To deny feedback in the form of manipulative praise, which is what Alfie Kohn talks about, is only to deny feedback in the form of manipulative praise. It does not deny children all feedback on the way their social world works. He's just talking about behaviorism - saying "good job" or other praise as a reward to try to get children to behave how we want them to behave. I don't know where he talks about criticism. He is only opposed to behaviorism - punishment and rewards - so helpful criticism wouldn't really be part of that. It isn't about being stone faced and not reacting to anything.
. You said that much better than I ever could. I don't praise my children in order to get them to behave a certain way but I do express my excitement or joy or surprise or anger or hurt when they do things that genuinely affect me. One thing that has been bugging me lately is the instructors at their Tae Kwon Do school. They do a lot of "good job" and high fives for things that don't seem necessary to me. There's no way around that in those types of setting, though.
I read a blog or an article a while ago that has me wondering. By the title, I thought I'd really dislike it. It was something like, "I won't let you"...the next best phrase after "I love you." But the idea was that when a child does something such as hitting, rather than just telling them to stop, don't do it or something along those lines, you say, "I won't let you hit because it hurts." The idea that you won't let it happen makes a difference in understanding to the child. I have to deal with that a lot between my boys. They get angry and frustrated and one hits the other. I tried this the other day and they both just stopped mid-fighting and asked me why not. Then we got into a discussion about how hitting hurts. I have talked to them before about that but for some reason the fact that I told them I would not let them do it made them stop and think. What you all think of that?