parenting, conditional love

While walking with my daughter a complete stranger stopped me and started interesting conversation with me. Now, usually I don’t stop and have casual conversations with strangers, nor do I take advice that I didn’t ask for.  But this conversation seemed different.  So, I humored myself (and him) for the moment, and talked with him.  At the end of the conversation, he recommended that I read: Unconditional Parenting for a good reading guide.

Its funny because he didn’t say anything about the way I was parenting my daughter, besides all we were doing that day was walking and having a conversation (she was 3 at the time).  Pointing to the buildings, and looking at the colors.  Maybe that day I was open for a learning experience.

For the past couple of years, I have struggled with the idea of what kind of parent that I want to be, and what kind of parent that I am.  I admit that there are [many] times where there are power struggles between my daughter and me, but I do try to do my best to get down on her level and explain myself.  Never overbearing, but firm when letting her know that there is a line that we both do not cross.

When that didn’t work, there times that I have engaged in time-out it but didn’t feel right. So in turn, I’ve been trying my best to find a balance.

After getting through 4 chapters [so far], I don’t think I can sing this book enough praises. It is not a book that tells you what you’re doing wrong, but it goes into detail about what kind of results conditional parenting produces.

If you’re not sure what conditional parenting is, it is love with strings attached. I’ll go into more details in a later post.

While I thought this book would open my mind about my parenting style, it made me think about my childhood.  I started to think about how my parents’ parenting style made me feel, as well as any punishments I received. I had to think about what I felt at the time that I was going through the motions of being raised. It has opened up a lot of questions into my personality.

I am usually very quiet and a reserved person.  That is until you get to know me.  🙂  I was one really one to make too many waves. But how much of that is a result of my true personality or how much of that is due to the parenting style that my parents used?

It also made me focus on what my goals are for raising my daughter and what kind of feelings that I would like to generate when she thinks about her childhood.  Will she only remember the punishments and how it made her feel?  Would she think I did them out of love or just to exert my complete control over her?

This is something that I’m going to have to ponder on as I continue to read this book. But I will leave you with a quote:

“One reason that a heavy-handed, do-what-I-say approach tends to not work very well is that, in the final analysis, we really can’t control our kids–at least, not in the ways that matter. It’s very difficult to make a child eat this food rather than that one, or pee here rather than there, and it’s simply impossible to force a child to go to sleep. or stop crying, or listen , or respect us.”~~Alfie Kohn

I’ll be writing about more of this idea and others as I go through the book.

Originally published August 24, 2011. Minor edits completed on September 7, 2016

This post was added to the #WorthRevisit linkup hosted by Theology is a Verb, and Reconciled to You