Saturday, 21 April 2012

Unconditional Parenting

 kitchen window

"Humiliation, like other forms of punishment, is counterproductive. 

 "Doing to" strategies -- as opposed to those that might be described as "working with" -- can never achieve any result beyond temporary compliance, and it does so at a disturbing cost." 

That cost, he says, is that the lessons learned by children are not the ones that the parent intended. What harshly disciplined kids absorb, he warns is "

(1) my parent isn't a caring ally whom I can trust but an enforcer I should try to avoid,

 (2) when you have a problem with what someone else has done, you should just use power to make the other person do what you want, and 

(3) the reason not to steal (or lie or hurt people) isn't because of how it affects others but because of the consequence you, yourself, will face if you're caught.  

 No wonder so many adults who do terrible things were humiliated, or spanked, or otherwise punished -- often harshly -- when they were young."

~ Alfie Kohn, author of Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason


  1. I couldn't agree with you more, Suzy. In my job at a university, I am constantly shocked at examples of "teaching by humiliation" that go on. Not in every quarter, of course, but a lot more than you'd think in this day and age. I just pray that we can wake up to so many unquestioned assumptions, and to the real effects of (in my opinion) completely wonky values in our society. I think it is happening, but slowly.

  2. "There has to be a better way" I so agree. Everything seems to be aggressive. I have only recently found your blog. I have found it so restful. It feeds my soul. Thank you so much for such gentleness and love in all you write and live. But as to a better way we can only start with us. I am intrigued as to where you are because most of the blogs I follow originate in the USA but you have a UK end to your address and that is quite unusual. I looked at the children's spiritual part of your blog and you may well find that I have made the sacrifice beads for a prayer group I do with elderly people. Today has been a hard day for me and your blog has balanced me again. May you be blessed as you are a blessing.

  3. Welcome Patricia :)
    Thank you for your kind words. I am humbled by them and blessed by them :)

    1. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I just try to write what I hear from God really.


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