“In short, with each of the thousand-and-one problems that present themselves in family life, our choice is between controlling and teaching, between creating an atmosphere of distrust and one of trust, between setting an example of power and helping children to learn responsibility, between quick-fix parenting and the kind that’s focused on long-term goals.”
—-Alfie Kohn, in Unconditional Parenting
Some of Kohn's ideas on how to shift focus as parents (number #2 is a theme that keeps popping up in my life, maybe God is trying to get through to me!):
- Reconsider your requests.
- Put the relationship first.
- Understand the child’s perspective.
- Be authentic.
- Talk less, ask more.
- Attribute to children the best possible motives consistent with the facts. (a quote from Nel Noddin)
- Try to say “yes” when you can.
- Don’t be rigid.
- Give kids more say about the stuff that matters (and even the stuff that doesn’t).
- Love them unconditionally (and I would add, in a way that makes the child feel loved, The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell is an enlightening read).