Unconditional parenting

I really enjoyed this book by Alfie Kohn. It's pretty easy to read and he offers convincing arguments to show that much of what we think is good parenting is actually just techniques for control. Once you're convinced, he then gives real help for changing the way you parent.

One of his big arguments is that our main question should not be "how do I get my child to do what I say?" but "what does my child need -- and how can I meet those needs?"

He says: To focus on children's needs and to work with them to make sure their needs are met, constitutes a commitment to taking children seriously. It means treating them as people whose feelings and desires and questions matter. A child's preferences cannot always be accommodated, but they can always be considered and they need never be dismissed out of hand. It's important to see a child as someone with a unique point of view, with very real fears and concerns and with a distinctive way of reasoning.

He gives 13 principles to help do things differently.

1. Be reflective.
2. Reconsider your requests.
3. Keep your eye on your long-term goals.
4. Put the relationship first.
5. Change how you see, not just how you act.
6. RESPECT
7. Be authentic.
8. Talk less, ask more
9. Keep the ages in mind.
10. Attribute to children the best possible motives consistent with the facts.
11. Don't stick your no's in unnecessarily.
12. Don't be rigid.
13. Don't be in a hurry.