The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting

Overview


Parenting and education expert Alfie Kohn tackles the misconception that overparenting and overindulgence has produced a modern generation of entitled children incapable of making their way in the world.
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The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting

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Overview


Parenting and education expert Alfie Kohn tackles the misconception that overparenting and overindulgence has produced a modern generation of entitled children incapable of making their way in the world.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-19
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.
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, 4/1/14
“Kohn attacks the status quo on child-rearing and parenting…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…A thought-provoking, semicontroversial scrutiny of modern parenting practices.”

Spirituality & Practice, 7/31/14
“Kohn succeeds in convincing us to rethink the conventional wisdom about the spoiled child.”

San Francisco Book Review, 8/20/14
“Kohn explains why the belief that modern parents are too permissive (or too overprotective) and that kids are entitled, narcissistic monsters is wrong. He has the research to back it up and creates a convincing argument.”

Education Digest, September 2014
“[Kohn’s] book is an invitation to change our culture’s conversation about kids and the people who raise them.”

Metapsychology, 9/23/14
“All parents and children reading this attention riveting book will very likely be held in thrall by its intellectually absorbing contents…[which] will also very likely be enthralling, professionally, to educators, social scientists, and to mental health professionals.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738217246
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 339,977
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. He is the author of twelve books and hundreds of articles. Kohn has been described by Time Magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades and test scores." He spends much of his time speaking at education conferences, as well as to parent groups, school faculties, and researchers. Kohn lives in the Boston area. www.alfiekohn.org
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