NurtureShock: Surprising Parenting Advice

Did you know that childhood obesity and ADHD could be linked to sleep deprivation?  Or that fear of punishment will make kids more likely to lie?  Or that recess is critical to a child’s ability to learn – not just a chance to blow off steam?  Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explore these, and many more counter-intuitive facts in the science of child-development in their book NurtureShock (released in 2009 by TwelveBooks Publishing), a must-read for anyone involved with children.

The authors had not intended to write a book about the science of child development.  In fact, they were researching an article about adult motivation when they stumbled upon a study that showed, contrary to most parental instincts, that praising a child for being “smart” could actually undermine his self-confidence.  This made them wonder what else, among their parenting philosophies, could be off-base.  The result is a thought-provoking exploration of current scientific investigations, including the understanding of racial differences, intelligence testing, self-control, sibling relationships and communication skills.

Because both authors are parents and writers, not scientists, they ask two critical questions that help make this book such a success: “what matters to me, as a parent,” and “how can I make it interesting?”  The book never gets bogged down in jargon or in too much detail; rather, it lightly skips along, deftly touching on various studies and research, leaving the reader feeling informed and fascinated.

While I must admit my one-year-old is flagrantly ignoring my efforts to employ the lessons I learned from the section on language development, I still feel better prepared for the first time he blatantly denies stealing a cookie, with the crumbs still hanging from his chin.  This is an amazing read and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in what’s going on inside those little brains around us.

For more information, visit www.nurtureshock.com.

Meghan Thompson & Conall

After exploring five careers in five cities in just over five years, Meghan Thompson has built up a wealth of knowledge about what she does not want to do with her life (including teaching, politics, banking, communications and PR). Meghan is finally doing what she does want to do (writing) where she wants to do it (in England) with the support of her husband, the amazing “rugby bloke” and their incredible son, “Sir Grinsalot,” who joined them in October 2009.

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One Response to NurtureShock: Surprising Parenting Advice

  1. Patricia Sexton says:

    Great article: informative read about an informative read. Especially like the part where Thompson boils down what makes the book so great (asking the critical questions). It seems she does that herself in writing about a book doing the same.

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