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Kids These Days

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Hour 1: Parents are often criticized as being over-protective, and kids today are thought of as entitled brats. But those reputations might not be accurate. We’ll talk this hour about the state of American child rearing with Alfie Kohn, author of The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting (Da Capo).

  • Aurelio Lopez

    The competitive system has shown few winners and many losers.

  • Aurelio Lopez

    The competitive system has shown few winners and many losers.

  • Melanie Gamble

    I am often accused of being too patient with my children. I employ many of the mentioned methodologies. I did pick up my babies when they cried! I have a 6 yr. old and 3yr old, both girls. I was raised to learn from my own mistakes. I see the benefits in my 6 year old. However, with my 3 year old, it is less effective. At some point she stops listening to logic (which worked with my oldest) and does what she wants anyway (i.e. running into the street, using safety scissors on important papers). Sometimes logic, tried until blue in the face, doesn’t work. Another example, getting dressed – we go through outfits, we go to different closets, we want to wear open toed shoes which is against school rules, we go upstairs to get a collection (which we also can’t take into school), we end up an hour late to school (thankfully it’s just preschool). At the end of it all, I’m out of time, trying with all my mental strength to figure it out and it flat doesn’t work. When it comes to time constraints (she has to be to school, we have to go pick up my oldest, I need to do some work from home – I don’t work much, but I do have some to do, so she has to go to some school). I picked up this book, and I will read it, but to me, these frustrating end-of-the-line moments are where this type methodology (similar to Love and Logic) fail. Young children aren’t always logical in these situations, so logic doesn’t always work. I do not have endless time to spend. In the end they sometimes have to get in the car and go! I can’t leave them at home alone! Though, I have pretended a time or two. These are timed commitments with real-life consequences for lateness or important papers that get destroyed with scissors. She can not run into the street at any cost! Her life is more important than logic or discipline methodologies! In the end I find some need for loud voices saying “Stop”, consequences that reinforce the logic and hard lines that can not be crossed.

  • Melanie Gamble

    I am often accused of being too patient with my children. I employ many of the mentioned methodologies. I did pick up my babies when they cried! I have a 6 yr. old and 3yr old, both girls. I was raised to learn from my own mistakes. I see the benefits in my 6 year old. However, with my 3 year old, it is less effective. At some point she stops listening to logic (which worked with my oldest) and does what she wants anyway (i.e. running into the street, using safety scissors on important papers). Sometimes logic, tried until blue in the face, doesn’t work. Another example, getting dressed – we go through outfits, we go to different closets, we want to wear open toed shoes which is against school rules, we go upstairs to get a collection (which we also can’t take into school), we end up an hour late to school (thankfully it’s just preschool). At the end of it all, I’m out of time, trying with all my mental strength to figure it out and it flat doesn’t work. When it comes to time constraints (she has to be to school, we have to go pick up my oldest, I need to do some work from home – I don’t work much, but I do have some to do, so she has to go to some school). I picked up this book, and I will read it, but to me, these frustrating end-of-the-line moments are where this type methodology (similar to Love and Logic) fail. Young children aren’t always logical in these situations, so logic doesn’t always work. I do not have endless time to spend. In the end they sometimes have to get in the car and go! I can’t leave them at home alone! Though, I have pretended a time or two. These are timed commitments with real-life consequences for lateness or important papers that get destroyed with scissors. She can not run into the street at any cost! Her life is more important than logic or discipline methodologies! In the end I find some need for loud voices saying “Stop”, consequences that reinforce the logic and hard lines that can not be crossed.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with much of what Mr. Kohn is saying in terms of
    instilling a secure sense of self in a child from the parents’ unconditional
    love as well as cultivating a sense of autonomy and authenticity as the child internalizes
    principles to live by. I think one very identifiable
    place where Mr. Kohn goes wrong is when he said to a caller that we should not
    look to balance a desire to compete with a desire to cooperate. When we pick one tendency in human nature
    and take it to its logical conclusion to the neglect of other instincts and
    emotions, we set our children and ourselves up for a fall. This problem was picked up at the end of the hour as Mr. Kohn said that we must override our “gut reactions” as we seek to
    build a new type of person and society that supersedes certain instincts,
    habits, and traditions that he disapproves of. But we have these emotions and insights for
    good reasons.

    It is crucial for a parent to take the full range of human
    emotions and instincts present in a child’s human nature and guide the child in
    developing his/her character to act on the appropriate emotion felt to the
    appropriate degree and directed to the appropriate person as Aristotle
    counseled. To wish human nature and the
    human condition to be radically different than it is and to ignore the
    accumulated wisdom of our culture will lead a child to a lack of balance and an
    inability to deal effectively with the world and himself/herself.

  • Christopher_Graves

    I agree with much of what Mr. Kohn is saying in terms of
    instilling a secure sense of self in a child from the parents’ unconditional
    love as well as cultivating a sense of autonomy and authenticity as the child internalizes
    principles to live by. I think one very identifiable
    place where Mr. Kohn goes wrong is when he said to a caller that we should not
    look to balance a desire to compete with a desire to cooperate. When we pick one tendency in human nature
    and take it to its logical conclusion to the neglect of other instincts and
    emotions, we set our children and ourselves up for a fall. This problem was picked up at the end of the hour as Mr. Kohn said that we must override our “gut reactions” as we seek to
    build a new type of person and society that supersedes certain instincts,
    habits, and traditions that he disapproves of. But we have these emotions and insights for
    good reasons.

    It is crucial for a parent to take the full range of human
    emotions and instincts present in a child’s human nature and guide the child in
    developing his/her character to act on the appropriate emotion felt to the
    appropriate degree and directed to the appropriate person as Aristotle
    counseled. To wish human nature and the
    human condition to be radically different than it is and to ignore the
    accumulated wisdom of our culture will lead a child to a lack of balance and an
    inability to deal effectively with the world and himself/herself.

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