Parenting: What unconditional love really looks like

The Myth of the Spoiled Child
“The Myth of the Spoiled Child” is education and parenting expert Alfie Kohn’s 13th book.
Credit: Provided

Kids today are more entitled, lazy and coddled than ever before, right? It’s a common belief, and it’s one that education and parenting expert Alfie Kohn is trying to dispel.

“When evidence and logic go one way, but practices and beliefs are pointing somewhere else, that’s something that has always interested me,” he tells us.

In an attempt to reverse the belief that children today are spoiled rotten, Kohn wrote a book called “The Myth of the Spoiled Child,” out now.

Kohn’s belief isn’t that it’s impossible to spoil a child; he says it’s of course possible to shower children unnecessarily with too many gifts. He just doesn’t like that many parents believe their kids have to “earn” their praise.

“Praise is a way of saying to kids they have to jump through hoops, and then we’ll give them a ‘good job’ or a high five,” Kohn laments. He stresses that praise shouldn’t be contingent on accomplishments and that developing positive self-esteem shouldn’t depend on being successful; it should be unconditional.

He holds this same stance when it comes to punishment as well. Instead of trying to control a child using punishments and rewards, Kohn says parents should work with their child, bringing them in on making decisions. “So when a child does something wrong, it’s a problem to be solved — not an infraction to be punished,” he says.

Of course this type of parenting requires more patience and giving up control, which many parents are hesitant to do, so “The Myth of the Spoiled Child” includes some broad ideas on how to do this and what it looks like.

The heart of Kohn’s philosophy all comes down to unconditional love. Whether you agree or disagree with his parenting methods, that’s something everyone can get behind.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…