August 8, 2008
During their pregnancies, parents-to-be may read a lot of books on pregnancy, delivery, and child-rearing. But when the reality of dealing with newborn babies begins, even they may not be fully prepared for actual parenting. Naturally, every parent must be hoping to provide the best for his or her children. In his Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn (2005) discusses the following point. The most important thing is unconditional love of children, without the tools of conditional parenting such as abuse of authority, love withdrawal, excessive control, punishment, and rewards. He also states that with unconditional parenting, the children will in turn become parents who would love their own children unconditionally. On Amazon.com, Kohn’s book receives many excellent reviews, such as “eye-opener,” “amazing,” “best parenting book,” and “changed my life.” However, there also are negative reviews such as “unrealistic,” “impractical,” and “lacks the specifics.” While many parents seem able to understand and appreciate Kohn’s message, the same message is not understood and/or appreciated by others. Some parents seem to be very resistant to Kohn’s ideas without being able to say why, even when they agree that unconditional parenting sounds ideal. In his book, Kohn actually anticipates such resistance and writes that parents may be resistive based on their experience, thoughts/beliefs, and/or feelings (including fear). For example, Kohn writes, “if you haven’t experienced empathic parenting, it’s hard for you to become such a parent yourself.[p. 107]” Empathy is an essential component of unconditional parenting. Thus, this suggests that there are people who may have an inherent problem with unconditional/empathic parenting.
Note: The rest of the document can be read at https://archive.org/details/Komagata08UnconditionalSecure and is also available in the PDF format: https://archive.org/download/Komagata08UnconditionalSecure/Komagata+08-UnconditionalSecure.pdf