SPOILED ROTTEN: Today's Children and How to Change Them by Fred G. Gosman

SPOILED ROTTEN: Today's Children and How to Change Them

Email this review


A father's sorry view of today's children and how to civilize them. Gosman, a former salesman of long-distance telephone service and the father of two ""slightly spoiled"" children, self-published this book a year ago. It received considerable positive media attention and sold a remarkable 13,000 copies, attracting agents and publishers. Gosman's thesis: that today's children, from tots to teenagers, are spoiled, selfish, materialistic, and willing to settle for mediocrity. His parent-to-parent advice: just say ""no"" and take away their toys--or privileges--until they shape up. It is simplistic bordering on cynical. Nearly half of Gosman's advice is devoted to what amounts to a catalogue of the tantalizing objects that undermine character, ranging from designer diapers to four-headed VCRs and vacations in the Caribbean, with TV bearing its usual share of the blame. The remainder deals with discipline and punishment, including chapters on what works (forewarning of the consequences of unacceptable behavior, consistent and speedy administration of the punishment) and what doesn't (empty threats). Some limp ""real life"" examples wrap it up. To his credit, Gosman does not advocate spanking, although he approves slaps on the hand in certain situations. It's hard to take seriously a book on discipline that puts toddler tantrums in the grocery store on a par with drunk driving and teenage sex, or to sympathize with a writer on families whose pre-publication handout describes kids as ""such little monsters.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Villard/Random House