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Unconditional parenting

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by jodidi, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. This was mentioned a little while ago on a past thread. A few of us were saying we were reading the book. Has anyone finished reading it? I have just finished it and it wasn't as out there as I had assumed it would be. It actually sounds a lot like my natural parenting style. I do think the no praise thing is a bit odd sounding, but it actually makes sense once you start thinking about it. It doesn't mean we don't celebrate achievements with children but we don't have to praise them for doing things they would do anyway.

  2. This was mentioned a little while ago on a past thread. A few of us were saying we were reading the book. Has anyone finished reading it? I have just finished it and it wasn't as out there as I had assumed it would be. It actually sounds a lot like my natural parenting style. I do think the no praise thing is a bit odd sounding, but it actually makes sense once you start thinking about it. It doesn't mean we don't celebrate achievements with children but we don't have to praise them for doing things they would do anyway.

  3. Hehe...saw the thread title and thought "ooo, she's brave starting that thread!"
    I started reading it again last week - consciously doing less "Good/Clever girl" - it becomes quite natural after a while. I want to read more but have a limpet attached to me today so can't go get the book!
  4. I was indeed feeling brave when I started this thread lol. I'm fully prepared for people to have different opinions of this style of parenting as it is so different from the "mainstream" view where supernanny style punishments and rewards seem to be the norm.
  5. I find it fascinating watching Supernanny now, particularly the naughty step bit (especially on the US version) - as long as a child shouts out "sorry" (regardless of whether they know or understand what they're meant to be 'sorry' for) and gives a rather forced looking cuddle, that is deemed to be an appropriate method of discipline. Discipline is about learning and I can't see what's being learnt there?! Before anyone jumps on me, I know that a lot of parents will have a dialogue with their child about their behaviour and why they've taken the course of action that they have, but the way it's portrayed on tv seems very hollow. I'll caveat all of that by saying my own LO is too young to even sit up, let alone sit on a naughty step!
  6. I just came across UP recently and while I can't say I could whole-heartedly embrace it, it really has made me think about how we 'extract' good behaviour from our children with praise. I haven't read the book, but just find the idea very interesting, and am still on the fence really about what I think. Is the book worth a read?
  7. I used the naughty step once with my eldest daughter who is now 11. I found that yes she sat on the step, she said sorry, she went straight back and did the exact same thing again. So I never tried it again, I had discussions with her instead. Amazingly, even as a toddler, she behaved better when I had explained why what she had done was not nice, and even when I was praising her for good behaviour I always explained why what she'd done was a good thing.
    I think the unconditional parenting is just an extension of that. So explaining how other people feel about what she has done rather than telling her it was a good thing. I'm hoping that with a small change in the way I phrase things she will be more willing to open up, and she will lighten up a bit as she seems rather serious and sensible for her age. Maybe that's the way she's programmed, but I just want to make sure she's happy as well as well-behaved, academic and sensible.
    My youngest is only 15 months so our "conversations" are rather limited yet. But she's understanding more each day and it's good to get into the practise of explaining rather than just forbidding things. We had an explanation of the fact that we should not draw on the fireplace in permanent marker this morning, and last night we had a great discussion about why eating uncooked pasta is not a good thing for her to do and she should wait til I've cooked it first.
  8. yes I think so. I found it quite interesting and the psychology behind it was a bit common-sense although it's not something I've spent a lot of time thinking about before.
  9. I kind of think a similar approach is what a lot of parents do anyway. I think parenting evolves naturally and everyone has a different style which evolves as you decide what works. Reading here http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Principles-of-Unconditional-Parenting a lot of it is just bog standard parenting- certainly nothing particularly unique... Some of the ideas I find a little patronising.. and I don't think praise necessarily makes a child feel insecure.
    The Love has to be Unconditional - Love withdrawl is conditional love; when it does work, the price you are paying is too high - it says, "You have to earn my love." You go away from me or I go away from you - banishment. Kids need love that never stops coming; affection that does not have to be earned. "No matter what you do, I will never stop loving you." Stop that which gives the opposite message - positive reinforcement when they are good. Items are a display of love or a tool to control - you cannot have it both ways. When we praise them for making our lives easy, they look for that. More praise, the more insecure they become, the more dependent they become on our approval. They have to know they are loved even when they screw up or fall short. They need to know they are loved for who they are, not what they do. Time out is okay when the child decides and the time is something that helps the child center - something fun, diverting.

    I never had a naughty step when I was young, and had a great relationship with my mum... I won't base my parenting on Jo Frost (who doesn't have kids?!) but I won't base my parenting on any book- sometimes I think the wealth of literature on parenting just leads us away from what we would do naturally and makes us lose faith in our instincts which is really sad.
    Equally, I would never want to label my parenting style- I want it to evolve naturally and praise to be spontaneous and not have to think everything I say- I am not going to parent in a certain way because a book says so- I'll praise spontaneously.
    I sometimes find the wealth of books mean people think so deeply about parenting, they are doing things a book says rather than follow their natural personality.
    I don't see there is anything wrong with UP- a child will thrive in a loving home, with all sorts of parenting styles but I don't understand the push to parent in a certain way.
    I know most parents who read the book will not follow it to the 't' but will maybe take some concepts- I have a book called 'playful parenting' and it is all just common sense. It can be reassuring to read a book which confirms your methods are OK.
  10. Me too to be honest. I completely agree that a lot of it is common sense. But I am also aware that a lot of parents don't listen to their common sense or their instincts.
    Neither will I. That's probably because we are both educated women with enough confidence in our own parenting instincts to stick with what comes naturally. But I know a lot of women who aren't confident that their instincts are the best ones. I visited 3 families with young children this week, 2 friends and my sister. During my visit of a couple of hours each, at least one child from each family was put into time out, and I saw star charts in each home too. I know that this is an incredibly small sample, but I can't name a single friend who doesn't use some form of time out style punishments in conjunction with star charts for good behaviour. So while these people are just as educated as us, just as intelligent as us, they have decided to base their parenting on a book, and I don't think it's a particularly helpful book. Each to their own though and if that's what they have chosen to do I hope it works out the way they think it will.
    I agree with this too. I know my sister has lost touch with the type of parent she wanted to be when her kids were born. She's had a tough time over the past year, going through a messy divorce and being made redundant, and she's lost sight of her natural parenting style, and has decided that she will do what all her friends do with their los, namely time out and reward charts. Obviously she loves her kids and is doing her best, but the kids are not really responding the way she expected them to, and I don't blame them as they've been through just as much upheaval as she has, if not more as they aren't yet of an age to understand it all.
    I have just ordered that one, I'm looking forward to reading it.
    That's the way I feel, which was why I quite enjoyed reading UP. I was really interested in the psychology behind the principles they put forward, and would have loved for them to put more detail about the studies they cited.

  11. Wow, that wasn't supposed to be such an essay. Sorry[​IMG]
  12. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    I have to say that I'm usually the first to pooh pooh these newfangled ideas .... but not this time! I had never heard of UP before stumbling upon this thread and I find it all very interesting. I do agree that we 'over praise' to a large degree these days. I do it myself sometimes with my own kids and don't always like myself for it!!
    Plus, has anyone noticed how we overuse the word 'please' these days when giving instructions?
    Tidy your room, please.
    Be nice to your sister, please.
    Eat up your dinner, please.
    In my day (70s kid) you'd just be told to do it and that's it!
  13. That's it tartetatin. There's nothing wrong in praising a child for something they are proud of, but I hear people (and myself ocassionally too) saying "good girl" just for eating a sandwich (or something similar) which isn't something that needs praise, it's just a normal activity. I'm all for celebrating and congratulating my child when she does something she's been trying to do for a long time, such as when my 11year old passed her grade 2 flute exam we had a celebration because she was so excited about it, but I generally don't tell her she's brilliant every time she plays, I let her tell me if she thought she played well and what she could do to improve if she thinks she needs it (and at grade 2 she still needs to improve lol)
    And I agree about ading please to every request. It's not something I remember from my childhood. My parents were respectful about requests but they didn't say please over every little thing.
  14. I do agree that praise can be over used- I did a lot of work at Childrens Centres who teach 'webster-Stratton' who use labelled praise ALL the time, so 'good eating' 'good sitting'- 'good girl for putting your shoes on' and it becomes a little false.. most of the stuff is what you would expect a child to do. I do think that is a more new-fangled idea than UP though- UP is going back to what our parents probably did!
    I remember sitting in a room at work and hearing the word 'good' so many times- I think the effect wore off...the children were getting on well and kept being interrupted by the 'praise voice'. and I wanted to slap the beaming woman who kept saying it!
    But it is what teachers are taught to do- praise every little thing.... I do agree this is unhelpful and praise should be used genuinely. I am sure children will pick up quite quickly genuine pleasure.
    Reading some parents experiences of UP it does concern me that a few parents may go so far to avoid praise completely. For example, one post I had read a child had completed a painting and showed it to a parent and asked 'do you like it' and the parent was upset and could not answer with a yes as it would be praise. Maybe it isn't someone understanding the principles though?
  15. That is so sad! I would have just said yes, then I might have asked if the child liked it too. That way we get a discussion about the painting, but I would have done that way before I read the UP book and I'm not going to change my whole personality just because a book said so.
    I wasn't taught to do that. Or maybe I was and just ignored that advice [​IMG] I have a tendancy to do that with advice I don't believe in lol. Or maybe it's more a primary thing than secondary. I do praise specifics, but it's more to do with the effort put in than for behaviour. So the praise you would hear in my classroom would be "you revised hard for that test, I could tell" and the kids are genuinely pleased with that sort of praise where they feel patronised by "well done for sitting quietly", they are teenagers after all, not *** lol.

  16. Ooh, I didn't realise that word would be starred out. I just meant they aren't stupid, not anything ruder than that.
  17. I had a chat with a friend who's much more UP (or tries to be!) about this one - she said she would turn the question back to the child, do you like it, what do you like about it, and open up a discussion about their efforts. As the child is older, she said she might (at another point) have a discussion with him about why it was important to him that she liked the painting. Was a couple of weeks ago we discussed it so will have to try and remember what else she said!
  18. I just bougth the Playful Parenting book! Looking forward to reading it when I get a few minutes.
  19. I read an article a while ago (not sure where though or I would post a link) about a study carried out in a number of nurseries. The staff were all adament before the study that they treated all of the children exactly the same, and had no gender bias at all. They were then filmed for a few weeks, and the interactions between adults and children were analysed. It turned out that the adults spoke to the girls in a very different way to the boys. They may have had the same number of interactions but the girls recieved a lot more words, and they we asked their opinions about subjects. Boys on the other hand were given instructions more often. It's no wonder so many girls end up being so good at speaking, and why so many boys are driven to attention seeking behaviour.
    The word "sorry" is definitely too difficult a concept for many young children. I watched an episode of supernanny today, and the child sobbing sorry at her didn't seem to have a clue what he was supposed to have done, or what on earth the word sorry meant.
  20. Just bought the Unconditional Parenting book after this thread, fasinating stuff, not sure I will ever be able to get out of the habit of verbal praise. Still found it quite liberating as I think I tend to explain the consequences rather than go down the artificial 'sticker chart for every behaviour' route. What I liked best is that is encourages a thoughful look at values behind parenting, rather than a quick tips and fix approach. Already had some interesting discussion with OH about what we assume from how our own parents behaved.

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