Posts

How to Practice Unconditional Parenting Using Love and Reason with Alfie Kohn

Special guest: Alfie Kohn.

Many parenting books offer countless tips for dealing with kids when they misbehave in the eyes of their parents—refusing to go to bed, rejecting the vegetables they’ve been told to eat, talking back, yelling in the restaurant, badgering their sibling or resisting doing the tasks it takes to get to school on time. But the way parents cope with these challenging behaviors might be backfiring even if they work in the short term. My next guest asks many thought-provoking questions in his book, Unconditional Parenting- but two seem to be at the forefront. First; “What are your long-term objectives for your children?” and second, given those long term goals, which are likely for your child to be some version of a kind, independent, confident, competent, happy and fulfilled person—are the ways in which you are parenting lending themselves to creating that type of person IN the long run—or not? It’s time to take a hard look at some of the parenting practices that have become so common that they are accepted as the acceptable norm- time outs, positive re-enforcement, consequences, withdrawal of attention, punishment—and start taking a hard look at UNCONDITIONAL parenting- a parenting philosophy and practice in which parental love and attention is not in a push-pull relationship with how our children behave. On top of that, UNCONDITIONAL parenting puts to rest the notion that children are trying to make trouble—and instead, assumesthe best of the child and looks at the child as a whole person not a compilation of good and bad behaviors.Alfie Kohn is the author of 14 books on education, parenting, and human behavior, including PUNISHED BY REWARDS (1993), THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE (1999), UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING (2005), THE HOMEWORK MYTH (2006), and THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD (2014).  He has appeared twice on “Oprah,” as well as on “The Today Show” and many other TV and radio programs. His articles include: “Five Reasons to Stop Saying ‘Good Job!’”, “How Not to Teach Values,” and “Atrocious Advice from ‘Supernanny.’ ” Kohn works with educators and parents across the country and speaks regularly at national conferences. He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.