So there is a very funny, incredibly loud, stay-at-home dad at my girls’ pre-school who would not stop talking about this book! One day at morning drop-off he strode in, book in hand, and proclaimed “Got my kid to not fight me to get out of the house in the morning and it only took one conversation.” Granted, this peaked my interest to say the least, but I have found myself struggling lately with the fact that most of my requests fall on deaf ears these days.
Unconditional Parenting is a book that I had a love/hate relationship with but in the final analysis – it made a lot of sense. It takes direct aim at many of the popular parenting tactics today and clearly defends how threats, punishments, bribes and time-outs simply don’t work, and might erode a child’s self esteem. In my house we have good days and bad days but the most annoying part of the whole thing is the sound of my own voice being on repeat to get something accomplished.
The author believes that “the way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions” and that our job as parents is to empower them whenever we can.
I try to not be too controlling on most fronts but I do like to keep a schedule, especially when it comes to sleep…. but when the 108th “can I ask you a question mommy?” and “tuck me in again, mommy” comes echoing from the room when they were supposed to be asleep 45 minutes ago I start to lose it.
“It is very difficult to make a child eat a meal and it’s simply impossible to force a child to go to sleep, or stop crying, or listen, or respect us.” Phew – so it’s not just me? He even makes a strong case against the use of “praise” and to really only throw out the “good jobs” and “I am proud of you” for when it really is called for. It’s true – I too fell prey to the “good job” thing.
I found the harshness refreshing and to be honest, it made me feel more confident and less alone in my struggle. Sometimes it just helps to stop, take a breath, and really really talk to your child – try to figure out how they feel and what they need. Turn the power over to them a little bit and see what happens.
Next book this dad has been yapping about is Nurture Shock. Reading that now…will keep you posted. I like this guy’s reading list….