Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Written by:
Alfie Kohn
Narrated by:
Alfie Kohn

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2016
8 hours 42 minutes
One basic need all children have, educator Alfie 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, 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.
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Marissa B.

Although the ideas of the book are really good, the absolutely condescending and judgy tone of the author are what causes to many people to think that respectful parenting is just for perfect people. The worst was his last chapter about how culture, race and economic status intersect in parenting styles. His recognition of his privilege unfortunately is not enough for him to grant the same empathy an compassion he advocates for children to parents who are carrying centuries of colonial trauma and who go about keeping their children safe in less than optimal ways. I still appreciate a lot of the research in the book and the content is really good if you can tolerate an arrogant white dude inescapable sense of moral superiority.

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