Friday, November 10, 2006

I’ve been reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and it’s got me thinking. Mostly, it has shown me how much our parent’s parenting has affected our parenting. Parenting from the heart essentially means parenting the only way we know how- like our parents. I love my parents completely, just wanted to state that first, but this book has changed my thinking. I don’t want Abby to ever feel that our love for her is conditional. I see how rewards and punishments are part of the same wheel of destruction. Yet, I understand the ideal is to love unconditionally, but sometimes we have to get things done. At some point those shoes must go on and we have to get out the door. The point is after all the fuss is over, to not withhold our love. What does a punishment do besides make the person who is receiving the punishment angry and very upset? If we love our children so deeply, why do we withhold love from them? Kohn brings to light where the idea of “time-outs” originated. I didn’t know they came from the behaviorist scientists who used time outs on animals and monkeys. They assumed what worked for animals must work for humans. It’s all about control. How many times have we heard out in public, or even uttered it under our breath, “that parent better get control of that child!” I wonder, if the parent had a better relationship with the child one based on unconditional love and communication, would that child be acting out? Super Nanny seems like the worst kind of evildoer handing out “naughty chairs” to kids across the lands perpetuating the vicious cycle of rewards and punishments. The parents I see at the park constantly yelling no at their kids grates on me now. Kohn asks, “would we talk to another adult the way we talk to our kids?” Probably not. I could go on, but read the book. What an eye opener.

I notice a difference in Abby when I explain why I need her to do something as opposed to telling her to just do it. Take last night for example. Abby took Scott’s wallet off the dresser to play with and we were trying to get her to bed. Scott needed the wallet where he could find it in the morning and Abby needed to lay down. Instead of taking it from her and saying, I need this, I asked her if she could put it back on the dresser because Daddy needed it there so he could find it in the morning. Initially she said no, but after I asked her again, she thought about it and she put it back where she got it without fussing.

I had a dream the other night. It was one of those induced by PMS and the primary color is red. Although I never got my period for October and I’m still waiting for November’s. This is going to sound so cliché, but it was a weird one. I had Abby on my back in the Mei Tai and we were headed out to climb a mountain out in the boonies somewhere. Halfway up I come across an RV where my high school art teacher is hanging out. Only the RV once inside is huge almost like a mall totally decked out in red Arabian Nights decor. I say I have to wait here for a friend. He lets me sit, and I’m constantly worrying about Abby getting away or having to pee. The friend I was waiting for turns out to be a friend who stopped talking to me because she didn’t approve of the way I told her I got married. I was a bit surprised, but we hugged and went outside to finish climbing the mountain together. How bazaar. What could the mountain symbolize? I haven’t thought about this friend in years. The dream left me feeling slightly confused for most of the day.

We’re making White Bean Cassoulet tonight for dinner. Yumm. Maybe I’ll make cookies this weekend.

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