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

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

by Alfie Kohn
     
 

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Somehow, deeply conservative assumptions about how children behave and how parents raise them have become the conventional wisdom in our society. It’s widely assumed that parents are both permissive and overprotective, unable to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. We’re told that young people receive trophies, praise, and A’s too easily,

Overview

Somehow, deeply conservative assumptions about how children behave and how parents raise them have become the conventional wisdom in our society. It’s widely assumed that parents are both permissive and overprotective, unable to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. We’re told that young people receive trophies, praise, and A’s too easily, and suffer from inflated self esteem and insufficient self-discipline. However, complaints about pushover parents and entitled kids are actually decades old and driven, it turns out, by ideology more than evidence.

With the same lively, contrarian style of Alfie Kohn’s bestselling books about rewards, competition, and traditional education, The Myth of the Spoiled Child systematically debunks the story that we hear with numbing regularity. Kohn uses humor, logic, and his familiarity with a vast range of social science data to challenge media-stoked fears of spoiling our children. He reveals that the major threat to healthy child development isn’t parents who are too indulgent but those who are too controlling.

Editorial Reviews

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.”

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781452669755
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
03/25/2014
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(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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