Unconditional Parenting Discussion Thread (5/1-8/31)
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May 12th, 2012, 06:31 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Here are some thoughts on the no punishment aspect of Alphie Kohn's technique: My DH and I may not always act exactly the way we want each other to but we get along great for the most part. That's because when one of us is not doing exactly what the other would like us to, mostly we let it go because it's not worth a battle, and when it's very important we simply bring it up and talk about it. That usually solves the problem. I don't cheat on him, not because I'm afraid of getting caught, but because it's not the right thing to do and I owe him better than that. If he told me "if you cheat on me I will divorce you and take everything you owe" or "if you don't have dinner on the table by 5 pm I will beat you" I would be less likely to want to please him and there would be disharmony in our family, and no one would benefit. So there's no need for punishments and no need for us to control every aspect of our behavior.
I think something similar might work for raising kids, but it probably depends on the kids. Starting out early (from infancy), be fair and reasonable, don't say "no" unless you really have to, be flexible, but don't be a pushover. If you do this and truly follow through, it is likely that your kids will really want to please you and in the back of their minds they will wonder with every decision they make if mom an dad would approve. That will not keep them from never making a bad decision, but neither will punishment. It will make them more likely to own up to their mistakes.
Additionally, punishment teaches compliance for the wrong reasons. We want our kids to develop morals and do the right thing
because it's right
, not because they're afraid of punishment and getting caught. I can totally relate to this from my own experience growing up. My parents were control freaks and "my way or the highway" and it just made me want to rebel.
In working with kids, not against them, you teach them that their opinions are valued and that they as individuals are valued. Sometimes they may say something ridiculous, but at least you have taken the time to ask their opinion and listen to what they have to say without ridiculing them.
I'm still not completely sure about the no praise thing. I still need to read the book and find out more details. Alphie's argument there was basically that too much praise will cause a child to grow up to become dependent upon others' validation of what they did before they can appreciate it themselves, but I don't think you want to ignore your child's accomplishments. If anyone else has read the book and can comment on this part, I'd really love to hear what you have to say!
It will probably be another week or so before I actually start the book because a friend recommended Fifty Shades of Grey and now I'm going to read that one first.
Mariah, AP Mommy to Juliana
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