And Another Thing…

I’ve received a lot of emails about the TODAY Moms article I wrote about not punishing T, many of them asking for more resources. I wanted to turn you on to the two places from which I crib most of my parenting ideas.

Alfie Kohn is amazing. I particularly love his book Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.

If you’re in Los Angeles, I also encourage you to check out The Echo Center (formerly the Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting). Scott and I have learned so much there and continue to go for classes and support.

I also really appreciate those of you who disagree with me and are engaging in a respectful dialogue about it.

Also- I just wanted to demonstrate with this photograph that as a result of our nonviolent communication, our son has absolutely no sassy attitude at all. Um, right.

The Big Lie



I’ve been absent due to a week-long unintentional Amish-type retreat. My computer and my car were both vandalized- the computer by my monster toddler and the car by some jerkwad in the Petco parking lot. This happened while Scott was on tour and all of my babysitters got the flu at the same time. It sort of felt like God saying, “Chill the heck out and spend some time with your kid.” So that’s what I did. But now I’m back with a question…

Do you perpetuate the Big Lie? Do you participate in the world’s oldest ploy to manipulate children into good behavior?

And by that I mean, of course, Santa. Now, I didn’t grow up believing in Santa, so I never had the traumatic revelation of the fallacy of that belief. You’d think that my Christian husband would weigh in more heavily on this decision, but he keeps throwing the ball back in my court. I’ve done an informal poll of my friends and it seems that all but the most devout (from a couple of different camps) perpetuate the lie.

I guess in the end it was my love of stories and magic that tipped the scale. So I have arrived at a yes. Yes, we’re perpetuating the Big Lie. But then another question arises- how do you tell the story? When the mall Santa asked T if he had been a good boy, T looked at him like, “huh?” Because we don’t use language like that. We don’t classify him as “good” or “bad,” “naughty” or “nice.” We prefer the Nonviolent Parenting model of looking at T’s behavior as a system of needs and strategies.

Although lately I’ve been tempted to start in with the threat/bribe aspect of the Santa story because T has been so, well, so BAD. And I was hardly successful in employing my nonviolent paradigm when T darted into the middle of an intersection as the light changed. I employed the Mommy Dearest paradigm that day. But I digress.

In spite of my temptation to lord that mythic piece of coal over T’s head, we’re eschewing the naughty/nice concept and focusing instead on the sled/reindeer/fat guy in a red suit stuff. So far, T is just concerned that the dogs are going to bark at Santa and scare him.

How about you? How do you tell the story?