Why "No, David" Is Bad for Kids

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If you're a parent of younger children (or have been since 1998), you've probably ready No, David or any of David Shannon's highly popular books. We have the full David library in our home; they're a popular, easy to read favorite of my two sons. Jennifer Lehr of Good Job pointed out in a recent post that the David series is ultimately damaging for our kids. What do you think? Should we never tell our kids no? Are David books bad for our kids?

She takes specific offense to the author's note in the original book:

Scholastic-34He thought it would be fun (!) to celebrate (!) the ways he was punished as a kid? I mean Shannon himself gives us a heart-wrenching picture of a little boy sitting in a corner with tears dripping down his face. Where’s the fun in celebrating that? Am I alone in finding his celebration perverse? I can see exorcizing his demons as liberating, but celebrating the ways his enthusiasm was punitively squashed?

Reading Shannon’s note, I couldn’t help but picture a confused, hurt and angry little boy being sent to his room, yet again, grabbing a pencil and paper and in the depths of his despair scrawling the words No! No! No! No!—so angry and hurt but ultimately so desperate for his mother’s love that he was ready to fall into her arms at the first sign of her softening. I imagine it must be so hard for young children to wrap their minds around the idea that things they’re inexplicably driven to do—like banging on pots and pans loudly and jumping around like a superhero—are so bad that they would cause the woman who loves them most to do and say and things to them that feel so hurtful.

Photo Credit: Read Every Day.

Read more from Oh, David (David, David, David) at "Good Job" (and other things you shouldn't say or do)


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