7.25.2011

NurtureShock

Last week I read the book NurtureShock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

I loved the book and got through it really quickly.  I hesitate in calling it a "parenting book," because even though it talked about children and parenting, it seemed more grounded in science and statistics-- which may sound boring, but it absolutely wasn't.  It actually reminds me a lot of the book Freakanomics, which I also really enjoyed.

In each chapter I found valuable information, with easily applicable methods and ideas.  It also completely changed my thinking about certain areas of childhood development (like why siblings fight and lie), and really piqued my interest in areas that I was completely oblivious to before (like gifted programs in school, and the Tools of the mind program based on the theories of Vygotskian).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with or is around children on a regular basis.  Here are the chapters and headings, so you can get a better idea of some of the topics covered in the book:

Introduction
        Why our instincts about children can be so off the mark.
  1. THE INVERSE POWER OF PRAISE   Sure, he's special.  But new research suggests if you tell him that, you'll ruin him.  It's a neurobiological fact.
  2. THE LOST HOUR  Around the world, children get an hour less sleep than they did thirty years ago.  The cost:  IQ points, emotional well-being, ADHD, and obesity.
  3. WHY WHITE PARENTS DON'T TALK ABOUT RACE  Does teaching children about race and skin color make them better off or worse?
  4. WHY KIDS LIE  We may treasure honesty, but the research is clear.  Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars.
  5. THE SEARCH FOR INTELLIGENT LIFE IN KINDERGARTEN  Millions of kids are competing for seats in gifted programs and private schools.  Admissions officers say it's an art:  new science says they're wrong, 73% of the time.
  6. THE SIBLING EFFECT  Freud was wrong.  Shakespeare was right.  Why siblings really fight.
  7. THE SCIENCE OF TEEN REBELLION  Why, for adolescents, arguing with adults is a sign of respect, not disrespect-- and arguing is constructive to the relationship, not destructive.
  8. CAN SELF-CONTROL BE TAUGHT?  Developers of a new kind of preschool keep loosing their grant money-- the students are so successful they're no longer "at-risk enough" to warrant further study.  What's their secret?
  9. PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS  Why modern involved parenting has failed to produce a generation of angels
  10. WHY HANNAH TALKS AND ALYSSA DOESN'T  Despite scientists' admonitions, parents still spend billions every year on gimmicks and videos, hoping to jump-start infants' language skills.  What's the right way to accomplish this goal?
CONCLUSION
         The Myth of the Supertrait.