Katina's Reviews > Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
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's review
Dec 21, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, parenting

The advice in this book is considerably more deep than the main message I took away, but I think my take-home point is still worth sharing. I know it's conventional, but if nothing else, the best part of this book is the reminder to "Choose your battles." That can be hard to remember when your toddler has woken up at 4 am for the fifth day in a row, but it is a mantra that we parents should repeat to ourselves all the time so that we focus on what really matters: loving our kids without condition.

Aside from remembering that the little squabbles with your kids don't matter in the long run, Alfie Kohn preaches "unconditional parenting" a.k.a. raising your kids in such a way that reinforces your unconditional love for them. This means, on one end of the spectrum, not giving your kids time outs, which Kohn calls "love withdrawal" or some other inflammatory phrase. I agree with him to a certain degree. Time outs can be unduly punitive, but if the aim is to give both parties (the parent and kid) space to chill the eff out, I think they are necessary and wise. On the other side, Kohn makes some strong arguments about the importance of encouraging children, but not praising them unduly which can cause kids to think that you only love them if they get As, hit a home run, clean their room, etc.

All in all, this was a thought provoking book. For the message alone, I would have given it five stars, but the tone was a bit too attachment-parenting judgmental for me to embrace it fully.

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