Alfie Kohn's When a Parent's I Love You Means Do as I Say Essay

Alfie Kohn's When a Parent's I Love You Means Do as I Say Essay

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I choose Alfie Kohn’s, “When a Parent’s “I Love You” Means “Do as I Say.” It goes into debate on whether parents should give their children conditional love. Since I’m a new parent I can totally understand the argument being made. There is no true set of guidelines when it comes to raising a child, if there were, it would be a lot easier. A psychologist, Carl Rogers, strongly believes that children should receive unconditional love from their parents and be loved for who they are and not for what they do (510). Kohn starts is article by stating Roger’s statement and proceeds throughout the rest by opposing that thought with information and research and gives the effects when it comes to conditional love.
What I get from this article is that when it comes to punishing a child holding your love back until they can corporate isn’t a great solution. Kohn uses two very well-known people, Phil McGraw and Jo Frost, to portray that the idea of using attention, praise and love towards a child should only be given when the child does what is expected. It reasons with the concept of parents thinking that punishing a child should be by giving and taking of their attention and affections towards a child in the hope that the child will act right only to receive approval from their parents. I’ve watched Jo Frost in the Supernanny and she makes it seem easy to completely change a child’s behavior by resorting to time out and isolation but what works for a handful of children won’t work for all. It’s a very debating topic for parents because there are pros and cons of conditional love.
According to one study that Kohn translated in his article was research collected by 100 random college students who had received conditional approval f...


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...y believe in punishing a child because there are lot of other steps to take that won’t result in long lasting consequences. Since becoming a parent myself I strongly believe we either take the path that our parents taught us or we learn from their mistakes only to improve our selves. We are all different so of course our methods of raising a child will be different but thinking about the outcomes and the effects should be everyone’s main concern. With taking less direct punishment and the removal of affections a child won’t have to look for help in others to make up for that unconditional love that they needed when it really mattered.



Works Cited

Kohn, Alfie. “When a Parent’s “I Love You” Means “Do as I Say”. The Bedford Guide for College Writers. 9th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Marcia F. Muth. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 509-512. Print.

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