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on September 23, 2007
This book is revolutionary in its approach to parenting. As is Gordon Neufeld's "Hold on to your kids". If you are finding that "time outs" and all the other advice you've gotten from people and books simply don't work, try this approach you will be amazed at how well it works. Only thing is you don't get recipes for discipline, but rather it teaches you to show love for your kids without rewards and/or punishments.

One thing that really struck a chord for me was when he says that there's no question that all parents love their kids, the only problem is that very few kids feel loved unconditionally. And if kids don't feel loved unconditionally they can't really thrive.
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on June 10, 2006
In struggling to deal with my strong-willed 4-year-old daughter, I kept upping the ante, usually by yelling louder and coming up with more creative consequences. There were lots of "successes" but her outbursts at home seemed more desperate. Something in my gut said this just isn't working -- like I was getting her compliance at the expense of her self-esteem. I read Unconditional Parenting and the subtle concerns I had were in this book. Besides providing the history of time-outs, the author provides insights on common North American parenting strategies (rewards, punishments, "say, 'I'm sorry, Billy'", "say, 'Thank you'", "Ooo, what a pretty picture"), then provides a common sense look at who kids really are and what's behind our current style. Here was the seed for how I could guide my daughter without trying to manipulate her, and keep my respect and love for her intact. And I was shocked as it inadvertently explained the origin of issues I'm facing as an adult and the parenting I received that coincide with these. My husband and I started using concepts in the book and were much happier with the results we got with our daughter -- not compliance, but solutions that we chose together, leaving her with a genuine smile, and a sense of peace for us. But this is not a "do this" book. It's common sense and inspirational, and our change in approach fell immediately out of it. So, after several weeks, I plan to re-read this book, be re-inspired, and see if we can stride further. I hope to see more from this author and more on this style of parenting. I think this is the start of the future of North American parenting, with the goal on teaching children how to make decisions, and parents being able to sleep nights with our integrity intact.
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on January 13, 2010
There may not be a manual for raising kids, but there ought to be some required reading. This is one of those rare books that comes along and makes you re-think everything you thought you knew about what it means to discipline your child. If you, like me, aren't aware of many options beyond what you've seen on Supernanny or what you yourself were subjected to as a kid, then you need to read this book.

Time-outs, rewards systems, even common statements like "no" come into question. Instead, we are asked to take the viewpoint of the child and encourage them to reflect on their actions in order to make better decisions next time. If I were a kid and I had the capacity, I would tell my parents to read this book before sending me to my room for another time-out.
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on August 19, 2014
I've read a few parenting books, and this one is by far my favourite. It's heavily research based, and has a very compassionate approach which I quite like. A lot of the advice goes against "common sense" (i.e. what you've seen other people do), and I would think that following this book's instructions would be really hard if you had overbearing in-laws.
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on December 12, 2014
If there was a series of books to read when a woman is pregnant for the first time, I wish this one would be on the list to read. Its a much more calm and reasonable way to raise children, than from the ego mind!
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on March 19, 2013
An extraordinary book with the power to permanently change how we deal with our kids and, equally important, how our kids deal with us.
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on February 22, 2012
I initially gave this book 5 stars and a glowing review, and I am still grateful for having read it. Kohn's stance against punitive consequences and fluffy, non-specific praise are valuable. However, over time I've found that we need more. Howard Glasser's work has proven much more workable in our home. Like Kohn, he is against punitive consequences. But he strongly advocates clear, specific praise that shows children how they are already succeeding, thereby tending the fires of their own greatness. He balances this with a very strong system of consequences that while mild, provide clear, consistent, and immediate feedback. He has had great success with even the toughest of behavioral issues, bringing many, many kids back from the verge of self-destruction. But he works with all kids and emphasizes that all kids flourish with this approach - it's just that the tough kids demand something different. Ross Greene's "Explosive Child" is also exceptional - and it's applicable to all kids (and perhaps all relationships).
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on July 12, 2013
Okay... credit where creit is due. Alphie Kohn makes a good point, but how he goes about it is bitter, haughty, acrid and condescending.

I have a very difficult time reading or listening to parents who hold themselves above others and deem themselves superior in their methods of doing things. I got the feeling reading this book that he was raised an angry, bitter, abused child who vowed never to make his parents mistakes, and dedicated his life to not only doing things differently than what he knew, but by aggressively denouncing anything that reflected his experience.

I was really fascinated by his points, found his arguments compelling... however, I believe strongly in moderation, and I do not believe that my child will be scarred for life and suffer "love withdrawl" because I chose to sit him on a chair for two minutes in a dreaded-god-forbid "time out"; nor do I believe that my child will turn into a reward driven narcissistic ego maniac if I say "Hey! Great job cleaning your room!"

No, I DON'T chase my kids around, squealing like a pig chanting "Good sharing! Good pooping! Good farting!", nor do I reign tyranical over their heads and expect seamless conformity to their every action.

Everything in moderation, including moderation. I think good parenting is a combination of support, encouragement, communication... and yes, god forbid, that means some degree of punishment and praise. I HAVE said "If you can't sit quietly and watch your movie, it's bed time" without feeling that I'm a horrible person using priveledge as leverage for good behaviour. Consequences for actions are very real in the world, and so is accountability for behaviour.

Although I find this book compelling, I find the extreme to which he takes it unrealistic and a little insulting to the intelligence.
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on May 14, 2011
l've been reading many parenting books recently. This book just seems to explain why we should raise kids with respect and unconditionally, but lacked examples of situations we all have with our kids and how to carry them out. l wanted more from the book in this respect, which l have found in other books for example: "Between Parent and Child" & "Playful Parenting"
This book is good though for those that are skeptical about why to raise kids without punishment. lt's very thorough in that respect.
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on December 24, 2008
The book has a good premise. I think it will be a starting place for parents who really want to change the way they parent. I don't think all the answers are here, but it will help open up to a more expanded perspective on parenting in a mindful way. It may not be as thorough or concrete as some parents would hope for.

Review is by Ramiel Nagel author of Healing Our Children: Because Your New Baby Matters! Sacred Wisdom for Preconception, Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting (ages 0-6) &Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition (First Edition).
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