Much of traditional parenting relies on imposing conditions: If you pick up that toy, you get a piece of candy. If you don't listen, you get a time out. If you keep pushing your brother, you're going straight to your room.
Alfie Kohn, author of "Unconditional Parenting" and other books, sees problems with this conditional style. And some psychologists agree.
His concern: It sends a message that parents only love their children when they behave in certain ways.
"Manipulating children's behavior -- by means of time-outs, contrived praise, privileges offered and privileges taken away -- can never help them to reflect on the kind of people they want to be," Kohn states on his Web site. "Instead of encouraging kids to take responsibility for their actions, it makes them dependent on rewards and punishments. Rather than promoting generosity and compassion, it leads them to focus on the consequence to themselves of pleasing the adult."