Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting” as Want to Read:
The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  411 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published March 11th 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Myth of the Spoiled Child, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Myth of the Spoiled Child

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Justin Podur
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, psychology
This book is the application of Alfie Kohn's parenting philosophy, set out in his book Unconditional Parenting, to current fashions criticizing today's parenting as too indulgent, children as too lazy, and of course, children as too spoiled. It turns out, Kohn argues, that being mean to children, having them compete against others, and controlling their behaviour down to the details - isn't very good for their development. It might seem obvious, but the book is full of evidence that it is very f ...more
Nick Jones
I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

I am of two completely opposing opinions in regard to this book. On the one hand, I find much of the research the author cites to be accurate, agree with a number of the conclusions he comes to, and overall see the educational system and typical parenting methods as generally failing to help kids fully realize their potential. On the other, Myth of the Spoiled Child is frustratingly ideological, frequently goes after opposing
Brittney Martinez
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Writing about what’s wrong with the youngest generation, also known as Millennials, has been exhausted as a subject. Mostly writers have come to blame bad parenting for all the ills of the world. No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, you’re likely to believe that strict parenting is the best way to go. Alfie Kohn, author of Myth of the Spoiled Child, challenges these commonly held beliefs and calls for a more balanced style of parenting.

Kohn does an excellent job easing the
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
Alfie Kohn’s ideas are always radical and incendiary and this book is no exception. I’m a huge fan of all his writing, and find that his ideas crystallise concerns I have always had as a teacher and parent about the focus of contemporary education. It’s still confronting to read, though, as it forces the reader to examine the extent to which most of us rely on rewards, competition and unquestioning compliance to ‘educate’ our children.

I believe this may be the best of his books so far as it syn
April (The Steadfast Reader)
Originally posted here: The Steadfast Reader

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Confession time: I picked up this book as a hate read. I opened it with the attitude, "This is gonna be a crazy, liberal book on how we ought to be coddling out children and never setting in any boundaries."

Rather quickly, through citing studies, statistics, and history - Kohn was able to draw me around to his point of view and I found myself in agreement with many of h
Adam Ross
Everybody seems to think millennials are terrible; narcissistic, self-absorbed, spoiled, entitled, who get trophies just for showing up and demand everything automatically work out for them. But what if I told you the conventional wisdom was wrong? You probably wouldn't believe me. Which is why Kohn's book is so important. He digs into the actual empirical evidence, the research, the studies, and the science to show that not only is there no evidence that kids are overprotected, that they are an ...more
Jerry Hillyer
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Myth of the Spoiled Child

Author: Alfie Kohn

Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books

Date: 2014

Pages: (preview copy e-book) via netgalley: 282

Author Page: Alfie Kohn

[You need to read this before you take another glance at this page: the FCC wants you to know that it is imperative information that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I'm glad that's off my chest and I hope you feel better knowing it.]

I was warned about Alfie Kohn when I was in graduate school.
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pro: Actual researched, scientific, statistical data to back up arguments against the "accepted-as-truth" claims of KIDS THESE DAYS being too narcissistic, their egos too tender, their parents too helicopter-y and permissive, how these kids need to learn grit if they're going to succeed, and delaying gratification is a skill worth cultivating rull hard. Turns out, a lot of it is based on what FEELS like should be true, but is often the exact opposite. There are so many "truisms" that we simply t ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Heard a bit of an interview with him on NPR where he said timeouts were bad and only encouraged selfish behavior in kids and I got intrigued (and never had a chance to finish listening to the segment). However, as my first parenting book read, it was a total disappointment. It's really just an effort to debunk popular themes in the media today. I agree with many of the premises (doesn't every generation think kids these days are getting off easy, have inflated grades?), but Kohn takes many sensi ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent Alfie Kohn book that deconstructs social presuppositions and stereotypes. Alfie digs deeper than our shallow values normally go and gets to more important foundations of what we want to see in children. A 'well-behaved' child sounds nice, but what does that mean? And what do studies reveal about non-autonomous, non-visionary, non-opinionated children who simply "do what they're told"? He didn't mention Nazi Germany; the connection was obvious.

I appreciated his chapter on how to
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kohn is very counter-cultural in his approach, but I do believe that he has a unique perspective as he takes on the research regarding permissive parenting, motivation, and questioning authority. I loved the last two chapters especially.
Erin Henry
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. Makes you rethink a lot of assumptions.
Rob Lund
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so challenging and revolutionary to my thinking. I loved it from cover to cover.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Audiobook. Great narration.

Alfie Kohn is a proponent of progressive parenting, and many other books like Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk are influenced by his writing. I really enjoyed this book as I felt like I was getting a better explanation of the psychological studies behind the beliefs in so many other books I read this year.

It's also just kind of fun to see someone unravel beliefs you have picked up in media and haven't really
Tiffany Leigh
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading Kohn's radically progressive ideas which challenge our views of children. This book focuses largely on debunking myths about an existence of "the good ole days" when children knew their place-- it also examines popular buzzword phenomenons in education & parenting, such as "grit". It's a great read, just don't expect it to be a parenting book. It's more of a social psychology book focusing on society's view of children. Kohn is inspiring and makes a great case for work ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There certainly was a lot in this book to absorb! I would say it deserves a re-read, and it's the kind of book it would be worth having a copy of for that purpose, or to lend out. The real tragedy is that the people who would pick up and read this book aren't the ones who need convincing, and the people who need convincing aren't the ones who will read this book. Paying close attention to the material herein, and the scientific evidence cited supporting Kohn's position, will be a great resource ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
As always, Kohn's insight is appreciated if a bit skewed. I struggled with some confirmation bias reading it. Being a homeschool mom, I've made a lot of sacrifices for my son's well being. This book confirmed that we've done the right thing by him and in that in the long run, he can be a well-rounded, kind and successful kid because of, not in spite of, his upbringing.
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is not my favorite book by Kohn, but it makes good points and includes lots of research to support his position. I would recommend Unconditional Parenting or Punished by Rewards before this one.
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Alfie debunks, debunks, debunks and gives the middle finger to "conventional" wisdom about parenting.

Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful challenge to the conventional wisdom about parenting and "spoiled" children. It shows that the criticism leveled at this generation are the same complaints of every decade previous, and are based on three assumptions:
-rewards are necessary to motivate people
-these rewards should be made artificially scarce and given only to winners, and
-the best way to prepare children for future unhappiness and failure is to make them experience unhappiness and failure right now.

Kohn examines each
649.7 KOH

My review: In this book, author heavily attack what he dubbed as epidemic traditionalists views: children are spoiled, they are over indulgent, a sense of entitlement, less discipline, narcissism, high self-esteem, regardless what political view: Conservative vs. liberal. It is worth reading exactly because of author strong opposition of this current popular education trends. p8 The sensible alternative to overparenting is not less parenting but better parenting. The alternative t
Betul Pehlivanli
Kitap,konusu itibariyle çok ilgimi çekti ama içeriği beni hayal kırıklığına uğrattı.Hayatımın son 15 yılında çocuklarla vakit geçiren biriyim.Bu kitapta ısrarla,asla öyle olmadıkları söylenen çocuklarla ve velilerle karşılaşıyorum.Tam da bu nedenle eğitimde ve doğal olarak günümüz dünyasında sorunlar çoğalıyor.Keşke her şey Alfie Kohn dünyasındaki gibi olmaydı ama benim ve çevremdeki bir çok insana göre maalesef böyle değil.Kitabın bir diğer eksisi,boş argümanlara dayandırdıklarını söylediği mak ...more
Definitely gives the reader a lot to think about, with many of his views in opposition to the work of other experts, like Paul Tough and Carol Dwek. I agree with a lot of what he has to say, and much of the content brings to mind our president and current political situation, like almost everything I read these days. He has a pretty negative opinion of conservative thinking, which could turn off a lot of readers.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really surprised me. It shock many of the tenements of my view of achievement psychology. It does not provide as many answers as one might desire, but it asks the right questions. Well worth reading. I summarised it is a blog post here:
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
Writing quality: 0
Engagement: 0
Informative: 1
Personal Impact: 1
Personal Longevity: 0

Notes: I picked this up at the library randomly. I liked the point he was trying to make and some of the evidence he presented, but he could've have written a book a quarter of the size and made his point much more clearly. I got bored and gave up after skimming through most of the chapters.
Ross Mountney
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wise ideas on parenting in a style that 'works with' the child rather than 'does to' and how to encourage autonomy that complements compassion and concern for others.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I wish everyone would read this book.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-bookshelf
basically support for helicopter parenting. has some good points but as in all parenting books, take it with a grain of salt.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
worth re listening. many concepts included and beginning of book throws u off for the meat of the book. but another thinker by kohn
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
  • Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves
  • Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-Out, Spanking, Punishment, or Bribery
  • Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping
  • Blaming the Victim
  • Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children
  • Kids Are Worth It!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline
  • Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living: Learn How to Make It Work for You
  • It's OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids
  • America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
  • Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day
  • Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs
  • Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear
  • The Great Katie Kate Offers Answers About Asthma
  • Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family
  • The Successful Child: What Parents Can Do to Help Kids Turn Out Well
  • Fourth and Ape, the Field Goal Kicker with the Secret Gorilla Leg
  • Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation
Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The author of eleven books and scores of articles, he lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations.

Kohn's criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken
“Children don’t just need to be loved; they need to know that nothing they do will change the fact that they’re loved.” 4 likes
“I think our challenge as parents is to rise above that preference for the child of least resistance and to think beyond short-term success as a criterion—particularly if success is defined by conventional and insipid standards. Don’t we want our kids to be inspiring rather than spend their lives just collecting tokens (grades, money, approval)? Don’t we want them to think in the plural rather than focusing only on what will benefit them personally? Don’t we want them to appraise traditions with fresh eyes and raise questions about what seems silly or self-defeating or oppressive, rather than doing what has always been done just because it’s always been done?” 3 likes
More quotes…