Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?"
-- and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need - and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.
One basic need all children have, Kohn argues, is to be loved
unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if
they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to
parenting such as punishments (including "time-outs"), rewards
(including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control
teach children that they are loved only when they please us
or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely
unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children
to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the
message children derive from common discipline techniques,
even though it's not the message most parents intend to send.
More than just another book about discipline, though, Unconditional
Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel
about, and act with their children. It invites them to question
their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering
a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from "doing
to" to "working with" parenting - including how to replace
praise with the unconditional support that children need to
grow into healthy, caring, responsible people. This is an
eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect
readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become