Jump to content

What is unconditional parenting?


  • Please log in to reply
202 replies to this topic

#1 Bobbypoppa

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:38 PM

I was lightly chatting today about our respective children with one of the women I work with and she told me that she uses this parenting technique.

Granted my children are now young adults and I have never heard of this before. Does this mean you love your children unconditionally, (because I do). Or is it a new  parenting approach? I didn't ask her for in-depth details because I felt like a real twit not knowing what she meant and just smiled and nodded with her? So please EB, what is it? I don't have time to Google.

#2 becstar101

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:43 PM

No idea.

No time to google but enough time to write that whole post?


#3 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

[quote name='becstar101' date='21/02/2013, 05:43 PM' post='15346598

No time to google but enough time to write that whole post?
[/quote]

laugh.gif

No idea either.  Is it like unschooling, attachment parenting - I swear there didn't used to be all these names for parents, you just looked after your kids!

arrgh feeling like an old fuddy duddy now ssorry.gif

#4 Wineandchocolate

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:48 PM

I have time to Google biggrin.gif

http://rainbowrecognizer.hubpages.com/hub/...ional-Parenting

#5 mmuc83

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:49 PM

http://www.alfiekohn.org/up/index.html might be a starting point..

i've never heard of it either ...

#6 I'msoMerry

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

Don't be Rigid - Wave the rules. Be flexible. Respond differently to different children and situations, understanding the context. Predictability is good, but don't make a fetish of it. United front is dishonest - more useful for kids to see we disagree and can talk it out.



This from the link seems to be the opposite from what most experts teach. I would think you would end up with confused and unruly children.

#7 Orangedrops

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

It is about parenting your children with respect essentially, not having adult expectations for them but at the same time not treating them arbitrarily just because they don't have adult abilities. Alfie Kohn is the guy who came up with it, he is an incredible thinker from my perspective.

It's hard to explain in a snap shot or to give specific examples but for instance we don't punish at all, we don't take things away, or do time out nor do we tell our children they are naughty or bad, we talk about behaviours, how they effect others and why it is important to care about others, be responsible etc.

My children aren't perfect but they are pretty well behaved, most importantly to me they are secure in our love for them and they love and care for us and each other. Their character is more important than their behaviour anyway. They are taught empathy by example rather than being forced into rigid acceptable behaviours. My husband and I try to examine why we want our kids to do particular things if they don't want to and be flexible when we can. Children are people too.

Edited by Orangedrops, 21 February 2013 - 05:04 PM.


#8 ~Supernova~

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

Nvm, I'm not up for an argument atm lol.


Edited by Mareek, 21 February 2013 - 05:07 PM.


#9 Cat People

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

Briefly, not trying to manipulate your children in to behaving a certain way with punishments and rewards.  Accepting and respecting they are an individual.  Trusting they will do the 'right' thing without punishments or rewards.    Listening, validating, accepting, guidance, blah blah.  Basically you have to have a lot of patience!






#10 cad0

Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

Ooooh I'm relating to a lot of this and didn't even know there was a name for what I was doing!


QUOTE (Orangedrops @ 21/02/2013, 05:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
we tell our children they are naughty or bad, we talk about behaviours, how they effect others and why it is important to care about others, be responsible etc.


I think it works so well for us because they're afraid otherwise we'll start spouting this stuff at them yet again wink.gif


#11 Angelot

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:01 PM

It's funny how people react differently.  I read a link, recoiled and went, "Nup, not for me in a million years!"  Particularly that stuff about abandoning a united front - DH and I are a team, and we parent as a team (or try to).  We're not going to have different standards for mum and dad.  Nor are we going to tolerate bad behaviour.

#12 Cat People

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 21/02/2013, 07:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's funny how people react differently.  I read a link, recoiled and went, "Nup, not for me in a million years!"  Particularly that stuff about abandoning a united front - DH and I are a team, and we parent as a team (or try to).  We're not going to have different standards for mum and dad.  Nor are we going to tolerate bad behaviour.


It's really not about tolerating "bad" behaviour.  Nor is it about being permissive, another common myth.  Basically I treat my kids the same as I would my dh if I had a problem with his behaviour (well I aim to - doesn't always happen).  We sit down, I express my concerns, validate his and together we reached a solution.  Obviously it's at an age appropriate level.

I always tell Dh NOT to take my side if he thinks I'm wrong, and even if he thinks I'm right, I want him to be the kids' advocate when I'm doling out the discipline (that's assuming the above isn't happening because I've lost my way).  My parents were pretty easy going but I always hated that 'united' front.  I wanted someone on my side, even if it was just to acknowledge my feelings of life being very unfair.  Validating someone's feelings is important, it's not saying "yes you are right", it's just saying "ok I hear you".


#13 Angelot

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

I appreciate the explanation, but I still can't come at it.

My child is not my equal, and I won't treat her as such.  Her father and I hold authority, and I'm not going to hand it to someone unprepared for it.  I mean, it's a small example, but if DD had her way she'd never nap, but I know she needs to so I put up with the struggling and the yelling and settle her.  She's not ready to make decisions, and although as she grows her scope will grow with her, I'm not going to pretend she's got adult capacity to understand or make decisions.

The idea of a child having an advocate when being disciplined - way to be undermined, and to be confusing.  If a child has done the wrong thing, that needs to be absolutely clear, not to have someone on their side.  Sometimes feelings are inappropriate, and children need to learn that.

That's my instinctive response, anyway.  This looks like parents wanting to treat their kids as equals and abdicate authority.  I find it frightening and dangerous and really I feel almost angry at it.  



#14 Bobsygirls

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

What a complete over reaction, in no way does unconditional parenting advocate giving children responsibilities they are not ready for or allowing them to do whatever they want, it is about respecting that they are individuals with feelings and respecting those feelings and not being arbitrarily authoritarian.

I would suggest when a child has done something wrong it is particularly important for them to have someone on their side, not they should be told that what they did was ok but having someone to talk to about what they can do to make it better and show them they are loved regardless.

#15 Bobsygirls

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:07 PM

Dp

Edited by Bobsygirls, 21 February 2013 - 07:08 PM.


#16 Angelot

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:11 PM

QUOTE (Bobsygirls @ 21/02/2013, 08:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would suggest when a child has done something wrong it is particularly important for them to have someone on their side, not they should be told that what they did was ok but having someone to talk to about what they can do to make it better and show them they are loved regardless.


I don't disagree, but I don't see how having parents play good-cop bad-cop helps with this.  Good exercise of authority in discipline should be about reform, and kids should know they are loved.  But I think the united front is necessary to send the unequivocal message that whatever they did, was wrong!

#17 *LucyE*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

I agree with what Madam Protart said.

For me, it is about treating my children as individual human beings and not my subordinates.  As an adult, I am more capable than them.  As their parent, I am responsible for teaching and guiding them to be independent human beings.  Unconditional parenting, to me is about loving them without conditions.  Be it their behaviour, their school work, their willingness to obey or their ability as a performing monkey.

Using the nap example, I don't make them have a nap because I'm an adult, bigger and stronger.  I make them have a nap because it is the right thing for them to do at that time.  It may seem like only semantics, but I use it to question myself when I get to hairier situations.

As for the united front issue, I had to encourage DH to challenge me if he thought I was wrong.  I admit to sometimes flying off the handle and responding out of proportion.  It is important that the children learn the difference between right and wrong and not just to obey what a person of authority says.  I want them to challenge and question us in a respectful way.  I think that is much healthier than to use subterfuge and learn to present a demure front but to be dishonest.  

The main point is to treat everyone respectfully regardless of their age, gender or any other attribute.  We are all human beings and part of this family.

#18 *LucyE*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

QUOTE
but I don't see how having parents play good-cop bad-cop helps with this.

We don't play good cop, bad cop.  We only step in if the other parent is being unreasonable.  And I admit that sometimes when under stress, we do go a bit overboard.

When we intervene, we always do it respectfully without undermining the other person.  By doing this, we are modeling a healthy, adult approach to negotiations.  It's not authoritarian or dictator like.

#19 Bobsygirls

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:21 PM

It's not about playing good cop bad cop more about if one parent sees the other parent reacting poorly to an issue, ie loosing control, over reacting, being irrational or unreasonable that they step in and diffuse the situation, talk to their partner so the issue can be dealt with reasonably. For example when my oldest daughter dawdles when getting ready in the morning it really pushes my buttons, something about it really irritates me and because of that it can lead me to overreact and get irrationally angry which can sometimes lead to yelling which first of all isn't fair, no one deserves to be screamed at even if they are bing particularly irritating, and second of all could teach my daughter that it is ok to yell and scream at people when they don't do what you want them to. If my partner notices my rising frustration he might step in and say something like" DD your Mum really needs to get you and your siblings to school, it is really important for you to get ready quickly now or you will all be late, Mum is getting frustrated because she doesn't t want you to miss school. Could you help your Mum by hurrying up".

Situation diffused, I feel acknowledge and it helps break that circuit of me getting irrationally angry. DD is more likely to hurry up, not guaranteed but at least we won't get into a yelling match that will just waste more time anyway. Plus my relationship with my daughter and our relationship as a family is really more important than getting to school on time that day anyway.

Edited by Bobsygirls, 21 February 2013 - 07:23 PM.


#20 Angelot

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:28 PM

I still don't agree, and I'd love to keep exploring it, but I think I have to bow out because this has hit a nerve for me somehow and I am really incredibly upset.

#21 Feral-chillibean

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:42 PM

Is it the same as "guidance discipline"?

"Isn't setting limits just having the courage to say No and enforce it?"    Yes.  But setting limits with empathy means that you:

    Start with a strong, supportive connection with your child so he knows you're on his side.
    See it from his point of view and offer genuine empathy that he can feel, while setting the limit.
    Resist the temptation to be punitive in any way.  Setting the limit teaches the lesson. Anything more backfires.
    See his life from his point of view and only set the limits you really need to set, so that his life is more about connection and discovery than about limits and frustration.  Saying No too often undermines your relationship."

The above comes from http://www.ahaparenting.com/

I try to guide, not yell.  I try to set realistic expectations and limits and give age appropriate choices and freedom.

I'm not much good at it and often slip back into "authoritarian" style but it's not my ideal style...

#22 Feralishous

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

QUOTE (*LucyE* @ 21/02/2013, 05:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree with what Madam Protart said.

For me, it is about treating my children as individual human beings and not my subordinates.  As an adult, I am more capable than them.  As their parent, I am responsible for teaching and guiding them to be independent human beings.  Unconditional parenting, to me is about loving them without conditions.  Be it their behaviour, their school work, their willingness to obey or their ability as a performing monkey.

Using the nap example, I don't make them have a nap because I'm an adult, bigger and stronger.  I make them have a nap because it is the right thing for them to do at that time.  It may seem like only semantics, but I use it to question myself when I get to hairier situations.

As for the united front issue, I had to encourage DH to challenge me if he thought I was wrong.  I admit to sometimes flying off the handle and responding out of proportion.  It is important that the children learn the difference between right and wrong and not just to obey what a person of authority says.  I want them to challenge and question us in a respectful way.  I think that is much healthier than to use subterfuge and learn to present a demure front but to be dishonest.  

The main point is to treat everyone respectfully regardless of their age, gender or any other attribute.  We are all human beings and part of this family.

I agree. this is how we try to parent, though I didnt know there was a name for it. Partly as this is our personalities, partly because we have very spirited children, and Ive learnt that it really doesnt matter  if they 'win' part of the time.
Arguing about if they are going to use the red plate or the green plate is just a waste of time and energy

#23 AngryBird

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:23 PM

This is pretty much how I parent, although I didn't know it was called  "unconditional parenting". We're somewhat new to the approach although it's always reflected how I've instinctively treated my children - as individual human beings.

I am much much more interested in my children choosing the "right thing" because they know and believe it to BE "the right thing", than I am in them complying because they fear the consequences of doing otherwise.

We're all about the children - and the adults - treating others with love and respect because they choose to, and because they want to be considerate.
It requires a lot of patience and going over the same situation and regrettable choices many many times sometimes!

Edited by AfroCircus, 21 February 2013 - 08:27 PM.


#24 Taystee

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:26 PM

I think I respect my daughter as a person but only to a certain extent. As an 18 month old, she would choose to eat cheese 10 times a day, play with the medicine drawer and never go to sleep until she literally dropped.

So her decision making is poor, generally. I support her to make decisions by giving her an option between 2 things. When she does something I don't like- generally something dangerous or destructive or wasteful- I will reprimand her briefly- No sweetie, we don't do that and then redirect her to either fixing the situation together or to another fun task.

I think talking to children at length about the reason for various decisions etc is a) boring for them b) unlikely to stick c) leaves too much room for negotiation and discussion!

I get where unconditional parenting is but I suspect those of you who say you do it are throwing in a good dose of common sense too original.gif

ETS: Sorry, I actually totally always respect my daughter as a person but NOT always her decisions! I have the manflu, forgive me.

Edited by Stan the Fan Man, 21 February 2013 - 08:33 PM.


#25 lucky 2

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:34 PM

Thank you for posting this OP, I knew I had a book sitting around somewhere that I needed to read!
I found it, it was beside my bed ddoh.gif , a copy of "Unconditional Parenting- Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason" but Alfie Kohn.
This resonates strongly with me as something worth pursuing, I'm just pretty hopeless at finishing books.

eta, and thanks to the EB member who quietly suggested it:) .




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Win $1000 with Sea-Bands!

Three lucky fans can win a Sea-Band prize pack valued at over $1000 each, which includes two Sea-Bands plus a $1000 Eftpos gift card!

Misery loves Facebook

Facebook users are often criticised for only showing the positive, fun parts of their lives. But what about when it swings the other way, when someone uses it for the purposes of ranting about their children all the time, never posting anything positive?

Toddler's adorable impersonation of pregnant mum

Little Ellis has noticed his mum is walking differently lately, and his impersonation of her is hilarious.

'Forgotten baby syndrome' can happen to any one of us

When my third child was two months old, I strapped her into her car seat, then promptly forgot all about her. But she survived, unharmed, because it was winter, and I was lucky.

Join the Real Mums Test Drive Team

Five mums or mums-to-be will join the EB Test Drive Team and discover great items at an exclusive Big W event. (Sydney only.)

Ten things I've learned about motherhood

Never take a good night's sleep for granted. There is no logic like toddler logic. Standing on Lego hurts every time. These are the truths of parenthood.

Parenting past the toddler years: what's next?

Your baby has grown into a toddler, and now your toddler is fast approaching the preschooler stage. What can you expect as a parent?

Tips on what to pack in your hospital bag

Before giving birth I read countless lists, ended up overpacking just a little, and now know what I'll actually want to pack next time.

New app keeps tabs on your kids at childcare

Popular new technology lets parents know what their children are up to at childcare - but not everyone is a fan.

21 things I love about newborns

There?s an irresistible magic about newborns. Of course they're not all smiles and rainbows, but they are undeniably cute and remarkable in so, so many ways.

Kid-friendly hairdressers: who says haircuts can?t be fun?

I?ve found some salons who boast setups ideal for children ? you name it, they?ve thought of it. All are designed to make haircuts fun rather than stressful.

Labour pain relief may reduce risk of postnatal depression: study

Postnatal depression is a complex condition, but researchers say pain relief during labour may help some women.

Why we need better support for men after miscarriage

In a recent study, 85 per cent of men admitted feeling sadness after their partner miscarried, but almost half said they didn't share their feelings at all. What can be done to help them?

Mum in business: Kristy Chong

Kristy Chong is the managing director of Australian-made Modibodi underwear and a mum to Lucas, 6, Jason, 4, and Isaac, 6 months. She shares her advice for other mums thinking about starting their own businesses.

From toddler to preschooler: a developmental roadmap

So your toddler is growing up and will soon be entering the preschooler years. Here are a few ways to frame their development that will help you understand what?s going in those beautiful, funny, clever little heads of theirs.

Mum sacrifices an eye for her unborn baby

Motherhood is full of sacrifices, but this woman has made a life-altering one - and her baby hasn't even been born.

A grandparent by any other name

A growing number of grandparents are shunning tradition and going against conventional names - but a grandparent by any other name still gives the same awesome cuddles and kisses.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

When labour just doesn't happen

After three healthy kids, I can?t help feeling I?ve been a little ripped off. I missed out on something I had always wanted to experience, and now I?ll never get the chance.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

Share the little things that make you smile

We're giving away a Mountain Buggy nano, the ultimate travel stroller - and here are some of the great entries so far.

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win a Mountain Buggy nano

We?re giving away the new Mountain Buggy Nano - the lightweight travel buggy! So show us the little things that make you smile for your chance to win.

Be careful what you say, your baby is listening

The importance of speaking to your baby even if they are not old enough to answer back has been highlighted by new research.

Win $1000 with Sea-Bands!

Three lucky fans can win a Sea-Band prize pack valued at over $1000 each, which includes two Sea-Bands plus a $1000 Eftpos gift card!

The beautiful moment a baby was born at the side of a road

It's not where she expected to give birth, but mum Corrine Cinatl is delighted that her daughter's roadside arrival was captured in a series of beautiful photos.

Doctor sings first Happy Birthday to newborns

His job is to deliver babies, but this US obstetrician also has a unique way of celebrating the miracle of life.

Join the Real Mums Test Drive Team

Five mums or mums-to-be will join the EB Test Drive Team and discover great items at an exclusive Big W event. (Sydney only.)

The Nappy Collective starts new drive

It's that time of year when the dedicated volunteers at The Nappy Collective do their bit to help out mums and children in need - and they need your help.

Baby shower cake wrecks

From misshapen cake babies to questionable text, from odd colour choices to internal organ recreation, these are the baby shower cakes that taste forgot.

Photographer captures the beauty of adoption

The love of a family is usually tough to capture on camera. This is an exception.

Pregnancy progression photo ideas

Want to record your pregnancy as your belly grows? Here are some creative, fun ideas for photo shoots along the way.

The myths and facts about "normal" breastfeeding

When it comes to successful breastfeeding, there is a wide variety to what is "normal", according to new research.

Tin can craft and DIY ideas

Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.