The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

Author: Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt
This Month Reddit 4


by crazydoggers   2021-02-14
> dominance-driven approach to discussion

Damn... guess that Socrates was a dominance driven asshole then huh?

It’s only “dominance driven” if you take it personally. If instead you realize that strong conversations are a way to elucidate clear logical thought and arguments on both sides, then you see it as a tool for understanding.

> condescension, and a refusal to even look at what you're saying and how you're saying it

That’s not me. I’ve been adding to the discussion with fact, and discourse. You’re the one who has quickly taken to dismissive ad hominem attacks.

> Maybe you don't have any better ways to spend your time, but I sure do

Says the man who’s cultivated a karma of 38876. You clearly spend wayyyyyyy more time on here than I do. Again, you turned this personal quickly... why?

Look if your so badly triggered by a discussion on HN about bitcoins, to the point where your thinking this is condescending and dominance driven on my half then do yourself a favor and read this book or at least the article.

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intention...

And maybe that’s condescending? Or maybe I’m trying to actually help (which I am).

You don’t know me... I don’t know you. But I recognize areas when I know less than someone else and I open myself up to it. Did your teachers in school “condescend to you”?

Reread all the discussions and you’ll simply see that I attempted to shine information and fact where there was ignorance.

Not every human being has equal knowledge and understanding of all fact. I know for a fact I have a greater understanding of this than you do.

And when you post ignorant things, or post conspiracy theories then I respond in kind. And yes, I do have better things to do. But honestly it pains me there is so much ignorance, and conspiracy stuff online rather, retweeted and reposted without thought, than actual facts.

If enough people sat down with those Trump supporters who marched on the capital and actually condescended to them for a bit to get them to face reality and fact, you could get through to some of them. Not all. But some. And that’s the start of change.

So which kind of person are you. Do you take criticism and seek more knowledge, or will you come away from this never questioning yourself and only seeing condescension in differing opinions?

Good luck, and if you believe it or not, I do wish you the best.

by vimy   2021-01-12
> Yes, those strong convictions have apparently been slipping, but it's across the board and for decades. If anyone has some sources that explain this trend I'd be interested in reading them.

by meowkit   2021-01-09
CT/CRT promotes an external locus of control as the source of societal problems. In other words, its not the fault of the individual/human hardware its the fault of the patterns that society has entrenched aka systemic racism or the software of a culture.

Its a top down theory/solution to what critics would argue is a bottom up problem. Individuals must be responsible for what they say, how they regulate their emotional state, and how their experiences and cognitive distortions skew their thinking. CT/CRT, by my understanding, argues against this. Thus it seems reasonable to say it leads to a lack of accountability if you define accountability as a responsibility for ones actions and beliefs.

I’ve read a small bit on CT/CRT, intersectionality, and the modern culture of safetyism. Primarily from Haidt who has more peer reviewed sources on things than anyone could ever want.

I find CT/CRT to be compelling to a degree, but it brings along with it too much baggage in my opinion. You’re likely not going to find or be given a specific source of data that says CRT leads to lack of accountability (however you would measure that), its an assumption made by the previous poster. You don’t need one either to have a discussion, so don’t fall back on the lack of academic evidence as an argument in itself.

by Reedx   2021-01-09
You might find The Coddling of the American Mind[1] an interesting read. I think it explains a lot about the infantilization of the culture.


by trogdor3000   2020-10-10
I agree the article isn't well written but I do share some of the author's concerns about the right to free speech vs. the cultural norms of public discourse, private disagreements among friends, friendly debates, etc.

I read the book The Coddling of the American Mind [1] a while back and think I can sum it up with that modern American equate disagreeing with someone opinions as a personal attack and that we need to avoid touchy subject for the sake of tolerance.


by Reedx   2020-02-19
Those kind of overreactions and bulldozer parenting are in large part the result of 24/7 news, which made unusual events seem common and created an environment of neverending fear.

Additionally, as the world became safer and sanitized, we became more distanced from injury and it seems more traumatic. Parents are more afraid and focused on the downsides. As well as the fact that we have fewer kids than in the past. The potential consequences are greater.

It's also worth noting that the body and brain are anti-fragile. That is, they become stronger and more robust when challenged. Weaker in the absence of it. The end result of all this sanitization, safetyism and overprotection is a fragile human. One that is less able to cope with the challenges and messiness and nuance of the real world.

That negative feedback loop has led to quite a mess. The Coddling of the American Mind does an excellent deep dive on all this:

by DifferentScore   2019-11-17

I'm currently reading a book that brought up this point. It use to be that the worst intentions were not always assumed by default. I still have a few chapters left but its pretty interesting stuff. Haidt has a lot of youtube videos.


by kodheaven   2019-11-17

I have some of those links now. I'll try to use SciHub as much as possible because I'm a dirty thief.




  • - Looks like I was incorrect about GMOS. Although only 30% of the population think they are safe. Looks like both left and right are both anti-science on this one.

> There are no statistically significant differences on the safety of eating GM foods between Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party as compared with Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party. Nor are there differences on this issue among political or ideological groups.

  • - However, it does look like Bernie Sanders pushes legislation about GMO labeling. So not totally wrong?


  • - Could not find something that shows the left is more anti-nuclear than the right. I believe Sanders is anti-nuclear. But he is much better on other climate change proposals, science-wise at least.

AntiFragility and CBT

  • - “Most trauma survivors are highly resilient and develop appropriate coping strategies, including the use of social supports, to deal with the aftermath and effects of trauma. Most recover with time, show minimal distress, and function effectively across major life areas and developmental stages.”
    • Contrast that with Colleges fear of causing harm by avoiding difficult topics.
  • More or less the agreement on best practices for PTSD. Cognitive restructuring. Things like Trigger warnings and "safe spaces" are anti CBT. Also, what many students categorize as PTSD is often concept creep.

I recommend This book that goes more into depth about this.

by TibiaKing   2019-11-17

Literally from less than a year ago. And that's one small example. Just go to /r/breadtube. A lot of the people there are vastly against free speech. In Canada and Europe the problem is much bigger. And these ideas have prevailed and risen on college campuses for decades now. A considerable majority of students(around 70%) in the United States believe that campuses should enforce some ban on "hateful speech".

I highly recommend reading The Coddling of The American Mind ( It's a great book that goes through studies and polls similar to the one I mentioned while covering this phenomenon in detail.

by Andysol1983   2019-11-17

They sit directly in front of us (we go middle/aisle with them in middle aisle in front of us). Because youngest is "6 and under", we get family boarding still.

In terms of "Chester", I don't fear that at all. Are some people weird? Sure. But the odds of "Chester" having the seat next to my kids is so infinitesimally small it's not something I concern myself with.

The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt (the same guy who wrote The Righteous Mind) is a must read for parents. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Here is their Atlantic Article that was the primer for the book; but the book is significantly better and addresses over-coddling/overprotection of kids much more in depth than this article (which focuses primarily on the academics).

by jackster1232002   2019-11-17

by zimtastic   2019-08-24

Yep, if anyone is interested to learn more, I suggest reading The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

by EastOfHope   2019-08-24

Related to this thread: The Coddling of the American Mind

by The_Fooder   2019-07-21

My kid just started at Montessori pre-school last month. We had all of the same concerns and observations. I can add a few things, all anecdotal...


TL;DR: lots of qualitative data; no quantitative data; long-read


Part 1: My oldest


First, I have a college aged kid and a toddler (life is crazy). When the 20yr old was pre-k aged, I was essentially broke and sent her to a pretty normal, school-based, pre-k. The pre-k was in the basement of a Montessori school and was probably influenced by it, but was definitely not Montessori. From there she went on to a parochial Kindergarten and then to suburban public school for the rest of her pre-college career. She now is a 3.6-ish GPA junior at U of I, so academically, she did fine (not outstanding, but good enough).


The issue, however, in my opinion, was all of the non-academic stuff: low self-esteem, a seeming lack of stake in the outcomes, an inability to make life choices or long-term plans, lack of functional skills (i.e. knowledge of banking and credit, time management) and a general fragility a la Haidt. I was not pushing college on her, but it ultimately seemed like the right call, partly because there was no other plan, but largely because she needed to get out from under her parents and take some responsibility for her future. So far it seems that this has been effective in that she has really started blossoming into a person who has interests and takes initiative and hasn't had an issue with her academics.


The difficult thing to suss out is if any of her success or failure modes had anything to do with pre-k. Maybe? A little bit? Most of the difficulty in her teenage years might be due to a healthy dose of normal juvenile issues coupled with a major personal disruption during her high-school years with her mother's living situation. She definitely seemed to regress somewhere around 14 or 15 and I'm happy that she's getting back on-line, so to speak.


Part 2: My Youngest

That said, my plan for the current kid is a bit reactionary, but largely influenced by my personal circumstances. First, I'm in almost the opposite financial situation and able to absorb both college and pre-k costs, which, 20 years later seem to have sky-rocketed across the board. All formal options (excluding home day-care/pre-k) in my area seem to be in the range of $1-1500/mo. There are probably more affordable options but I haven't researched them. The Montessori was less expensive than the day-care she had been in from 9 months to 2.5 years.


Second, I have a lot more experience with kids and raising them this time around (in addition to child rearing, I've also been a teacher and a youth worker--I like kids and generally prefer them to adults). I'm able to envision the whole school career in a way I couldn't before, therefore it's easier for me to see where the mile-markers are. Also, my wife, child and I have a pretty good, high trust relationship going on. Everyone has a stake in the family functioning and there's little fussing, disobedience, or histrionics; it's really mostly pleasant and fun. I think this has a lot to do with us being older parents who are able to easily align ourselves with the child. To contrast, when my other daughter was little, I was 25 and in a rock band...I had goals and desires that weren't always aligned with hers. My guess is this will have a far bigger impact on my youngest daughter's outcomes than pre-school or even elementary school. Stable home life is no joke!


While, it will be another five years before I have a reasonable gauge of how it went, it seems ok right now, but not amazing. The teacher we were going to have left the school suddenly just prior to us starting and the school's founder and administrator is running the classroom. For some reason my kid has a beef with her and it's a bit of an issue. (It's also an opportunity where I get to teach my toddler that one of the most valuable skills we can learn in life is how to get along with people we dislike). We're going to stick it out and see what happens next, but if my kid still seems to hate it a few months from now, we're going to try something else.


Part 3: What Other People Have Told Me


I've heard plenty of good stories about Montessori, I've also heard that it doesn't work for all kids and the school will tell you if they think your kid needs the structure a more formal school provides. That said, I have two other direct examples of Montessori education.


The first is my coworker who attended Montessori as a kid in the 90's. His trajectory was Montessori pre-k, public school k-12, State University with Masters in CS to a cushy programming gig in the financial sector. He was also an Eagle scout, plays a musical instrument, is an avid gamer and, IMO, a very thoughtful, if soft spoken fellow. He seems to be popular in his group of friends and possibly even the Alpha of his pack (just an observation from going to a few of his parties--he's no 'Alpha' in the strict sense).

He said that he doesn't remember much about it but that it was fun and easy. He thinks his parents had more to do with his upbringing as they were very focused on him hitting certain age appropriate goals (ex. Eagle scouts). My take-away is that there's no telling if it had any benefit.


A second, ex-coworker has his daughter in Montessori at either Kindergarten or 1st grade level and they intend to continue with her at least through elementary. They are avid fans and the mom is very active with the school. Their daughter loves school so much she now takes supplemental classes--on the weekend-- at Northwestern University. In their area, there are Montessori High Schools, so it's possible for their kid to stay in Montessori all the way through to college if they so choose.


The anecdotes they told us were that once some sort of Montessori inflection point is reached, if the kids are put back into public school, they are so far ahead of their peers in terms of discipline and precociousness that school becomes a boring mess where they are surrounded by buffoons. I have no idea how true this is, but I can imagine that if Montessori were successful this would be the expected result.


Part 4: Conclusion


To sum up my feelings about all of this, I'd say that let your wallet be your guide. In terms of pre-K, I sincerely doubt that Montessori will forever impact your child in such a way that you'd regret not sending them. Other pre-k programs seem to be just fine at acculturating children for school and the long-term academic and personal benefits seem modest at best; I'd rank things like diet, rest, exercise and family cohesion as higher.


That said, if your plan was to keep the child going through some sort of alternate education system (i.e. alternate to U.S. public schooling) then you might see some real gains starting around elementary school and possibly rolling off around middle school. These benefits would be mostly in terms of personal development, which should prepare them for more rigorous academic study in a field of their choosing.


There seems to be little downside to Montessori, but the upside is hard to gauge at the pre-k level. If placing you child in Montessori causes familial strife, ex. long commutes, financial burden, then I doubt the cost outweighs the benefit. It's also important to understand that Montessori has fairly high expectations of the parents and your buy-in is important as well.


Let this little rant be the first entry in my diary of a Montessori educated child circa 2020 and I can follow up with observations in a few years after I've accrued some more experience and data.


by ClintonHammond   2019-07-21

No cell phones till 16

No social media until 18

by thearw357   2019-07-21

Cartea vorbește la un moment dat de screen time la adolescenți si cum sunt influențați de el. It's a good read.

by ClintonHammond   2019-07-21

Not even a little bit.

Try reading

And tell me the objections are silly....

Try reading

And tell me the objections are silly.....

by Mr-TotalLoss   2019-07-21

by nasty_nate   2019-07-21

You twice called speech "harmful". Be wary of this line of reasoning; it's led many to stop their ears and rush to a safe space when they could have learned something instead. The first chapter of this book explains it very well.

It's definitely a free speech issue. Speech can be limited by groups other than the government, and maximalist rhetoric about "harm" is a common first step. Find me someone that was actually harmed by what Crews said and I'll recant.

by 0x45454545   2019-01-13

Dette er et fryktelig skummel global (vestlig) trend, og det ser bare ut til å bli verre.

Et nytt studie viste nettopp at polariseringen i USA er verre enn mange tror. Og det blir ikke bedre med det første.

Tverrpolitisk samarbeid er ikke-eksisterende, fiendskapet er ekstremt, det hagler med merkelapper og skjellsord, det er ikke rom for nyanser, det er ekstrem vi-mot-dem-tankegang. Mye er svart-hvitt.

Se f.eks. på Kavanaugh-høringene nå. Twitteren min koker iallfall enda.

Leser Coddling of the American Mind av Jonathan Haidt nå, som ser ut til å toutche litt i innpå noen av fenomene man ser nå. Det gjelder kanskje først og fremst den nye generasjonen (iGen) som nå er kommet opp på universiteter, arbeidsliv og politikk.

Det er trist, mange snakker om polariseringen og ønsker å gjøre noe med det, men ingen ser ut til å vite hva som skal til.

Kanskje forby sosiale medier? :)