I don't know why I do this to myself. Every few years I pick up a book by Alfie Kohn, even though whatever previous book I read by him was sub-par. This time I picked up his book, " Unconditional Parenting".
I agree with the general theme of the book, and that is children shouldn't be treated like lab rats. For example, I learned that the phrase "time-out" for children is actually short for "time-out from positive reinforcement". It comes from Skinner and his work on rewards and punishment.
In the short-term, you can manipulate a child's behavior with rewards and punishments, but is that really effective in the long run? Kohn says no, and I agree. There are better approaches. This is not to say that there shouldn't be consequences for actions, but that discipline should be applied from an environment of love and reason.
At any rate, the book deteriorated quickly as I read it. He made so many logical errors I could hardly keep up. His work could be massively improved if he looked at child development from an evolutionary perspective. Nothing about evolution or natural environments was ever mentioned in the book.