Along the same lines of Haim Ginott’s Between Parent and Child, Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting provides an updated version on the same concepts of consensual living while coining the term unconditional parenting. I’ve long been a fan and advocate of several of his books and his stance on parenting, although we disagree on education. I’ve recommended Unconditional Parenting to many parents. I’ve found that most parents who take the time to actually read the book agree with this line of thinking – living consensually with their children.
The problem with Unconditional Parenting is that many parents read the book, agree with the concepts, and yet have a hard time with the aftermath. The book is purely philosohpical without suggestions for practical applications. This is hard for many people who are left with the feeling that one parent expressed to me, “I completely agree with the concepts. I feel like I’ve been sucking as a parent. What do I do now?”
Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting is definitely worth the time to read, although it lacks some of the practical examples given by Ginott. I would go so far as to say it’s worth adding to your home library. Just be prepared for further reading along the lines of consensual living if you find yourself in the “I suck. What do I do now?” camp. Anyone who knows me knows that continued reading is something I advocate, anyway.
Unconditional Parenting is a good introduction to the philosophy behind consensual living. If you don’t have time to read the book, Kohn has a DVD titled the same. At around two hours, it’s a great start for parents with limited time or those with partners who aren’t inclined to read parenting books. Make a date with your partner to watch the DVD and change the way you think.