Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
Thought provoking but very light on the practical application
on 2 June 2015
I loved the central ideas in this book and it did give me a lot of pause for thought but I felt the book is very heavy on the what not to do and very light on the what to do instead. I agree wholeheartedly that bribery, threats and punishments are not the right way to bring up children and that of course children will thrive if they feel loved for who they are and their views are accepted. However, I just ended up feeling very inadequate after finishing the book and I've definitely been reduced to tears on a few occasions while reading it - mostly because I feel bad about not being the parent described in the book and I would love to be. It's not that I don't try but I have 3 small children who are all close in age and trying to take all their needs into consideration and reason with them is literally impossible. They quite often all want different things all at the same time so whose needs do you prioritise?! If one sits down on the pavement and refuses to walk, we could do as the book suggests and wait with her until she is ready to go again but then the other two would start wailing as they want to go straight to the park. Sometimes one child has to do something they don't want for the good of the others but I couldn't see anything in the book to help work out what to do in such a situation. I noticed with interest that although Alfie Kohn has 3 children himself there are big age gaps between them, plus he and his wife both seem to have jobs which mean they are around at home a lot. I'm not sure how a single parent of multiple children could entirely follow this approach.
So, what I have taken from the book is that the ideas are really thought provoking and I need to incorporate more of this into my parenting. The problem is that the book has left me with little idea of how to practically do this. I'm amazed to see so many 5 star reviews, how on earth are the rest of you managing to put it all into practice!!