By Alfie Kohn
Lifelong Books, $25.99, 280 pages
Breathe a sigh of relief, parents – we’re not screwing up our kids! In The Myth of the Spoiled Child, Alfie Kohn dispels the notion that we’re raising our kids “wrong.” He dismisses common labels and generalizations about so-called spoiled children, and notes that every generation complains about how parents are bringing up the next one. Kohn favors collaboration rather than the control of “helicopter parenting,” and demonstrates the issues that can arise from overpraising or overprotecting children. The role of the parent, according to Kohn, is to let kids make decisions and be there to provide constructive guidance, and he advocates problem-solving techniques rather than punishment to deal with misbehavior.
Kohn’s well-researched book rejects contemporary misconceptions about lazy, entitled, narcissistic kids and presents a wealth of data to support his claims. He challenges the idea that we need to criticize children rather than powerful adult institutions, and suggests that raising thoughtful, reflective rebels will benefit society. This is not a how-to parenting book, but will certainly provide insight into raising good world citizens.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff