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Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason Hardcover – 22 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (22 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743487478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743487474
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

This book presents a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom of raising children. Author of nine books, including the controversial "Punished by Rewards", Kohn expands upon the theme of what's wrong with our society's emphasis on punishments and rewards with regards raising children. Kohn, the father of young children himself, sprinkles his text with anecdotes that shore up his well-researched hypothesis that children do best with unconditional love, respect and the opportunity to make their own choices. Kohn questions why parents and parenting literature focus on compliance and quick fixes, and points out that docility and short-term obedience are not what most parents desire of their children in the long run. He insists that "controlling parents" are actually conveying to their kids that they love them conditionally - that is, only when they achieve or behave. Tactics like time-out, brides and threats, Kohn claims, just worsen matters. Caustic, witty and thought-provoking, Kohn's arguments challenge much of today's parenting wisdom, yet his assertion that "the way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions" rings true.

Kohn suggests parents help kids solve problems; provide them with choices; and use reason, humour and, as a last resort, a restorative time away (not a punitive time-out). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Even before I had children, I knew that being a parent was going to be challenging as well as rewarding. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By M Tsun on 3 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Like most parents, I have tried star-charts, time-outs, naughty chair, sticker books, you name it. But at the back of my mind there had always been a niggling feeling that these traditional 'methods' were not the right way forward. Unconditional Parenting gave me the power to question those traditional beliefs and the tools to work with my child, to treat him with the respect and unconditional love that every child deserves. So often we enter into parenthood weighted down by our past - how we were treated by our parents. I'm so glad to be able to break that cycle. Read this book and stop treating your children as enemies who must be tamed and controlled.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Bumbledeb on 31 July 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alfie Kohn uses real research to back up his conclusions. The book is very readable and easy to understand but the ideas it contains could very well change your life and your children's lives. Very highly recommended by someone who has read a LOT of parenting books and has never before felt compelled to recommend one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jess on 11 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book describes a very different way of raising children to the one most of us are familiar with.
It takes the view that punishment & rewards, from time outs & smacking, to stickers and praise (there's a fine line between praise and encouragement apparently) are detrimental to a child's progression to becoming a well rounded and happy adult.
It's about changing your behaviour as the parent rather than that of your child.
I think ultimately Kohn's ideas are the difference between getting your child to do X, Y or Z because you told them to and they fear or relish the consequences. To your child doing X, Y or Z because they genuinely want to and if they don't do X or Y does it really matter?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda on 29 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book really made my sit back and consider the approach I have been taking with my childrens up-bringing. I read it twice within 2 weeks ... first time because I was so enthralled ... second time to really digest his ideas. I will definitely be taking (baby) steps towards being a better mom as a result of this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A E Porter on 10 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book has prompted my first book review. i am a parent and a family worker and this book distils all that i have learned through experience, and backs it up with research. it challenges the idea of parenting your children as if they were laboratory animals which has felt wrong to me for a long time. although the alternative methods cannot be made into simplistic A4 handouts for parents so will not please many who work in this field, it legitimises those of us who encourage humane and empowering parenting.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Richie C on 11 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
I have found this book fascinating and its really changed the way I parent. The 'using any method to get children to behave' principle is ingrained in our culture but the author argues very convincingly that this is very shortsighted.

Has really helped me view what I am doing with my children in another light and changed what I do
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By mmisl on 13 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely thought-provoking book. It offers a different way of parenting for those people who are not sure about time out etc, but perhaps can't quite put their finger on what bothers them about it. The idea that praise and punishment are two sides of the same coin and that they are equally damaging is hard to take, but AK's argument, to me, was very persuasive.

Unfortunately I've found it extremely hard to break the praising habit. It feels like you are not being appreciative. Especially when your child is v small and everything they do is new and exciting, it is hard not to say well done, good boy etc. That is one area that the book falls down a little - there aren't very many examples of what you can do instead of praising.

Also, I've found that it brought out some strong feelings about my own childhood and how my parents interacted with me - I don't want to make the same mistakes and hopefully reading this book will help me raise a confident son, who knows that he is always loved no matter what.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By trikolka on 10 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
I was given this book to read by a friend of mine who reads all parenting and birthing and other children related books, and I mean all of them, all she can lay her hands on :) This she recommended as an absolute must and now after reading it, I agree with her. Alfie Kohn tells not only about why punishment is wrong (even such punishment we do not call punishment, because we are those parents who do not punish their kids, right). He also tells, and more importantly in my opinion, why praise and rewarding in the classical way is equally bad for your child. Obviously he offers alternatives and also admits that pitfalls lay ahead of each parent, him including.

Read it. It is liberating.
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