THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD by Alfie Kohn

THE MYTH OF THE SPOILED CHILD

Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kohn (Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling, 2011, etc.) attacks the status quo on child-rearing and parenting.

Nearly every generation, from Socrates to today, has been convinced that its children are being raised by parents who are too permissive. But as the author expertly analyzes, the definition of "permissiveness" has shifted as society has evolved: "It doesn't signify humane treatment or a willingness to nurse infants when they're hungry; it means coddling kids in a way that's unhealthy by definition." However, as Kohn also points out, there are many who believe children are being raised by overly protective parents who stifle children's natural curiosity and sense of learning. Via research and interviews, Kohn closely examines the current media-backed perceptions of permissive and controlling parenting and contrasts them with actual data, deflating popular beliefs that children are now more spoiled and unruly than ever. He delves into sports and education and inspects the pros and cons of encouraging children via rewards, trophies, honors and grading systems, concluding that "what matters isn't how motivated people are but how people are motivated." Adults and children often lose themselves in projects and endeavors they love due to the joy they bring, not the money, trophies or rewards they afford them. Kohn points out that the child who doesn't complacently follow orders in school might actually be the person who succeeds later in life, as that child has maintained a sense of self and of curiosity and not blindly given over all control to others. Kohn intelligently rationalizes how trusting one's child and supporting him or her with love and nonpunitive guidance builds a sense of safety, allowing the child to venture forth and make cooperative and respectful decisions.

A thought-provoking, semicontroversial scrutiny of modern parenting practices.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7382-1724-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2014




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