The idea of each of us as parents being responsible for the emotional and pyschological well being of our progeny is a fairly new one. Perhaps it is a luxury previous generations didn't have. And, I ackowledge there are people for whom such discussions are still a luxury as their attention is focused on survival. For the rest of us though, I like to think we want all of the tools and the knowledge at our disposal so that we can make informed decisions about what is best for our kids.
It is towards that end that I would like to share Alfie Kohn's work, as well as that of others in upcoming blogs.
'Punished by Rewards' is the book written by Alfie Kohn in which he posits "that praise can do more harm than good". He gives 5 reasons to reconsider what has become common practice and accepted good parenting/teaching skills. In part, he says;
"What kids do need is unconditional support, and love, with no strings attached. That's not just different from praise -its the opposite of praise. "Good job!" is conditional. It means we're offering attention and acknowledgment and approval for jumping through hoops, for doing things that please us."
When I first read the book a couple of years ago, it was hard for me to let go of old ideas and to rethink one of the main tenants of my own parenting skill set! My kids are grown, but in working with other people's children now, I do strive to stay in awareness of what I am saying and why.
To read Alfie Kohn's paper on the Eagala website, go to:
To order the book:
I welcome your comments and input, we are all here to learn!
blog post by Windy Stopnitzky