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Couldn't disagree more

osker
Posted · 93 Views · 8 Comments

I couldn't disagree more. I believe it is the job of a parent to teach our children and Alfie Kohn's complete lack of input toward his children feels to me like disinterest and neglect. To me, a parent who helps their child, encourages their child, and engages their child while sharing themselves and their views is the parent who is loving their child and allowing them the safe space in which to grow. If your child jumps on the bed and you say "boing boing" you child is going to become bored and stop trying. If your child brings you an art project that they made in school it is your job to show enthusiasm and excitement, not just say "you used a brown crayon today". What a boring world Alfie proposes.

8 Comments:

Oh come on! Did you even finish the book? Making comments about the color of the crayon are observations that allow the child to determine whether or not the child liked their own drawing. That part of the book was about getting children to elaborate about what they did or didn't like and not use BLIND generic praise. If you believe anything hear this: when teaching art a teacher doesn't go around gushing about everyone's work ... they make observations that draw everyone into the work and give them time to think for themselves and respond. Ultimately by making observations and discussing the content of the child's work you are allowing them to grow and decide for themself whether or not they have any feelings about what they just did. Otherwise you are just telling a child how to feel by using generic and consistent praise ... that is neglect in my opinion. Hmmm ... What is that saying about teaching a man to fish?
I've got to agree with Lovepickles. Maybe you've misread or skimmed too quickly?
I actually find Kohn's approach forces me to be MUCH more engaged with my child & definitely NOT disinterested or neglectful. How could it be a dull world if you (as the parent) are thoughtfully commenting on your child's interests & work, & your child is prompted to think more deeply about what he or she is doing? And I can show enthusiasm & excitement but not "praise" in the more automatic (&, to me, boring) manner. Same goes for the discipline aspect... I'm more engaged because I'm building a thoughtful relationship with my child, not leaping to use time outs or other auto-responses.
osker, your review of unconditional parenting makes me think you missed every single important point. when i go out into the world, i hear well-meaning parents over-indulging their children in praise, when it is clearly not what the kiddos are looking for. "good this" and
"good that" is an automatic response, and that bores me. it is not only possible to be enthusiastic and engaged with one's child when they are being objective and observant, but more imperative. "good job" feels to me like a cop out, and it is entirely over used. unconditional parenting is about instilling self awareness and self worth in your child, rather then putting your approval on everything they do. i for one have not every said "boing, boing!" to my child when they were jumping on the bed, but i think it would egg my kiddos on. i could, perhaps, say, "good jumping" ? what is good jumping? if you are keen in the way of science, you will notice that the objective (in science) is to be objective. because one is open to seeing what is when they are actually open and have not already placed value or judgement on a thing. i hope your review getting frontlines on this website gets changed out, as i would hate to see someone skip over this book because one reader didn't get it.
I happen to agree with you. I also think that kids thrive on positive reinforcement, and they need more than just acknowledgement. Why can't I say:"Good job!" My kids beam when I do.
I don't think she necessarily had to have misread the book to have a different opinion on it. Many people LOVE Kohn and follow his teachings to a T, and others just don't. That doesn't mean that they don't understand his writings, it means they're not right for their families. Personally, I find him to be kind of pretentious and while I find some of the things he says to be valuable, I don't think ALL praise is harmful.
I'm all for disagreeing with Kohn (I happen to love this book but don't love everything in it) but the reviewer (mis-)characterizes his approach as "disinterest & neglect"... hardly a fair or accurate reading. That's the reason I thought she must have misread it. I totally don't think it works for every family, and it's definitely open to criticism, but this review just doesn't engage with the actual content of the book.
You can't call yourself UP and pick and choose with Kohn (some "follow his teachings to a T, and others just don't") -- he's very clear that UP is meant to be all or nothing. If you're picking and choosing among his ideas than you are NOT doing UP.
I do lean towards non-judgemental and emotional comments, but that's more to do with sibling rivalry and handling an explosive DS2, than me believing in UP ideals.
Yes I have read the book (and re-read parts several times), and underlined passages, and studied, and puzzled over it. I find Osker's "boring parenting" assessment to be one of the most succinct & funny reviews I've ever read of the UP book. :)
I NEVER say "good job" to my children, and yet we have engaging and enthusiastic discussions about absolutely everything they or I think of to talk about. They are excited to show me their work, and we talk about it the way that two respectful people do- not by saying "good job" and "I like it!" as evaluations. They already have a vocabulary to use to discuss artwork and whatever else they do, so we discuss it. They know well enough that what I think of their work neither diminishes nor increases its significance; it belongs to the individual whose self-expression it is. This is a healthy perspective.
The initial review is severely lacking in insight and understanding of transactional interaction between human beings. "Good job" is "good dog." Try saying "good job" to other adults and see how obvious it becomes that those who are open to it are also those who are approval-seeking and not genuinely self-actualised, whereas those who are self-actualised will ignore it, or inform you that your approval was not sought, nor wanted, nor needed.
I do not accept "good job" because it is ultimately disrespectful and therefore completely out-of-line. Age does not erase that reality. If I am pleased with someone else's work (regardless of age), I tell them that I enjoy their work. If I want to express gratitude, I do not say "good job," I say something like, "Thank you," or, "I'm very grateful for this. I really appreciate your work. Thank you so much!"
This book is an excellent primer on respecting other human beings' autonomy as well as that of oneself. It illuminates co-dependencies that provoke reactions and responses like "good job."
I highly recommend it, and if my brief explanation of what the book is about doesn't make sense, then please read the book again, because much has been missed.
Also, a review is properly not about whether or not the reviewer agrees with the content of the book, especially if it's on grounds of ones own emotional issues, but an objective evaluation of the quality of the book based on its contents and execution of the work, to assist others in deciding whether or not it might be of use to them. The irony of having evaluated it in terms of ones own experiences instead of what the book expresses only demonstrates the need of the reviewer to read the book again; this is the subject of the work!!!
We have discussion forums for what the reviewer expressed above.