Thoughtful parenting — (videos galore)

If you have been reading me for awhile, you would know I have been looking into my own parenting approach and that of others to try and figure out what is it that makes sense to me. A lot of the tactics, tricks and ways we use to parent are just habits ingrained in us from society and our own parents. We dont chose them.

I am trying to chose mine. I am trying to be thoughtful about it.

Its somewhat hard. The more I think about it and dig around, the more I realize how much unsavory automatic responses I have. Still, I think I have managed to escape a lot of the things I didnt like from my own mother’s artillery of pedagogy. She is never wrong. She is great – always. Things that happen to me always have a greater effect on her and I am always reminded of that. Most recently, when I chopped off the nerve in my finger, I had to not only listen to how this is so upsetting to her, but try to console her. It was MY finger that got mangled. It was ME who had surgery. Something is wrong with this picture.  Generally we have butted heads a lot, mostly because my life is unsatisfactory for her. Yet, she has always verbalized to me how I can tell her anything. Dont we all say that? But when our actions and responses to honesty are judgment, annoyance and lectures should we be  surprised that the line of communication will dry out? I think not.

So, I think I have escaped the big holes, but I still have a way to go to improve and become the parent I wish to be. Recently I read a book and watched a lecture that have been wonderfully thought provoking and spoke to me. Really gave me lots to ponder and look at this from a few different angles.

The lecture was from Alfie Kohn. The DVD is called “Unconditional Parenting” and he also has a book with this title. The basic gist of it is that we want too much control over our children. More control than reasonably expected. This over controlling and disrespectful parenting makes for some meek or aggressive self centered children.

Start with this video, unfortunately its no available for embedding – Youtube video

Punishment/Time out as a way of controlling children’ behavior:

Positive reinforcement is a different form of control. It simply tries to control with dangling carrots.

The DVD is wonderful and we watched it in one go, even though I thought we might spread it over a few nights – its 2 hours.


The book was “Raising our children, raising ourselves” by Naomi Aldort. It is less approachable than Alfie’s work. I would say a lot of the examples she gives are too simplified and unbelievable, but as a whole it was a good start for some interesting discussions with Mr.Blab. We both found it useful as a way to expose our own short comings.

Here are two of her videos and a few possible solutions and approaches. The first one is wonderful and an easy step to start from:

I will leave you with a point that Alfie Kohn made in the lecture that was so simple and clear it will stay with me forever, I hope. It went something like this:

We want our children to grow up to be

happy / confident / capable / independent / successful / [insert your hopes].

Now think of the way we deal with them when we are rushing out the door in the morning, or trying to get them to do something, or when they make a mistake or have an accident. Do we treat them in a way that ensures and nurtures them to become the above mentioned people?

He said it better, so do get his DVD if any of this speaks to you. I highly recommend it.