I've been mulling over Unconditional Parenting
by Alfie Kohn
for several months...I've read and re-read this book
and watched the DVD
. It's taken me so long to write about it because it's so thought provoking and challenges the assumptions that many of us have been conditioned to believe about raising our children. I know that I can't be the only mom out there struggling with the whole concept of discipline. As some of you know, I've tried various and seemingly benign methods of discipline and I just don't feel comfortable, nor does it seem to help. In situations where I become completely overwhelmed by a particular behavior, I often resort to time out...and truthfully, not for any other reason other than I need that moment to collect myself before my head explodes. I'm not joking it really does feel like my cranium is going to burst. But time-out doesn't feel right. This uneasy feeling is what led me to Unconditional Parenting.
Alfie's message makes an extremely valid point: traditional discipline in the form of consequences is only effective in the short term, if it actually worked long term, we would not have to keep doing it. He suggests working with the child instead of "doing to" the child. He points out that, as parents, we need to look at the bigger picture...we want them to grow to be responsible adults.
The DVD is an overview that gets to the core of this insightful work and Alfie is very entertaining in his delivery. The book, of course, goes into much more detail. Unconditional Parenting has inspired me to trust my instincts in that if something doesn't feel right for my family, it's because it's not. That is not to say that I have all the answers yet, but I do believe that I have found another piece to the puzzle.
Labels: book basket: Mama's, dog-eared