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Nurtureshock: New Thinking about Childrenby Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Though rarely would I refer to a parenting book as a "page turner," NurtureShock is just that fascinating. Bronson and Merryman call on neuroscience to show how conventional parenting wisdom often doesn't jive with the biological reality of a child's brain. If you want to learn the science behind how to best praise your child, or understand why teenage rebellion is a good thing, read this book.
Extraordinarily well-researched, Nurtureshock will change the way you parent or teach! I'm not either of those things, but it definitely changed the way I think about kids. Fascinating, gripping, and really a must-have for everyone who deals with kids.
"Together, Bronson and Merryman have written about parenting and social science in online columns for Time and Newsweek and in articles for New York magazine. Three chapters in NurtureShock are adapted from their New York articles....Bronson and Merryman explain in the introduction that they are using the term nurture shock to refer to 'the panic — common among new parents — that the mythical fountain of knowledge is not magically kicking in.' And they warn that the information in the book will deliver a shock, by revealing that 'our bedrock assumptions about kids can no longer be counted on.'" Ethan Remmel, American Scientist (Read the entire American Scientist review)
Synopses & Reviews
In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie? What's the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?
NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we've mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring — because key twists in the science have been overlooked.
Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors' work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children's (and adults') lives.
"The central premise of this book by Bronson (What Should I Do with My Life?) and Merryman, a Washington Post journalist, is that many of modern society's most popular strategies for raising children are in fact backfiring because key points in the science of child development and behavior have been overlooked. Two errant assumptions are responsible for current distorted child-rearing habits, dysfunctional school programs and wrongheaded social policies: first, things work in children the same way they work in adults and, second, positive traits necessarily oppose and ward off negative behavior. These myths, and others, are addressed in 10 provocative chapters that cover such issues as the inverse power of praise (effort counts more than results); why insufficient sleep adversely affects kids' capacity to learn; why white parents don't talk about race; why kids lie; that evaluation methods for 'giftedness' and accompanying programs don't work; why siblings really fight (to get closer). Grownups who trust in 'old-fashioned' common-sense child-rearing — the definitely un-PC variety, with no negotiation or parent-child equality — will have less patience for this book than those who fear they lack innate parenting instincts. The chatty reportage and plentiful anecdotes belie the thorough research backing up numerous cited case studies, experts' findings and examination of successful progressive programs at work in schools. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A provocative collection of essays popularizing recent research that challenges conventional wisdom about raising children.... A skilled, accessible presentation of scientific research in layman's language." Kirkus Reviews
"NurtureShock is one of the most important books you will read this year. Bronson and Merryman move parenting out of the realm of folklore and into the realm of science — and reveal what decades of studies teach us about the complexities of raising, happy, healthy, self-motivated kids. As a writer, I was impressed by the prodigious research and keen analysis. As a father, I was consumed with taking notes and exhilarated by all I learned." Daniel H. Pink
Award-winning science journalists Bronson and Merryman argue that when it comes to children, parents have mistaken good intentions for good ideas. The authors demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring.
This groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Bronson and Merryman demonstrates that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are, in fact, backfiring because key twists in the science have been overlooked.
An investigation into the science of hearing, child language acquisition, neuroplasticity, brain development, and Deaf culture.
A mother notices her toddler is not learning to talk the way his brothers did Is something wrong? Her search for answers is a journey into the mysteries of the human brain.
Lydia Denworths third son, Alex, was nearly two when he was identified with significant hearing loss that was likely to get worse. Her sweet boy with the big brown eyes had probably never heard her lullabies.
Denworth knew the importance of enrichment to the developing brain but had never contemplated the opposite: Deprivation. How would a childs brain grow outside the world of sound most of us take for granted? How would he communicate? Would he learn to read and write—werent phonics a key to literacy? How long did they have until Alexs brain changed irrevocably? In her drive to understand the choices—starting with the angry debate between supporters of American Sign Language and the controversial but revolutionary cochlear implant—Denworth soon found that every decision carried weighty scientific, social and even political implications. As she grappled with the complex collisions between the emerging field of brain plasticity, the possibilities of modern technology, and the changing culture of the Deaf community, she gained a new appreciation of the exquisite relationship between sound, language and learning. It became clear that Alexs ears—and indeed everyones—were just the beginning.
An acclaimed science journalist as well as a mother, Denworth interviewed the worlds experts on language development, inventors of ground-breaking technology, Deaf leaders, and neuroscientists at the frontiers of research. She presents insights from studies of everything from at-risk kids in Head Start to noisy cocktail party conversation, from songbirds to signal processing, and from the invention of the telephone to sign language.
Weaving together tales from the centuries-long quest to develop the cochlear implant and simultaneous leaps in neuroscientific knowledge against a tumultuous backdrop of identity politics, I Can Hear You Whisper shows how sound sculpts our childrens brains and the life changing consequences of that delicate process.
An investigation into the science of hearing, child language acquisition, neuroplasticity, brain development, and Deaf culture spurred by Lydia Denworths discovery that her son couldnt hear her lullabies and the familys life-altering decision to give him a cochlear implant.
Lydia Denworths third son, Alex, was almost two when he was diagnosed with profound and progressive hearing loss. As both a science writer and the mother of young children, Denworth was steeped in messages about the importance of enrichment to the developing brain. She became determined to do whatever it took to allow Alex to hear and acquire spoken language, a quest that ultimately led to a controversial piece of emergent superhero technology”: the cochlear implant.
In this engrossing journey to the frontiers of science, readers will learn why sound is so important to the developing brain, what new possibilities come from the latest research, and what exactly is going on when you focus your hearing at a cocktail party. Denworth goes beyond her personal experience with her son, interviewing the worlds leading experts on child language development and hearing technology, leaders in the deaf community, and neuroscientists.
I Can Hear You Whisper weaves together Alexs story with the tales of two scientific revolutions: the centuries-long quest to develop the cochlear implant and sciences changing understanding of the brains remarkable plasticity—all told against the sometimes-incendiary backdrop of identity politics and medical ethics.
About the Author
LYDIA DENWORTH is a former Newsweek reporter, London bureau chief at People, and professor of journalism at Fordham. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Child, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
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