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Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason Paperback – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 1st Atria Books Trade Pbk. Ed edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743487486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743487481
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,483 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).


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I have sometimes derived comfort from the idea that, despite all the mistakes I've made (and will continue to make) as a parent, my children will turn out just fine for the simple reason that I really love them. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 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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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer 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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46 of 50 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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6 of 6 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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14 of 15 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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5 of 5 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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ms. J. C. Avery on 25 Jun 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been on a bit of a roller coaster since reading this book. and have managed to bring my opinion round in a full circle!
I was at a bit of a loss as to how to deal with my 3 year olds daily acts of defiance and felt a bit lacking in control. Up until quite recently, we actually hadn't needed an awful lot of "discipline" so to speak, our daughter has been fairly amenable and laid back. But NOT NOW!
So i got this book on suggestion from a forum, and at first i wanted to throw it straight in the bin! It seemed pretty irritating in its idealised view of parenting and i wasn't really agreeing with it. BUT then i read a bit more and it really started to open my eyes as to just how punishment can (perhaps) be perceived by the child....it sprung up loads of questions for me as to whether harsh punishments actually work in TEACHING a child a moral lesson or what is deemed "acceptable behaviour"

The part about rewards i totally agree with, as to say to a child "if your are really well behaved, we will get you an ice cream!" i just think this encourages the wrong kind of self motivation and makes the child think of selfish gains he can get by "behaving" in a certain way. Id rather just treat my girl to something every now and again just because i love her and its a nice thing to do.

The general concept of this approach, is that punishment and consequences are not affective in teaching a child how to BE a nice/compassionate/caring/sharing person. The alternative generally, is to talk to your child, explaining just why its bad to hit (for example) but not to punish them as this could lead to a child feeling that they are not "acceptable" when they are behaving in a negative way.
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