Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 7.
“Very specific suggestions, (“When your child says x, you should stand at location y and use z tone of voice to utter the following sentence…”) are disrespectful to parents and kids alike. Raising children is not like assembling a home theater system or preparing a casserole, such that you need only follow an expert’s instructions to the letter. No one-size fits all formula can possibly work for every family, nor can it anticipate an infinite number of situations.”
“It’s harder to make sure children feel loved unconditinoally than it is to just love them.”
“It’s harder to respond to them in all their complexity than it is to focus just on their behaviors. It’s harder to try to solve problems with them, to give them reasons for doing the right thing (let alone help them formulate their own reasons), than it is to control them with carrots and sticks. “Working with” asks more of us than does “doing to.”
Unconditional Parenting Guiding Principles:
1. BE REFLECTIVE
As Piet Hein, the Danish poet and scientist, put it “The errors hardest to condone in other people are one’s one.” In short: Be honest with yourself about your motives, Don’t stop being troubled by things you do that really are troubling. And be alert for signs that the way you interact with your children may have drifted toward a controlling style without you even being aware of it.”
2. RECONSIDER YOUR REQUETS
“Here’s a very unsettling possibility: Perhaps when your child doesn’t do what you’re demanding, the problem isn’t with the child but with what it is you’re demanding.”
3. KEEP YOUR EYE ON YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS.
“The good news is that when parents do manage to keep their broader objectives in view-indeed, when they focus on anything more ambitious than just getting their kids to obey right this instant-they tend to use better parenting skills and they get better results.”
4. PUT THE RELATIONSHIP FIRST
“Being right isn’t necessarily what matters. In fact, it matters very little lif your children stiffen when you walk into a room.”
5. CHANGE HOW YOU SEE, NOT JUST HOW YOU ACT
“Moreover, to see children’s behavior as a teachable moment invites us to include them in the process of solving the problem, which is more likely to be effective.”
“Even parents who obviously love their children don’t always act as though they respect them. Some sound snide or sacrcastic. They write off their kid’s requests, dismiss their feelings of anger, or trivialize their fears. They interrupt their kids in a way they wouldn’t dream of doing to another adult, yet they become incensed when their kids interrupt them. And they may also talk abou their children in a belittling way” “Oh, she’s just being a prima donna.” or “Just ignore her when she acts like that.”
7. BE AUTHENTIC
“I don’t mean that we should disclose all the intimate details of our lives to our children. Some things we don’t tell them until they’re old enough, and some things we’ll never tell them. But there’s a dimension of genuineness that’s missing in the way that some parents act with their kids, and that absense can be keenly felt even if the children can’t quite identify what’s lacking in, or not quite right about, the relationship”
“My advice is to make a point of apologizing to your child about something at least twice a month. There are two reasons to apologize. It sets a powerful example. It makes no sense to force children to say their sorry when they are not. A far more effective way to introduce them to the idea of apologizing is to show them how it’s done.”
8. TALK LESS, ASK MORE
“Maybe we were so busy trying to get them to see our point of view that we didn’t really hear theirs. To be a great parent is more a fucntion of listening than explaining.”
“Our job is to create a sense of safety, to listen without judgment, to make sure they know they won’t get into trouble for telling us what they’ve done or be condemned for what they feel.”
9. KEEP THEIR AGES IN MIND
“For example, when a baby starts to cry because you removed an inappropriate item she was playing with, it’s fine to distract her with a new game or toy. But distraction is ineffective and even insulting when applied to an older child, just as it would be if you complained about something that was bothering you only to have your spouse try to change the subject.”
10.ATTRIBUTE TO CHILDREN THE BEST POSSIBLE MOTIVE CONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.
“We usually don’t know for sure why a child actedthe way he did.” And our beliefs about those reasons can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
11. DON’T STICK YOUR NO’S IN UNNECESSARILY
” When you come right down to it, the whole process of raising a kid is pretty damned inconvenient, particularly if you want to do it well. If you’re unwilling to give up any of your free time, if you want your house to stay quiet and clean, you might consider raising tropical fish instead.”
“People don’t get better at coping with unhappiness because they were deliberately made to unhappy when they were young.”
12. DON’T BE RIGID
“A foolish consistency is the hallmark of ineffective parenting.”
I think this is such a powerful list!
When I read this list, I think it can be applied to our relationships with our spouses, our friends and our family. Our relationship with our children is no different.
When I read this list and think of how I parent, I think, no problem, this is so easy! I can easily treat Penelope with respect and be self reflective in my parenting style. But when I read this list and think of my relationship with my husband, I think, there is a lot we could both implement to better our relationship.
What do you think about this list?