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Publisher's Summary

One basic need all children have, educator Alfie Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful and largely unknown research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it's not the message most parents intend to send.

More than just another book about discipline, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from "doing to" to "working with" parenting - including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people.

©2005 Alfie Kohn (P)2016 Tantor

What members say

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  • Heather
  • PLEASANT GROVE, UT, United States
  • 08-18-16

Best parenting book I've read!

Funny, practical, filled with anecdotes and puns between research and a lot of reality checks. It just makes scary sense. I wish the whole world could get this as a required course for having kids and getting into a relationship. The world would be a better place. No scripts for when child said A you say B, but an entire paradigm shift about what you really want your child to become and whether your immediate B will even get you there. This is a total wakeup call, even if you think you're on the right track. We parents can always learn a little more and do a little better so our kids end up stronger, more empathetic as well as independent and healthy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Eye opening, great audio.

Really enjoyed this book. Lots of studies quoted. A must read for those of us living in the west

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Pretty solid stuff here

I enjoyed it. I already had an idea as to what works for my 7 year old, but this confirms it even more. Writer isn't boring with his voice and really gives you some Ah Ha moments. Love that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book!

I have read tons of parenting books and this is the only one that really seems to have the best interest of the child in mind. I am more of an authoritarian parent and it has really opened up my eyes on how punishments and rewards are perceived by my children. This book has finally explained to me in a way that I can understand why not every wrong doing should have a consequence. My children are happier and so am I.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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essential reading for parents

Wonderfully written and passionately narrated, hopefully will help make the world a better place.
Rigorous and scientifically based, but also funny, I enjoyed it from start to end. Thank you, Alfie!

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Life changing must read

This book has transformed my view on parenting and has not only improved my relationship with my son but with all relationships in my life .

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One of the best parenting books

I have read a lot of parenting books but if I would have to pick my favorite, it would be this one. If more people would read it, our next generation would be so much better off. I can only highly recommend this book to anybody.

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show our children respect... with love only

It's never too late to implement LOVE only... my son is 8 and I'm thrilled at the ability to focus on the relationship I see us having.in the future as well to remember what I wished adults new when I was a child... taking these perspectives will support love only parenting!!!

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This book changed my whole perspective on life!

I am so grateful for this book. It has changed me from the inside out. It is sophisticated yet effortless because it just makes sense. I want to print these ideas into my everyday life, i want to live and breathe them and hopefully it will make me a happier person as well as those around me, specially my closest family - husband and 4 kids-, but also my extended family.

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Profound lesson

I am all about conscious ways of thinking and helping the further generation grow into the most compassionate, wise, independent thinking people they can be. I believe this idea of using unconditional love as the basis of how we parent our kids, can set a new horizon for the future generation.
There are many lessons explained in this book, that are so well lay out that it's easy to see the reasons that punishment and rewards, etc. are not the most constructive ways to get our kids to comply or become humans who genuinely care about the way they make other people feel.
I am so glad this book came into my life and I feel lucky to now have the wisdom to help my son to thrive in his growth.
Passion and motivation to accomplish something because it feels good, should be what we are cultivating in our children, and should be their reason for doing things in life.

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  • pepperstree
  • 02-22-17

must read

In the multitude of trends and advice on disciplining practices this book is a breath of fresh air, concentrating on principles of education. When you love your child this way is a no brainier as it does not require that you be mean or manipulative. The only but is that it is really hard work as it requires sooo much patience and often time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • sarah
  • 04-15-17

This book has been thought provoking and a revelation.

This audio has been so thought provoking I felt I needed to leave a review (the first I've ever written).

This audio has challenged the way I have been interacting with my child on every level. It's made me stop and think and treat my 5 year old with respect and as little human being in his own right with his own thoughts and feelings.

I'd fallen into the trap of do this, do that, do as I say and then getting cross with him when he didn't, leaving me struggling to get him to comply.

The best words of advice from this audio... talk less, listen more!

We now discuss things, work out solutions together. Explain why we are doing things or not to do things. I'm teaching my son empathy, problem solving, negotiating skills instead of teaching him to just follow rules!

We've a long way to go but Ina few short weeks we're connecting more, have less tears, life is easier and more fun!

Although a little slow to get going, do bare with it because the tools you will take away will be invaluable.

Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Megan
  • 09-08-17

Thought provoking and uplifting

If you open your mind to the worldview of Alfie Kohn presented in this book then it will change your life! Or it has for me. Rather than suggesting a parenting methodology, this book presents a parenting philosophy. It will certainly be difficult to change my actions in accordance with my new beliefs about human cognition and behaviour, but I'm excited to try!

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  • C. E. Scurr
  • 06-22-17

Refreshing

This book strongly affirms many of the principles of 'No Drama Discipline'. The approach of non judgement has definitely had a significant positive impact in our small family.

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  • Alan Pitcaithley
  • 05-12-17

A bit on the extreme side

The fact that the author's solution to his daughter not getting ready for school on time in the morning is to allow her to sleep in her school clothes should tell you al lot about his 'ideas' on parenting. He also seems to refer a lot to research carried out decades ago.

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  • Dr Jesse J Harvey
  • 01-22-17

every parent should read this

got through this very easily, great book, easy to listen to, changed the way I view my parenting and my parents

1 of 1 people found this review helpful