a train thrown at them, and now you're screaming at me. Enough. Go sit in your room and come back out when you've stopped screaming so we can do xyz which we're both looking forward to doing. Scoot junior, I'll see you in ten minutes.'

With confidence but not anger. I think I might parent with conditions though. Let's wait for Avi. smile

flamingobingo Tue 19-May-09 10:52:29

No but that's what a child understands it as, ahundredtimes. That's the point. Their emotions are so immature that all they see is that they're only loved when they behave nicely.

ruddynorah Tue 19-May-09 09:58:13

we do UP. i've just made dh read the book again as he was starting to lose it.

basically you pick your battles, you try to see things through their eyes and you listen to them as another equal person, you value their view of the world.

the end game is to encourage them to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because of fear of punishment or desire for reward.

ahundredtimes Tue 19-May-09 09:58:24

Oooh. Okay.
Even if you focus on the action rather than the child?

Aranea Tue 19-May-09 09:59:42

I'm interested in this.... I instinctively dislike rewards and punishments. But I do end up getting quite shouty at certain times of day. What would you ideally do with a 4.5yo who gets all dreamy and distracted and can't focus on doing things like getting dressed/brushing teeth/getting off the loo in the evening?

The problem with the natural consequences approach to this one is that the natural consequence is a late bedtime, and the result is a miserable child the next day. So she doesn't see the point of speeding up directly enough.

I end up shouting and screaming and getting really cross with her in the evenings, partly because it is enraging to be so completely ignored and talked over when asking her to do things, but mostly because I can't think of anything else that will get her moving.

Any ideas?? - sorry if this is a rude hijack blush

flamingobingo Tue 19-May-09 10:02:20

Yes, even if you focus on the action rather than the child.

Better to sit them on your knee and cuddle them and say 'look, we don't throw things. It hurts whoever it hits, and it can break the thing you throw or whatever you throw it at. Come on, let's pick it up'. Or 'wow! You're really angry, but look, we shouldn't throw things. If you're that angry, there are other ways of showing it - here, draw me a picture of how angry you are' (usually results in mad furious scribbling on lots of pieces of paper until child calms down!).

Of course, there are times when it is important for the safety of the people involved that the children and adult move away from eachother - I've said to my children 'please go to your room now, I am so angry I am concerned I may smack you and I don't want to, I'll come up and cuddle you in a minute when I've calmed down/tidied the mess you've made/cuddled your sister you've hit' but I try to make it clear it's not a punishment, but for me to have some space because I'm not behaving nicely myself!

ahundredtimes Tue 19-May-09 10:03:37

Well HTT - because I don't know much about UP - would tell you to just say 'you've still got your dress on!' rather than 'PUT YOUR BLOODY NIGHTIE ON' and 'teeth!' or 'I see the toothbrush still isn't wet!'

ahundredtimes Tue 19-May-09 10:05:08

Well I think saying 'I'm so cross I might smack you' is much worse than saying 'scoot, you hurt him that wasn't good, go upstairs, come down in 10'.

But I've said bad things too, quite often!

I think the 'wow you're cross' is the best line too.

flamingobingo Tue 19-May-09 10:09:10

Aranea - I'd ask myself 'does it really matter? What's important?'

Does it matter if she has a late bedtime? Yes, she gets tired - can she sleep in the next day to make up for it?

Clothes: What about letting her go to bed with nothing on? You could always slip some clothes on her when she's asleep, or give her extra blankets if you think she'll get cold.

Teeth: Brush her teeth while she watches something on tv? Would she respond to being timed to do something - set a buzzer and see if she can do it before it buzzes.

Loo: no idea! grin What about having a special book to read and sitting on the bed with it waiting for her - tell her you need to be downstairs in ten minutes, so she'll miss out on her story if she's not with you very quickly.

Can you start bedtime earlier?

Shouting and screaming very normal, especially at bedtime when everyone's tired. Take a deep breath and walk away when you feel really angry. An extra five minutes won't mean the end of the world. Tell her you're close to losing your temper and are going in another room and please can she finish on the loo while you're calming down. Expect her not to have finished so you don't lose your temper all over again!

Try not to take her dawdling personally - see it from her point of view. If you were tired, and sleepy, you'd probably be doing things in a bit of a daze. I know I sometimes feel too tired to get ready for bed and wish I could click my fingers and just be in bed in my pyjamas!

Ooh, just had another thought, my children have sometimes responded favourably to a soft toy puppet thing asking them to do things, or to help them to do things like hedgehog saying 'Oh DD1, can you help me clean my teeth please, and then I'll help you with yours if you like'.

Aranea Tue 19-May-09 10:10:24

hundredtimes - that's what I've been trying, but it doesn't work <wail> <sob>.

I can keep saying stuff like that till I'm blue in the face but I will be met with a barrage of made-up songs, interested comments about her toes, musings on what her baby sister is trying to say, anything but actual forward motion. Sometimes it looks briefly as though something is going to happen, as she picks up a pyjama top or whatever, but then she will more than likely just stand there holding it wittering about something else she's thought of.

Aargh. I read 'how to talk...' and tried the technique where you just repeat a single word like 'teeth', but eventually (after I'd repeated it about 15 times) DD1 asked, 'why are you doing that? it's a bit annoying.' But it didn't achieve anything else.

Any other ideas?

flamingobingo Tue 19-May-09 10:11:22

ahundredtimes - I think it's important for children to grow up knowing their parents are fallible and about anger and what it is to be human. I think I've misrepresented myself actually - I wouldn't say 'so cross I might smack you' but would say 'so cross I don't know what to do with myself'. And I would always qualify it afterwards with an apology for losing my temper so badly.

ahundredtimes Tue 19-May-09 10:12:01

Aranea - ds2 was like this, he actually didn't know what order to do things in.

I made a checklist, and he ticked off the things. It lasted for about a month, and he quite liked doing it. I didn't nag. We were both happy - then I could say 'what's next on your list?' rather than 'WILL YOU JUST BRUSH YOUR TEETH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD.'

titchy Tue 19-May-09 10:12:05

Can someone explain the no rewards bit to me? Is the idea around UP to get them to do things for their own sake? So no praise if they've done something particularly well, becuase doing it well is its own reward, or have I got this bit wrong?

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