Saturday, July 17, 2010

Alfie Kohn Takes On the Myth of the Spoiled Child

I love Alfie Kohn

I love that he sees kids in a positive light.

I love that he is passionately outspoken abut his belief that parenting should never be treated as a battle, and children should never be treated as opponents.  

I love that he thinks homework in American schools is way out of control and that standardized testing is unnecessary and unhelpful. 

I love that he writes like he would probably talk. 

I love that he gets the way I want to parent, and that his books are there to help me and force me to think critically along the way. 

And now I love him for taking on the mainstream media. 

In a July 18 article for the Washington Post, Kohn counters all the bloggers and magazine and newspaper columnists who churn out story after story about how kids today are spoiled and parents have gone soft and lost control.  Usually, the main point of one of these articles is that parents today coddle children and don't set enough limits or provide enough discipline.  Often, there's a bit of nostalgia thrown in for good measure -- you know, a nice "back in the day when kids were kids and grown-ups were grown-ups and everybody knew their place" sentiment. 

It makes for good media, because it usually provokes a reaction.  Which is the entire point of media these days, right?  Get a reaction, get good numbers, get good advertising, get good money . . .

Digression, I know.  Back to my point.

In his typical succinct, easy-to-follow style, Kohn blows this stale argument about spoiled kids to bits.  He points to the fact that this argument has been around for over a century, and that it is not likely that the current generation is any worse than any of the previous ones. 

In his opinion, there is neither science nor logic to back up the claim that we're spoiling our kids.

In my opinion, his opinion is one worth listening to.

No comments: