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Unconditional Parenting practitioners - come and answer my questions please

(28 Posts)
TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Sat 08-Aug-09 19:13:48

Have read Unconditional Parenting, agree with most of it, would like to use it as my parenting method if possible. But I have some questions and would like to know how UP has worked for others please.

1. DS (only child) is only 2.3. Is this just too young to use UP?

2. Any views of whether boys respond well / better than girls?

3. Are there times when reasoning / talking / waiting just don't work - and if so what do you do then? eg yesterday I wanted to go out so ds had to put his shoes on, but he wouldn't. I said I would wait unitl he was ready and he could tell me when he was ready to put them on (we were going to the playground at his request!) but he just didn't want to do it and in the end I had to grab hold of him and shove them on his feet under protest.

4. My reading of the book was that UP is stand-alone, and shouldn't be mixed with other methods. But are there times that you've gone down the time out / reward chart route?
What about very serious things - eg ds almost ran into the road (massive A road roaring with traffic) today and was right royally bollocked as I just didn't see any other way to get it through to him that this must never be repeated. Could you use UP methods then?

TIA - and also thanks for all thoughts and experiences on how UP has worked for you. I do totally get it in theory, but don't see how it will work in practice all the time.

poshsinglemum Sun 09-Aug-09 08:14:04

I have a similar thread. i don't think it will work all of the time as you found with the shoe scenario. Just take the bits that work for you. Some of it is great, some of it sounds like bollocks to me.
I'm not actively practicing yet though.

Overmydeadbody Sun 09-Aug-09 08:31:46

1. It is never too young to be an unconditional parent.

2. No idea

3. Yes. But you don't need to reason to be an UC. You should have just said, "ok we are going anyway. Your socks might get dirty/ your feet might get cold but that's your choice". You shouldn't have waited for him to put his shoes on.

4. You don't need to follow it by the book, you need to be a parent that you can be, not try to fit into a style read from a book. I have not used time out/reward charts with any success.

For serious things, you give them a right royal bollocking, as you did!grin I don't think that goes against UP. But you don't insult the child, call them silly/stupid/careless etc., just a simple "Do NOT EVER run into the road, it is VERY Dangerious" in your crossest sternest voice should do the trick.

Parent how you feel best, without worrying about whether or not it fits with UP that you've read from a book.

The best thing is to read the book, take away ideas etc from it and then give it away/throw it away/ take it back to the library.

sarah293 Sun 09-Aug-09 08:42:11

Message withdrawn

Overmydeadbody Sun 09-Aug-09 08:43:15

Agree with Riven, follow your instincts, not the book.

Overmydeadbody Sun 09-Aug-09 13:16:16

So nice when someone starts a thread looking for help, people take the time out to answer their queries, and the OP doesn't even bloody well acknowledge it, let alone say thank you hmm

pigletmania Sun 09-Aug-09 14:49:26

Mabey overmydeadbody the op are busy and did not have time to read it or not well. OP well i have never heard of it, in some cases it might work, but i cant see it working if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and the child does not want to put their shoes on or cooperate, if i have to be there i will go and the child has to learn to accept it. Yes if my dd ran in front of a car and did something dangerious than she would get a right good rollocking from moi and her dad. At the end of the day you have their best interests at heart and have to show them the boundaries as they will push them.

fruitstick Sun 09-Aug-09 14:54:59

overmydeadbody, it's less than 24 hours for goodness sake! Maybe she is out for the day, spending time with her husband, --having a life--

you are too harsh. I often post in the evening and come back the following evening.

DirtyKnees Sun 09-Aug-09 16:10:48

Ah but Overmydeadbody, if I remember rightly AK doesn't feel children should be forced to follow the social convention of saying thank you. wink

EachPeachPearMum Sun 09-Aug-09 16:31:48

I really don't understand how you manage in situations like 3...
eg getting ready for school- we cannot be late- that is unacceptable to me, yet even if we start 3 hours earlier dd will drag her heels regardless. What is one supposed to do? I cannot take her in her pjs- she has a uniform, and is too young to be embarrassed by social conventions.
Ditto, when DS is older and doesn't want to get ready... it will be dd not him who is late, so why would he care?

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Sun 09-Aug-09 21:11:59

thanks all for your replies.

poshsinglemum I will try and find your thread, I did have a quick look to see if this had been covered so will do so again.

overmydeadbody, thank you for your thoughtful response, that is helpful. re not saying thank you - I checked in late last night, no responses at that time. Had the most full on day doing massive family lunch for 8 people, sorting out ds etc etc. am single parent so do it all alone and everything takes twice as long on your own! Done an hour of work and come back to MN now to check back in with the thread!! It's one of the reasons I want to go down the UP route as I find myself being cross shouty mum a lot and think "poor ds there's no-one to balance me out and take his side sometimes."

I'm afraid I did call ds "stupid" when he ran into the road blush, and was quite shocked I'd said that, it just came out in the heat of hte moment and I definitely regretted that part of the bollocking.

pigletmania and fruitstick thanks for the support wink

LOL Dirtyknees, I do like the way AK gets round the please and thank you contradictions! grin

Riven as always very wise and a good point.

EachPeachPearMum - yes this is where I still get stuck with UP. But am over thinking and perhaps need to start doing.

Thanks again all!

thisisyesterday Sun 09-Aug-09 21:27:24

i don't think you can view UP as a method to be "used"
it's a way of parenting, a way of life. it isn't a technique you can learn iyswim??

my boys respond very well to it and our lives have been a lot happier since I read UP!

i think AK does say in the book that of course there are tiems when you have to say "this is happening and it's happening now". but hopefully your child/ren will accept this because on the whole their feelings are taken into consideration and they don't mind being told what to do now and then if for the most part they are allowed a say in it.
obv it doesn't always work out like that but it's fine sometimes to say "shoes are going on" and then just do it

it really does work for us, instead of getting cross with the children all the time we just go with the flow and it's a lot easier. it's nice now that ds1 is older too because we can talk about ways that we can solve a problem rather than fighting it out. ie, if I want to do x and he wants to do Y we talk about what we both want and what we can do to make us both happy.

Othersideofthechannel Mon 10-Aug-09 06:57:36

I agree with thisisyesterday.

I always felt like I was acting a role when I tried to be a parent who used the naughty step. We tried a sticker chart for a few months before I read the book and while it was very effective, my child was definitely not learning anything from it apart to focus on when he was going to get his reward.

Although I disagree with some bits of the book, it was helpful to find a book supported so many of my instincts.

Wheelsonbus, I don't think 2.3 is too young but you have to adapt the reasoning bit to the childs age.

Eachpeachpearmum, if your DD is young enough to not care about social conventions, she's probably young enough for you to dress her etc on the days you have to get out, isn't she?

EachPeachPearMum Mon 10-Aug-09 19:26:13

otherside... yes- I do dress her mostly, though funnily when it's not uniform she is very keen to do it herself! The thing is, she will just go utterly rigid or completely floppy and refuse to co-operate if she is wanting to do something else.
We do have very strong routines to try and combat this- so she always knows what is coming up next. It makes me a little sad though that we have to be a house with 'rules' just to make sure she will be out on time sad

Brushing teeth is the thing that is the real flashpoint- she knows I won't give way on that- ever- so she knows if she wants to wind me up that is the time to do it!

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Mon 10-Aug-09 19:59:45

EachPeach - think your dd and my ds are talking to each other. We have battle royals over teeth cleaning - perhaps it is because like you I will not ever give in, though I give ds plenty of time to have his turn and plenty of opportunity to let me have mine turn (= 0.2 of a nanosecond before it's his turn again!)...

Otherside - you put it very well, about your child just learning to focus on getting his reward, it's the principle of UP to see that this isn't the right thing to do that appeals to me - even if the reasoning is going to be a learning curve for me as well as ds.

thisisyesterday Mon 10-Aug-09 20:48:36

eachpeach (and others) maybe the teeth cleaning is just one of the "this has to be done" things in your house? it is here.
it is absolutely non-negotiable and the ds's have a choice of having it done the "nice way" or the "bad way" (ds1's terms of phrase!)
I think AK acknowledged in UP that there are some things that you can't be moved on and that is ok.
in our house that has, in the past, involved me holding ds1 down while dp brushes his teeth. it isn't ideal, nowhere near, and none of us like it. but i have hideous teeth and there is no way on god's earth that i am letting my kids end up with teeth like me! so it gets done.
and that's ok i think, as ds1 gets older he gets better at doing it and more willing to let me do them when they need to be done.

bananabrain Mon 10-Aug-09 20:54:50

I also find the general approach useful and it fits in with my instincts, but I don't follow it strictly.
One thing I find useful in situations where I want to insist on something - like wearing a coat/jumper on a cold day - I will give a different choice, e.g. choose which jumper or coat. Similarly with shoes I might say choose which shoes or choose whether you or I put them on. With teeth cleaning I might say choose before or after story etc. This might not work for all dc but it seems to help with mine. (Even though AK might differ here and let dc go out cold or shoeless, I still want to insist on certain things).

Othersideofthechannel Mon 10-Aug-09 21:19:46

Eachpearpearmum "It makes me a little sad though that we have to be a house with 'rules' just to make sure she will be out on time"

I think this is inevitable. We have a ridiculous amount of rules on school/work mornings but it's the only way.

We have an 'only one topping per slice of bread' rule because otherwise I get requests like 'one third jam, one third honey, one third chocolate spread'.

EachPeachPearMum Mon 10-Aug-09 21:54:13

<snort>@ 1 topping grin they are so precise sometimes... it makes me weep laugh!

KTNoo Mon 10-Aug-09 21:56:41

Otherside you made me laugh.

I have been posting on the other thread about UP, well actually "UP lite", but I gather from this thread that most people find it an all-or-nothing approach, like the Bible.

Well, not sure how this will be received, but today (and I like to think I have UP as my main parenting philosophy) I shamelessly BRIBED my ds to go to his swimming class. He suddenly decided he didn't want to go (it's a week-long intensive course) and when I asked him why, he said he didn't like swimming. Hmm...he has been swimming happily literally every day until recently as we live in a v hot country. However that was just mucking about swimming whereas this a lessons as I want him to swim properly. So, I made the quick decision that HE WAS GOING SWIMMING. Does that count as one of the "rules"? Luckily he spotted a vending machine on the way to the changing rooms so I seized my cance and told him that on the last day (Friday) he can choose anything he likes from the machine. What should I have done? IMO he "needs" to learn to swim well due to the lifestyle we have.

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Mon 10-Aug-09 23:47:36

YES KTNoo, all or nothing - that is the question isn't it? Because do you say "yes darling, why not have 1/3 jam, 1/3 honey and 1/3 choc spread on your toast" - which after all isn't that big a deal in the scheme of things - but then you know full well that if you do it once you will be asked again and again and it isn't very practical and frankly who could be arsed to sort out 3 toppings?.

Having the time, especially with very young children, to reason, explain etc rather than just get on and do is why I'd like to mix and match UP - but don't want to be inconsistent.

So .... what would AK say to my ds' insistence this morning that not only could I not possibly wear my dressing gown at breakfast, but that I should also take off my pyjamas. I don't particularly want to have breakfast in the nud, especially as my in-laws are staying at the moment!! But ds got very very cross when I refused and it was no good saying "Mummy will get cold / doesn't want to / you're wearing PJs and so am I / oooh what's for breakfast?" He still had a massive tantrum about it!!

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Mon 10-Aug-09 23:49:26

oh and please can someone link to the other UP thread? I still can't find it.

Thanks.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 11-Aug-09 06:06:21

In a way three toppings is logical if your tummy is only big enough to eat one slice of toast but there is all that choice of toppings in the cupboard.

I have always done 'stripey toast' on days where we don't have to get out before 9am. And the rule 'not today, it's a school day' has always been accepted.

Thankfully they are almost independent on the spreading toppings front now.

Wheelsonthebus, UP is about not coercing your children unless there is really no alternative. It doesn't mean you should accept to be coerced by them! If the child can't accept your explanation then I think you have to let them have the tantrum. It all about them learning what they can and can't have a say in. As long as you didn't sent him to the naughty step for having a tantrum.

Othersideofthechannel Tue 11-Aug-09 06:16:35

KTNoo, sounds like this was the first day of the course. I expect your DS was a bit nervous.

Even if he likes swimming, having lessons (presumably without you) is a new thing?

If I think this is how my children are feeling, I find it quite effective to tell them a story about when I felt like that in the past but now I'm glad I got past it because I learned a useful skill.

Also, a week long intensive swimming course is exceptional, presumably you consulted him about the idea before you signed him up, you have paid for it, he really does need to at least try! I wouldn't hesitate to 'bribe' but by making getting a chocolate bar from the machine part of the whole grown up experience if I thought that would motivate DC to give it a go. And be there to listen to his apprehensions.

(Rather than 'I've made up my mind. You are going swimming. I'll buy you something from the machine if you're good and stop whingeing about it')

Did he enjoy the first session?

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Tue 11-Aug-09 08:59:57

Otherside, that makes sense. and no we don't do the naughty step.

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