Reading Alfie Kohn


Parenting, as I see it, is a battlefield. It brings out the worst and the best in people. And because homeschooling is essentially an extension of good parenting, I find that commentaries on education, homeschooling and parenting make up the bulk of my reading. Notice I said commentaries, not manuals.

Anyway, I’ve recently been reading Alfie Kohn’s The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting. There is much in the book I don’t agree with but I think it is important anyway to plod through it because some of the things he says are dead on accurate. Consider this quote, in which he talks about how children are not any worse today than they were in the 1800s. He says,

Each generation invokes the good old days, during which, we discover, people had been doing exactly the same thing.

How many conversations about school and parenting have you had recently that said things were better in the past? Children were better, parenting was easier, children respected their parents more, etc.? And yet, as he points out, there isn’t one piece of evidence that suggests this to be true. Not one. And yet, the assumption is ubiquitous.

I wonder if this is for the same reason that people believe it is less safe for children to be unsupervised today, even though the crime rate is down and it is the safest time in history to be a child. Too much information, too sensationalized, too often.

Fascinating book. I’ll be a better mom for having read it. I’ll be reading more by Alfie Kohn.

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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at – unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

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