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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.
The founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, Professor Dana Suskind, explains why the most importantand#151;and astoundingly simpleand#151;thing you can do for your childand#8217;s future success in life is to talk to him or her, reveals the recent science behind this truth, and outlines precisely how parents can best put it into practice.
The research is in: Academic achievement begins on the first day of life with the first word said by a cooing mother just after delivery.
A study by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley in 1995 found that some children heard thirty million fewer words by their fourth birthdays than others. The children who heard more words were better prepared when they entered school. These same kids, when followed into third grade, had bigger vocabularies, were stronger readers, and got higher test scores. This disparity in learning is referred to as the achievement gap.
Professor Dana Suskind, MD, learned of this thirty million word gap in the course of her work as a cochlear implant surgeon at University of Chicago Medical School and began a new research program along with her sister-in-law, Beth Suskind, to find the best ways to bridge that gap.and#160;The Thirty Million Word Initiative has developed programs for parents to show the kind of parent-child communication that enables optimal neural development and has tested the programs in and around Chicago across demographic groups.and#160;They boil down to getting parents to follow the three Ts: Tune in to what your child is doing; Talk more to your child using lots of descriptive words; and Take turns with your child as you engage in conversation.and#160;Parents are shown how to make the words they serve up more enriching. For example, instead of telling a child, and#147;Put your shoes on,and#8221; one might say instead, and#147;It is time to go out. What do we have to do?and#8221; The lab's new five-year longitudinal research program has just received funding so they can further corroborate their results.and#160;
The neuroscience of brain plasticity is some of the most valuable and revolutionary medical science being done today. It enables us to think and do better.and#160;It is making a difference in the lives of both the old and young.and#160; If you care for children, this landmark book is essential reading.
One of the most influential books about children ever published, NurtureShock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library's worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors 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, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.
Released in hardcover in September 2009, NurtureShock remained on the New York Times best seller list for three months, and was one of Amazon's best selling books for 2009. The book has become a worldwide phenomenon with editions published around the world - in fifteen languages, to date.
In addition to Bronson and Merryman's writings on praise — first made famous in New York magazine — there are nine more equally groundbreaking chapters. Among the topics covered:
Why the most brutal person in a child's life is often a sibling, and how a single aspect of their preschool-aged play can determine their relationship as adults.
When is it too soon - or too late - to teach a child about race? Children in diverse schools are less likely to have a cross-racial friendship, not more - so is school diversity backfiring?
Millions of families are fighting to get their kids into private schools and advanced programs as early as possible. But schools are missing the best kids, 73% of the time - the new neuroscience explains why.
Why are kids - even those from the best of homes - still aggressive and cruel? The answer is found in a rethinking of parental conflict, discipline, television's unexpected influence, and social dominance.
Parents are desperate to jump-start infants' language skills. Recently, scientists have discovered a series of natural techniques that are astonishing in their efficacy - it's not baby videos, sign language, or even the richness of language exposure. It's nothing you've heard before.
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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