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Unconditional Parenting Workshop

There have been a few discussions and requests on parenting classes as well as some discussion on "discipline" styles, choices, and other issues. Alfie Kohn, the author of eleven books on education, parenting, and human behavior, is having a workshop in Portland on July 24th on "Unconditional Parenting." Here is a description of the event as well as information on how to register:

UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING: Beyond Bribes and Threats

Tuesday, July 24th 6:30 - 8:30pm

Holiday Inn Portland, NE 2nd Ave. Portland, OR 97232

Advice for raising children typically comes in two flavors: threats (known euphemistically as “consequences”) and bribes (”positive reinforcement”).  Rewards and punishments are two sides of the same coin, and unfortunately, neither can buy anything more than temporary obedience.

This presentation, by the author of UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING, will show why carrots and sticks are not only ineffective but actually counterproductive over the long haul. To raise children who are good learners and good people requires us to abandon strategies that do things to kids, in favor of an approach in which we work with them. And underlying those “working with” strategies is the message that children do not have to earn our approval, that we love them not for what they do but just for who they are.

Cost is $5 per person. Space is limited, go to pdxparentingsupport.com for reservations.

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Thanks for posting this - can't wait to see Alfie Kohn!

Alfie Kohn is brilliant! I heard him speak at a teachers' union conference a few years back on the topic of the evils of standardized testing. He's a visionary radical with lots of real-life experience to back up his theories.

I am not sure I agree with the above comment (sorry)...his views on teaching and education in general come with very little actual "teaching experience" (3-4 years in the classroom, I believe). Although, I am NOT a proponent of standardized testing at all, I would carefully sift through what he has to say in terms of education/parenting and apply what's useful for you and your family, if it works for you...as always. :)

Alfie has done a TON of research over the past 20 years on education, parenting, and human behavior and relationships. He is the author of 11 books and is very respected in the education and parenting fields. If you need someone with a lot of actual teaching experience to help you understand more about education, perhaps you'd enjoy the work by John Taylor Gatto? He was a long-time educator, and was named NYC Teacher of The Year many times (he quit teaching in 1991, claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children). Beware, he is radical, here's his site: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/index.htm

I am really excited that Alfie will be speaking here in Portland, and the tickets are almost sold out (we've had to get a bigger room to accomodate the interest, and we already have 300 people signed up after two days of forwarded emails!), but the one thing he doesn't address so much is setting limits repectfully, which I think is a skill that many parents need. People misunderstand Unconditional Parenting for Permissive Parenting, and I think what makes the difference is knowing how to set limits, and then hear the child's feelings about those limits, and stick with the limits, all in a respectful way that does not involve punishments, bribes, threats, etc. We DO address those things in our parenting class, however - Connected Parenting, at Zenana Spa and Wellness Center - the next 2-part class will be this September.

if anyone's still needing tickets to this event, i have two that i would be more than happy to sell. contact me if you're interested:

stratorsgirl at gmail dot com

Jen, Gael and I went to this workshop last night. It was very engaging and thought-provoking presentation and, honestly, I don't think I can effectively summarize it so I'm not going to try. However I did buy a copy of the book last night.

There are a couple of things not directly related to the presentation content that I do want to mention.

First of all, it was great seeing so many fathers at the event. Portland Papas Rock!

More importantly, I want to thank Emily Troper for volunteering her time, energy and resources to offer us this opportunity to hear Mr. Kohn. Emily, YOU rock!

John and I were there too, and left totally humbled and inspired. Happy to see so many folks we know. I have seen Alfie speak before, so I had a feeling this would be good, but REALLY- I should have dragged every parent I know along with me. It was amazing, and funny. Thank god for the funny or I would have been crying. I bought the book, and can't wait to follow up with others who are attempting to explore this lesser known territory in parenting that lies somewhere between the punative and the permissive...and boy are we going to need the help.

Hi there,

I just wanted to chime in and say that, yes, alfie was awesome, and emily DOES rock!

and the day after the alfie lecture, the "connected parenting workshop" that emily and I co-teach, completely filled for september! so, we have recently added new dates, in november, and i wanted to let everyone here know, since there have been requests for parenting class info in the past. i hope this is appropriate for this forum. here is the class info:

Connected Parenting Workshop

2 part class - held on consecutive Wednesday mornings: THE SEPTEMBER WORKSHOP IS FULL.

NEXT WORKSHOP: November 7th and 14th.
10 AM - 12:30 PM

This workshop is focused on the primacy of connection in parenting children of all ages and on parenting without punishments or rewards. Look deeply past difficult behaviors to discover the underlying needs of our children (and ourselves), and begin to use concrete tools to respond effectively to parenting challenges. Incorporates concepts from the work of Alfie Kohn, Lawrence J. Cohen, Dr. Gordon Nuefeld, and Mary Sheedy Kurchinka as well as the professional and personal experience of Lyla and Emily.

Cost: $49 per person, $79 per couple for both days combined - SLIDING SCALE AVAILABLE - for sliding scale, contact [email protected]

Registration fee includes the option to participate in an online email group for continued support for connected parenting. Participants also go home with the class syllabus, which includes many valuable articles and resources for continued enrichment (or sharing with partners) at home.

To register: Reserve your space - register now! Call (503) 754-2718 to register or email [email protected] with questions.

Limited childcare available, with advance registration: $15 per child per day. Childcare fills quickly, register now to hold your place!

Cancellation policy: 2 weeks for full refund, otherwise registration fees can be applied to subsequent workshop.

Facilitated by:
Lyla Wolfenstein, B.S., IBCLC, RLC
Parent Educator, Lactation Consultant and Mother of 2 and
Emily Troper, ECE
Early Childhood Educator and Mother of 4

"Connected Parenting with Lyla and Emily is phenomenal. We just did that workshop last weekend and while we came away feeling a little concerned about our current parenting, we also got motivated, energized, supported and became far more positive in our approach with our 3 year old. We immediately saw some results.

I would love for them to start an ongoing class like that with new material, that includes some reinforcing of the great info we got at the first one." - Lisa

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