Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Review: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Book: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

About: Bronson and Merryman present research showing that many parenting "instincts" are dead wrong. Racism, praise, language, lying, intelligence, rebelling and self-control are all covered.

Some Neat Things I Learned:
  • Praising a child for being smart is detrimental, praising them for specific actions or working hard is better. 
  • Sleep is really important. Not enough sleep can  make kids and teens stupid and fat. Thus, high schools should start later.
  • Kids lie. A whole lot.
  • Kids' brains develop at highly different rates. So if they take intelligence tests before 3rd grade, the results are meaningless. Therefore, elite private schools who test young kids for entrance to their school are not only taking in tons of kids who's brains will grow slowly and fall below their standards, they are missing "slow blooming" smart kids.
  • Responding to a child's babbling and vocalizations frequently greatly increases language acquisition.

Pros: Fascinating and amazingly interesting, even for someone without kids or isn't planning on having them. Chapter on language is especially engaging.

Cons: Will probably make you feel like a bad parent. Breaks the high school writing tip of "don't introduce new information in the conclusion." No in-text cites. There's further information on some chapter material in the notes section at the back but they were not mentioned in the beginning of the book, so I missed them. Only selected resources and references provided.

Grade: A-

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