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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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.

©2014 Alfie Kohn (P)2014 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good info, too wordy

author has good stuff to share, however much could be summarized. he has a tendency to drive his point a little too far home

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good theories, no tangible or practical ideas.

This has a lot of good ideas in it, address is a lot of the things that I remember struggling with this a child, & a lot of things I see many children struggling with. It challenges much of the conventional, unquestioned wisdom that we see spouted all around. Unfortunately the ideas seemed primarily workable with adolescent or older children, and no advice about how any of these ideas can be implemented are provided. Therefore it is not a book on parenting, but rather a book addressing a social philosophy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mind blown!

Excellent views backed with solid research! If all
Parents could listen and apply these ideas, our world would change! Spoiled children are produced by the model used currently, not by empathetic or attachment parents! Let's raise a generation of reflective rebels!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wish my parents....

I've been a fan of Alfie for a couple of decades and this is one of his best books so far. He has a wonderful way of shredding common wisdom and waking us up from a lifetime of unconscious parenting/teaching practices and beliefs.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dispelling myths

Another excellent Alfie Kohn book that deconstructs social presuppositions and stereotypes. Alfie digs deeper than our shallow values normally go and gets to more important foundations of what we want to see in children. A 'well-behaved' child sounds nice, but what does that mean? And what do studies reveal about non-autonomous, non-visionary, non-opinionated children who simply "do what they're told"? He didn't mention Nazi Germany; the connection was obvious.

I appreciated his chapter on how to raise a rebel, like, intentionally raise them to rebel. I was that kind of child myself, but I got the impression from society that something wasn't quite right with me, and I'd never amount to much because I probably wouldn't pass the (debunked) 'marshmallow test'.

Narration by Kohn was, as always, a perfect blend of Rick Moranis and Wallace Shawn. It works.