Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review: Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.

This book was really really interesting. I would really be interested in having other parents reading this book and telling me what you think. I will warn you that I have a feeling that some of the book would tick people off, because it questions many things that most parents commonly do (myself included).I was a little on the defense during some parts of the book when it talked about things I do, but in general, I love the challenge of reading something that makes me question how I parent and live my life. How can we improve if we don't learn about ideas that question how we do things? How I will incorporate some of the changes mentioned in the book... I am still brainstorming, but I have some ideas in the works.
Although there are some concepts in the book that are harder for me to grasp and I am still trying to figure out if I totally agree with Kohn on.... the main concept of the book is amazing. When we use rewards (sticker charts, overusing the phrase "good job") and punishments (lots of times outs, "Because I said so" mentality, or physical punishment to name a few examples), we are often times teaching kids to do or not do xyz because of what the result will be (good or bad), and we are taking the focus away from teaching them to do things because they are right.
Kohn says: "How do we raise our children to be really happy? That's an important question, but here's another one? How do we raise our children to be concerned about whether other people are happy? It's important that we don't allow the first issue to upstage the second, or for that matter, that we don't spend more energy trying to get kids to be polite and well behaved than trying to help them become genuinely compassionate and committed to doing the right thing. We want our kids to ask, "How will doing x make the other kid feel?" not, "Am I allowed to do x?."
Read this book. Like I said, it will make you a little or maybe really defensive depending on your current parenting style, but I am excited to explore my parenting style more to make sure that I am teaching my kids (through word and example) how to treat others and to leave the behavioristic part of parenting behind when possible.
Okay to end this post (I have a way of dragging things out, don't I?), I will just write some points to work on to become a more unconditional parent that are mentioned in the book:
1)Be reflective
2)Reconsider your requests
3)Keep your eye on the long term goals
4)Put the relationship first
5)Change how you see , not just how you act.
7)Be authentic
8)Talk less, ask more.
9)Keep their ages in mind.
10)Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
11)Don't stick your no's in unnecessarily.
12)Don't be rigid.
13) Don't be in a hurry.


Mumu Mama said...

I so appreciate the concept - in parenting as well as teaching. It's a hard sell to move away from rewards in a school setting when students have previous teachers who manage their classes through elaborate or multiple reward systems. However, I've found that students do respond when time is taken to train and discuss, and when the emphasis is on respect and responsibility. That's why I love cooperative learning. I think I would enjoy this book as well, although I agree, it's often a difficult shift in attitude for the adult - but well worth the effort.

E said...

Going to get this one at the library! Already finding myself saying "no" too many times a day and Cadie is only 12 months!

Jaime said...

Kara, I need your adress

E said...

Alright, I picked up the book but I'm having a hard time getting through it. Found anything better?