Archived Guestbook

To read comments by other visitors, simply scroll down.

To read earlier postings, click here for access to archived messages (March 1999 October 2005).
Back to ListShowing 301 - 325 Of 725    Next

Posted On 01-04-2010 7:52 PM
Your Name: trisha
Email Address:
Organization: Mentor public school
Location: Mentor Ohio
How did you find our site?: my professor

I  have  been  opposed to  the popcorn and  pom pom  ideas  my  entire  22 + years of  teaching -  yet the  other  teachers insist on it   and   still complain of the  poor  behavior they recieve from their  students .. Duh!!!

Bravo !!

Posted On 01-03-2010 10:34 PM
Your Name: Heather
Email Address:
Location: Oakland, CA
How did you find our site?: google

I watched your DVD "Unconditional Parenting" a year ago and found it very sensible and your discussion aligned with my own wishes on how I wished to raise my son.   Now my son is 2 years and 8 months and it has not been easy. He is a very bright, active, confident child and his assertiveness can be quite bold and at times unnerving. (he is on the bossy side)...I began to feel like I was losing power/authority and I instinctively began going through  the gamut of tricks to change behavior -- Removing him from the situation, ignoring, depriving him of an outing if he wouldn't get dressed,  removing myself etc.  And it's been pretty heartbreaking and ineffective.  People around me say "more limits!" 
      I re-watched the video tonight and I feel reoriented and remember why this is not an optimal solution to the  problem. He is not learning anything from it but that I will shut off from him.  I can see it in his eyes when I walk away in anger to take a time out that he is worried that he is losing me.  If I am well rested and in a good space I have found for me to help him make amends or to speak with a more gentle tone,    the storm will pass.  If I get angry, it escalates...  
       I heard once that it takes a child their whole childhood to grow into a reasonable, compassionate, thoughtful, articulate etc adult.  Perhaps it also takes a parent a long time too. In any case, I am glad to own this video and to have it as a resource when the going gets tough and I feel like I just want to punish him because I am frustrated by his behavior.  For now, I can't say exactly what I will do when faced with the next standoff or bout of defiance.  But it's not going to be a removal of love.

[edited for length]

Posted On 12-27-2009 5:02 PM
Your Name: Candace Bennis
Email Address:
Organization: Fallsburg Central School District
Location: Fallsburg, New York
How did you find our site?: Googled your name
Comment: I have read a multitude of your articles regarding homework. I have also read Harris Cooper's opinions, Kralovec, Bennett & Kalish, Cathy Vatterott, just to name a few. I consider you the "guru" of homework. I am preparing a dissertation at this time on a phenomonological study in upstate New York on homework in grades 3 - 6 with learning disabled students. I am going to interview 11 special education teachers around New York State concerning their perspectives on homework, policies on homework, amount, type, differentiated/modified assignments, purpose, etc. I know that my research is important to me as an administrator and director of pupil personnel services. I deal with CSE and 504 meetings daily and have found that many students are failing courses due to the fact that they are not turning in their homework. I hope to shed the special ed. aspect on my study. Best wishes to you for a happy and healthy New Year.

Posted On 12-07-2009 10:23 AM
Your Name: Lafonda
Email Address:
Organization: Persuasive Writing Class
Location: Providence
How did you find our site?: google search
Comment: For my persuasive writing class we recently read No-Win Situations. I personally disagree with your oppnions. I think competion is good for a childs development. Too much winning can lead to entitlement but with a nice balance of winning and loosing a child can become prepaired for life.


Posted On 12-01-2009 8:54 AM
Your Name: Sharena A. Fennessy
Email Address:
Organization: Teacher, mother
Location: Kuala Lumpur
How did you find our site?: Link from an education site
Comment: I read Punished by Rewards article in your site and was attracted by your three C's strategy. I've been applying this myself with my students and you're right; there is no need for rewards and punishment at all. I've built a strong and trustworthy relationship with my students to the degree that I will look at them and they self-reward (for good behavior) or self-check (if they've done wrong behavior) themselves. Not only is there better classroom management but my students have developed excitement and a love for learning (and I don't give homework to my students- they know what they learnt in class was enough!)  Congratulations for speaking up on behalf of our children.

Posted On 11-19-2009 9:32 AM
Your Name: T Woods
Email Address:
Location: Toronto
How did you find our site?: Reading Mr Kohn's books
Comment: I really enjoy Mr Kohn's books.  They have changed the way I teach, though an unfortunate side effect is that I'm doubly frustrated when working in schools or an education system that is ignorant of or ignores his findings.  Below is a link to an article others may find interesting re. homework.

Posted On 11-18-2009 8:51 PM
Your Name: Lynn
Organization: student
Location: Chicago
How did you find our site?: Alfie told me
Comment: I attended your lecture, this evening, at Concordia University Chicago.  I found you, Alfie, to be a prolific speaker, amongst many other gifts.  I thank my God, in Christ Jesus, that you are out in the world fighting for the life of our children.  I appreciate your work, as you have added to my education, especially into the reality of corporate America and politics in education.  As presented with opportunities, I am a Light in the world along your side in your mission.  God bless and keep you.

Posted On 11-11-2009 5:35 PM
Your Name: Ben Miska
Email Address:
Organization: ISD891
Location: Canby MN
How did you find our site?: websearch
Comment: Your books have changed my life.



Posted On 11-10-2009 8:52 PM
Your Name: Debby Greelish
Email Address:
Organization: grandmother
Location: San marcos,ca
How did you find our site?: unconditional parenting book
Comment: Thank you for so elegantly puttting into words the discipline I so often tried to use with my children! They are now ages 36,34,and 31. With the arrival of my grandson,Colton age 2,discipline has become the big topic. I knew in my gut that the forms of discipline I used so long ago were not the healthiest for their spirit. So I waivered back and forth and fell short in some areas.(nothing earth shaking)!  Fortunately, today we are able to openly talk and discuss different ways of discipline for the well being of my grandson. Your book about unconditional parenting says everything that is essential for guiding a young human being to be a "Free Spirit" in a ever changing unreliable world.

Posted On 10-28-2009 4:08 PM
Your Name: eva
How did you find our site?: after reading article
Comment: thank you for your wonderful article "Why Self-Discipline Is Overrated"!
it's really an eye-opener, so insightful - it never occured to me to question the assumptions behind and consequences of different kinds of discipline. i look forward to reading more of your work!

Posted On 10-27-2009 6:33 PM
Your Name: Laura Hacker-Wright
Email Address: hacker.laura "at"
Organization: my home!
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
How did you find our site?: on the back of your Unconditional Parenting
Comment: Thank you for your insight.  As a child of parents who talked about their unconditional love but whose love in practice was quite conditional, I am trying to blaze a new trail with my own son who is 17 months old.  He is so young that the issue of punishment has never come up, but the issue of positive reinforcement has, of course.  I have stopped telling my son "good job" for meaningless tasks (such as sitting in the swing), as well as for accomplishments such as peeing on the potty.  Sometimes, though, he claps for himself when he knows he has done a good job.  What do I do in these situations?

Posted On 10-25-2009 7:36 PM
Your Name: Becky Burke
Email Address:
Organization: Pu'hhale Elementary School (Special Education Teacher)
Location: Honolulu, HI
How did you find our site?: during graduate studies
Comment: I am a new teacher and during graduate school, I had the opportunity to read many of your articles and some books.  I look forward to reading more of your books and articles and learning about the issues that you discuss and write about pertaining to children.

Posted On 10-21-2009 9:06 PM
Your Name: Tara N. Ingram
Email Address:
Organization: Foundation For Global Peace
Location: Charlottesville- VA
How did you find our site?: From One of the teacher
Comment: I asked a few questions to FLTeach language teachers web thread and som eone told me about you that my questions and questioning the education system was so similar to yours. I did not know you and when I see your books , I am glad that I am not alone. I will get your books and read them.

Posted On 10-20-2009 7:26 PM
Your Name: Kristi Otto
Email Address:
Organization: Saint Marys College CA
Location: CA
How did you find our site?: From a handout on Supernany Episodes
Comment: I am wondering what educational background Alfie Kohn has? I was really shocked to read his article about Suppernanny and Nanny 911! Some of it, I have to admit I agree with if one were critiquing a true in home parenting program. However, as a student earning a masters in Child Development Psychology there are a few things that seem to be missing from his critique. First of all, it's a TV show so yes, of course there will be a crunch for the time frame and only showing the episodes that give an example of supper nanny truly influencing the family. On the other hand, it is very true that when a family is as out of control as some of the families are portrayed to be, then the first and most important thing to do is to shape appropriate behavior. You cannot send in depth message about understanding, sharing, and apologizing until there is a baseline behavior that allows for the child's physiological level to be "calm", in a sense - speaking in lay person terms", so that the child can be receptive to the messages. So, contrary to what the critique says, it is very important for the behavorism to come first in the circumstances. Furthermore, this show is, I believe, a fantastic start into creating parent acceptance of receiving advice about parenting. It's no secret that there are some pretty bad parenting styles out there and in many cases the parents do not even recognize the negative effects of such. It would be a lot better if it was more socially acceptable for parents to say - hey, I don't think I'm doing this right and for it to be standard for parents to seek and be open to feedback (this should be educated feedback though....not just someone who sits around reading parenting books written by other people, but someone who has read the actual research, done the research, and has been involved with a variety of parenting interventions). Seriously - the world would be a better place if parents would be more willing to admit they make mistakes and need help.

Posted On 10-20-2009 1:10 PM
Your Name: Zach
Email Address: Dymond
Organization: SUNY Oneonta
Location: Oneonta, NY
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: I'm a senior majoring in Elementary Education at SUNY Oneonta.  My class was assigned to look up management techniques from different philosophers.  My education classes are repetitive and the type that tell you to teach in a variety of ways and make learning interesting and fun but never attempt to implement this goal during our classes.  So, bogged down with work I was upset when I learned that I had one more thing to add to the list.  However, when I looked you up and begin reading the information on this site I got excited that I would be able to share new, radicle, valid, and interesting material to the class.  I read a few of your articles and was impressed that you were strong enough to speak out against thee standards and norms which blind our view on education. 


    I just wish that people actually implemented what they read and I hope that my professor will listen to my presentation and improve her own curriculum. 


P.S. I didn't proof read this because I don't have the time and the current reality for me is that my grades are more important than developing a deeper understanding.  Therefore, I only have time to skim your material before writing up my presentation and lesson plan for the presentation. 

"It's better to follow the rules when you're young so that you can break them when you're older."   -Mark Twain


Posted On 10-09-2009 11:28 AM
Your Name: Laura Hewitt Walker
Email Address:
Location: Seattle
How did you find our site?: Read NYT Mag article and then Unconditional Parenting
Comment: My husband and I have an almost 4 year old girl and 8 year old boy. My sister emailed me a link to the column you did in the Times Magazine and it really got me thinking. I bought Unconditional Parenting and devoured it. Boy I wish I had those available to me when pregnant with my first child. He's emotional and can be volatile, but so special it makes me tear up just to think about him. I feel like we've made so many mistakes. And I know our son has questioned our love. I just mourn past years and wish more than anything we had them to do over. But at least we a new start anew. And I appreciated that you ended your book on a hopeful note for us parents who would be weighed down by guilt.

Posted On 10-03-2009 12:25 PM
Your Name: Oscar Del Sebastien
Email Address:
Location: Minneapolis
How did you find our site?: University Course
Comment: Thank you Alfie for your insightful comments.  I am in concurence with much of your writing as it relates deeply to my own experience as an adolescent and as an adult student.  I will continue to read more of your articles, especially since you have them all collected here.  Your pragmatic words of wisdom have influenced and continue to do so in my everyday enterprises. I am an instructor of Spanish and am a firm believer in promoting group activities and team testing which involve student notes and an open book policy.  As unorthodox as this may seem--my goal is really to give my students a linguistic foundation not to make them rudimentary readers of Spanish. 

Posted On 09-21-2009 11:55 PM
Your Name: Nick Cooper
Email Address: nickcooper at
Comment: I read your article 'When a Parent’s ‘I Love You’ Means ‘Do as I Say’ and it reminded me of stuff that I learned in Brazil from the anarchist therapist Roberto Freire. He told me that while studying Wilhelm Reich, he had experienced realizations about the emotional blackmail he had received from his mother as a child.  So now, when I read you saying "before we toss out mainstream discipline, it would be nice to have some evidence. And now we do" I think, well Reich and Freire tossed this stuff out a long time ago.

Posted On 09-20-2009 12:52 PM
Your Name: Josh Blumenthal
Email Address:
Location: Croton On Hudson, NY
How did you find our site?: I looked it up after seeing the Times Article

I believe that teaching is one of a parent’s major roles. You write about punishment without any discussion of its purpose or what it teaches. A punishment is a penalty inflicted for an offense. It does not teach positive behavior. (No one learns good behavior in jail.) Punishment teaches the lesson that there are unpleasant consequences to offensive behavior. However, that just teaches the child to try to be more careful so as not to be caught committing the same act. Maybe the child will even learn to lie when confronted so as to avoid the punishment....


Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not suggesting there should never be consequences to bad behavior, nor do I advocate permissiveness. I’m not a permissive parent. Understand, though, permissiveness is not the only alternative to punishment.


How, then, can we deal with negative behavior without creating the unpleasant atmosphere and consequences that punishment may bring? How do we focus on positive behavior rather than negative? The key is for the parent to see himself as teacher and to accept responsibility for the child learning what is right. If my son does something wrong, I should be asking myself something like, “How can I teach him what he should be doing, rather than simply telling him what not to do?” If I fail to teach him that, he may replace one wrong behavior with another wrong behavior and why not? How is he to know better? It is my responsibility to teach him what is right and (important note here) to teach him to do it for its own sake – not for the hope of a reward or to avoid punishment (very negative)....

Posted On 09-19-2009 4:21 PM
Your Name: Abigail Connors
Email Address:
Location: Piscataway, NJ
How did you find our site?: had looked it up previously - I admire Mr. Kohn's work
Comment: The article in the Times was wonderful. It is great, as others have pointed out, to have all this documented research now, but isn't it sad that people require research to tell them that using parental love as a manipulative tool is a bad idea? I hope this article makes an impression on parents, teachers, and everyone who works with children.

Posted On 09-18-2009 6:42 PM
Your Name: Robert Hess
Location: Glendale, CA
How did you find our site?: Internet research
Comment: I too read your recent article in the NY Times and, as a progressive parent, I was appalled by the amount of criticism it has drawn and continues to draw.

To see that many readers - readers of the NY Times! - take issue with something as simple and straightforward as the proposition that children need to have - and be shown at all times- unconditional love and respect from their parents for proper emotional development is, to me, frustrating and downright depressing. We live in a country of morons! I don't know how you can stand the dimwittedness day in and day out, and I truly admire and commend you for your fortitude in the face of eternal, utter stupidity.

I know, that's a very sarcastic attitude to take, and I wish I knew how to be more constructive in my critique. But, you see, even at the private progressive school where we send our kids in Pasadena, most parents have only the most rudimentary understanding of progressive education in general and progressive parenting in particular. In fact, the trend seems to be toward less, rather than more progressive thinking at our school.

Given these realities "on the ground", I find it hard to conceive of the American public at large understanding, let alone accept, progressive education anytime in the foreseeable future. Perhaps they will in the 22nd century, but certainly not this one.

In any event, you are my hero, the Darwin of education, so to speak. He too is still waiting for the recognition he deserves, at least in the land of the red, white and blue.


Posted On 09-17-2009 7:00 AM
Your Name: Michael Byrne
Email Address:
Organization: Life
Location: Fair Oaks, CA
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: This is in reference to the New York Times article on 9/14: "When A Parent's Love Comes With Conditions." One section caught my eye, interest, and imagination. The quote is: "autonomy support”: explaining reasons for requests, maximizing opportunities for the child to participate in making decisions, being encouraging without manipulating, and actively imagining how things look from the child’s point of view. If one substitutes the word OTHER for child, that now becomes a way to proceed thru life. We might consider imaginatively that each OTHER we meet is a surrogate parent for us, i.e. we have a chance to learn from them. Oft times, that is the only way we can learn something about ourselves, even if it is something we think we might not want to accept. Therefore, whenever I meet the OTHER, I can choose to learn. It's a wonderful and interesting way to approach life and learning.

Posted On 09-16-2009 8:21 AM
Your Name: Gary M Unruh MSW LCSW
Email Address:
Organization: Lighthouse Love Productions LLC
Location: Monument Colorado
How did you find our site?: Read the New York Times article

Thank you for your thoughtful analysis about When a Parent's “I Love You” means “Do as I Say” (September 15 New York Times). I especially appreciated the empirical data. Your summary point says it all, “Turn up the affection when they’re good and withhold affections when they’re not.”

From my nearly forty years of clinical practice with children, I believe strongly these parental “Love” actions constitute an unconstructive manipulation of a child’s life essential need: to feel and belief “I’m good” or “I’m lovable, and not “I’m bad.” ....

Thank you again for articulating the central parenting activity, unconditional love. Your article will make a difference for many children.

Posted On 09-16-2009 8:02 AM
Your Name: Ryan P
Email Address:
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
How did you find our site?: Google Search

I read your article in the NY Times and was fascinated.  I am a mother of an almost 2 year old who has a very strong will and is prone to temper tantrums (as most toddlers are).  I find myself constantly torn as to the best way to parent her and am always looking for fresh ideas and suggestions.  My gut reaction is always to assert control, usually in the form of time-out (with holding affection, I guess).  But I do worry about the long-term psychological implications of this method and also whether or not it is even effective in the short term.  In some respects, after reading your article, I am even more confused.  I want her to be well-adjusted and to never doubt my love, but I also don't want her making my life miserable or being so "misbehaved" that no one else wants to be around her.  But, at the same time, I do believe that you are right.  I believe that showing her that unconditional love and thereby fostering her independence and self-esteem is the best thing that I can do for her.  I am certainly not perfect, but your article has encouraged me to try harder.  I plan to look into your books as well and see if I can find some advice for how to put these ideals into practice without going insane.  Mostly, I wanted to thank you for the article and the perspective.  I hope to find additional information on your website and in your books that will help me now and for years to come.

Posted On 09-16-2009 12:52 AM
Your Name: Alain Yap
Email Address:
Organization: -
Location: Philippines
How did you find our site?: NYT then search
Comment: I've read your article on the NYTimes and even if my rational mind doubts it, I feel that what you wrote of being 'unconditional', even if means dealing with plenty of bumps along the way, is THE way it should be.  Guess it also means one word, too at it's ideal.  Love.

May I have the courage to go against the so-called standards and follow what you wrote because deep inside, I believe you are right.


home | books | articles | A/V | schedule | topics | bio | guestbook | contact us | standards and testing | business -- Alfie Kohn