I understand the ignore method. My mother used to do it to my brother and me. I know sometimes I've wanted to use it, but I just can't. It's hard to ignore them when something's wrong. I mean, I can't imagine not being able to communicate with someone and them just ignoring me. In some ways I'm mad at my mom for ignoring me when I was young, but she did what she thought was best. She took a Positive Parenting course, and suggested I do the same, but I just can't justify ignoring a problem as a positive thing. I've always been told that working through problems is the way to go... so I can't provide anything less than that for my kids.
I think a lot of the self esteem issues and dependency issues I have now are from not getting the proper attention when I was young. I was expected to do my best without any help, and when I didn't "perform" to my parent's expectations, I was punished, not helped or understood. I guess that's the main reason I don't like the ignore method - it was done to me and I just could not do that to my kids.
Anyway, I'm "starting" to ramble! lol I should start a journal instead
Here's a bit about the "Unconditional Parenting" book I found online:
Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?" -- and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need - and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.
One basic need all children have, Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time-outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it's not the message most parents intend to send.
More than just another book about discipline, though, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from "doing to" to "working with" parenting - including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people. This is an eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become better parents.
I can understand your POV given what you've shared with your personal life. Do you think, though, that with what you remember at older stages are different than how parenting is at younger stages? I found that my parenting styles are very different based on the age and then the child (they're now 20 yrs old on down, ack!!!). I personally disagree with Kohn's theory that time-outs or positive reinforcements create kids who think they receive only conditional love if they receive these and must seek parental approval on all actions. The way that it's written appears that parents who do these are doing a grave injustice to their children.
Time outs are to rethink an action, a behavior, with a rule that was broken. Rules are created by parents to keep kids safe. They may not understand why the rules are established at such a young age, but they do know that they need listen to their parent. There is always a consequence with any action taken, be it positive or negative. If a child is breaking a rule, it would not be unreasonable to have that child think about that action (time out) before discussing it. How is this showing them that they're loved unconditionally only when they comply, especially when the discussion ends with hugs, kisses, and smiles? If a child complies with the rule, how is it enforcing that they're loved unconditionally only when they comply when the parent thanks them (positive reinforcement) for following the rule and how helpful they've been? I'm confused about how this would lower their self esteem and ability to cope with outside situations independently.
I also think there are times a child's tantrum warrants the behavior to be ignored while the tantrum is occurring. To continuously try to address the tantrum while it is in full swing usually only adds fuel to the fire. As long as they're in a safe environment while they are having their tantrum and there are no needs that haven't been met that the parent is aware of, I don't see how it's wrong to ignore the tantrum until the tantrum has ended, if anything needs to be addressed. Sometimes kids just don't know why they had a meltdown. I can understand the frustration when it's difficult to communicate effectively yet want to be independent. I still sometimes feel those moments. But yet, it's an opportunity for the child to make the connections of acceptable social behaviors. Children learn that the behavior does not get them what they wanted and attempt to learn what works better.
DD Twins: 8/4/09 @ 35 Wks - No NICU, woot!