Download the Athena app to access our expertly crafted "Unconditional Parenting" insight in text and audiobook formats.

Unconditional Parenting summary - available in audiobook and text formats 13m

Unconditional Parenting

Alfie Kohn

Raising obedient children shouldn’t be the end-goal — but rather raising kids to become compassionate, self-confident people capable of making good decisions.



CONTINUE

The Bottom Line

Raising obedient children shouldn’t be the end-goal — but rather raising kids to become compassionate, self-confident people capable of making good decisions.

I. Introduction

There are two types of parental love: conditional and unconditional. Parents who practice conditional love offer and withdraw love based on how they feel about a child’s recent actions. If a child behaves at a family outing, performs well in school or follows a set of instructions perfectly, this type of parent shows their love by giving attention, praise or rewards. If a child throws a tantrum, he might be ignored or punished. Essentially, the parent’s love becomes a privilege that a child must earn. 

Parents who practice unconditional love, on the other hand, express love regardless of their child’s recent behavior. For example, this parent may respond to a child’s tantrum with reassuring hugs and by offering to spend quality time together as soon as the child is calm — followed by gentle reflection on what happened to cause the upset. These parents have typically made a conscious decision to love their children for who they are, not for what they do.

Kohn is clear that giving a child unconditional love doesn’t equate to letting that child do whatever they want; it simply means that you, as the parent, help your child reflect on negative behaviors without withdrawing your love.

II. Children Don’t Behave Badly Just for Kicks

III. The Perils of Praise and Rewards

IV. Punishment Makes Things Worse

V. Teach Kids, Don’t Control Them

VI. Lead By Example

The Takeaway

COMPLETE INSIGHT

Download the Athena app to access our expertly crafted "Unconditional Parenting" insight in text and audiobook formats.


Also in the 'Preschool and Beyond' Collection