I opened the Wall Street Journal today to find an article entitled "The Most-Praised Generation Goes to Work." The article describes how some employers have to "dish out kudos to workers for little more than showing up." One company has a staff "celebrations assistant" whose job is to throw confetti at employees and pass out helium ballons; another estimates that employees receive praise every 20 seconds. The examples go on and on. Perhaps parents and educators need to look at "rewards and praise" in a new light. This book does just that and I wish I would have read it sooner! I cannot recommend this book enough. Instead of giving you a "blow-by-blow" of what to do in a specific situation, Kohn gives you strategies that can apply and be expanded to numerous situations. Many new parents and teachers want to know what to do if the child does "this." Well, as we all experience by dealing with various people in our lives, we need to treat each person as an individual and may deal with the situation differently depending on the people involved. One important point Kohn makes that I found extremely insightful was to think (and listen) to how we speak to our (and others') children. If we would not want to be spoken to like that then perhaps we need to reflect on how we can handle the situation differently. Good luck to all new parents and educators who are willing to take a deep look at their choices and make the necessary changes to help our children!
A much-needed shift in thinking about parenting
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
This is perhaps one of the most important books I've read. It makes a strong case for why both punishment/criticism/consequences and rewards/praise not only are ineffective in getting kids to do what we want but also cause lasting harm to kids' development. It provides many great insights toward alternatives, all flowing from the idea that we must unconditionally meet children's needs, that this is how we can give kids a solid foundation upon which to develop healthfully. Yet the book is certainly not about being a pushover as a parent. The punishment/reward opposites it criticzes are distinguished as, themselves, just one side of another pair of dysfunctional parenting opposites. They are just different ways to use power to control kids. On the other hand is permissiveness, which is also ineffective. The book makes clear that it is both possible and necessary to be a parent, to set boundaries, and that it's simply a question of how one does so, respecting kids as human beings and seeking to work with them toward positive ends rather than do things to them that can't possibly move them toward the ends we want. UP sheds a great amount of light on parenting, education and, if one is willing to extend its ideas, communication in general, even among adults. On top of all this, it is an easy and enjoyable read. For those already interested in approaches such as attachment parenting, unschooling, positive discipline, etc., this book is a must read, giving perhaps the broadest picture possible about why these various approaches are so necessary and providing ways for people to make connections among them. For anyone who is a parent of a child of any age, for anyone who relates with kids of any age, and really for anyone who wants to improve their communication and their relationships in general, I highly recommend that you find an opportunity to read this book soon.
I saw him speak and it changed my parenting - wonderful
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
I can't believe that I haven't written a review before this. I saw Alfie Kohn speak in Sag Harbor NY and it changed my parenting. There are some things that you carry around inside of you, the truth is what it is often called, and you don't really know exactly what it is until some very enlightened person names it. This is what Aflie Kohn did for me and 6 other people that I was with. We all left his lecture with both a profound commitment to changing the way we were parenting our children. However I can also tell you that we left with a profound sense of relief that we can all stop working so hard to "make" our children feel good and just start letting them feel. It has been six month since I heard the lecture and since then I keep a supply of his book in my offe and give it to all of the parent that I treat. (I am a naturopathic doctor in New York for ten years.) IT has been universally well recieved. I know that there will be some negative reviews by the "old school" that feel it worked for me and so it will work for me kid. I just feel that if I can accomplish what I am trying to do with my children and it can be easier, more fen and more effective then I will choose that path. I just feel grateful there a people like Alfie Kohn out there and I think that you should try this book.
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