This term makes it sound like parents should just disown their kids. However, unparenting actually means turning off the auto-parent button -- the one that makes you lecture and issue mandates. For a better outcome, deprogram yourself and guide from the side, advises the movement's leader, professional coach Nathalie Tucker Miller. Too often parents get caught up in the drama of their children's choices, argues Tucker Miller: They respond angrily or with judgment and prohibition, which usually backfires.
Through unparenting, parents learn to be objective, learning to "abandon assumptions and listen cleanly" to their children, writes Tucker Miller on her Web site, UnParenting.com. Of course, this approach is not popular with the tough-love parenting camp, with its position that youngsters are too immature to make good decisions.