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7 Hawthorne Child Care and Parenting- General

Nurtureshock: New Thinking about Children

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caroljmadsen, January 14, 2011 (view all comments by caroljmadsen)
This book is incredible - definitely my favorite read of 2010! I usually stick to historical fiction, but this book had just enough anecdotal content plus the research to back it up, that it honestly hit the spot for me. As an elementary school teacher, it was eye-opening to say the least, and as a new mom (as of November 10th, 2010), I found it extremely valuable! I would recommend this book to all parents, grandparents, caretakers, teachers and anyone else who would take the time to not only read it, but commit to the practical application of the some of the concepts discussed.
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frussher, January 6, 2010 (view all comments by frussher)
Fantastic book. Well written and extremely well researched. Makes you realize that much of what we think we know about children just doesn't hold up when fully examined. Very thought provoking. Should be on the bookshelf of every parent.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
lindsey beadle, October 17, 2009 (view all comments by lindsey beadle)
Really, one of the best nonfiction books I have read in a long time. I could barely put it down. Then I made the mistake of loaning it out when I hadn't finished the last chapter and my friend kept it awhile. Then my husband nabbed it the day I got it back. It is a good book! Very well written - easy and enjoyable to read. The subject matter is a nice wake up call to commonly held beliefs about kids. As a new mom I'm sure I will be referencing this book in the near future. If you have any interest in kids at all I'm pretty sure you'll find this book interesting and entertaining!
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Jonathan, October 11, 2009 (view all comments by Jonathan)
A truly surprising book about parenting, based on decades of scientific research rather than "instinct," which is shown again and again to be wrong. I haven't stopped talking about this book since I started reading it, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who has kids or works with kids.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Book Dads, September 20, 2009 (view all comments by Book Dads)
What makes children act more aggressively – watching educational media like Arthur or violent media like Power Rangers? Is childhood obesity more correlated with playing video games or with getting less sleep? Does putting students in multiracial environments really make them less racially biased? Is it more effective to punish children for telling a lie or to reward them for telling the truth? These questions and others are addressed in NurtureShock, which presents the scientific research surrounding a number of issues about parenting our children and challenges us to look at them in a new way.

Bronson & Merryman are veteran science reporters, and it shows. The science here is fully and accurately portrayed, and they demonstrate that just as much can be learned from “failed” experiments as from those that yield an expected result. They also don’t hesitate to discuss areas in which findings are inconclusive or still heavily debated. Above all, they give priority to the actual experimental findings and then look at possible explanations, rather than simply advancing their own pet theories about parenting and children. As a result, this is a book that is long on demonstrable fact and short on preaching.

In addition to presenting the studies and their results in an easily comprehensible and accessible manner, Bronson & Merryman also put a human face on the scientists themselves. They present personal portrayals of many of the scientists involved in this research, and we journey with these researchers through their thought processes as they design experiments and then work to understand the results.

Almost all of the findings presented in NurtureShock are counter-intuitive, and Bronson and Merryman address this problem directly. They discuss not only why some of these findings seem to fly in the face of what we think we understand about children, but also relate their own challenges in trying to put these concepts into practice. One of the recurrent themes in NurtureShock is that by doing what we think is best for our children, we are often achieving the exact opposite result. For example, in the chapter on Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race, Bronson & Ashley look at the practices of not making racial distinctions when talking to young children, and of placing them into multiracially diverse environments. Both practices are intended to reduce interracial bias in children and promote interracial friendship, but paradoxically have no effect or even a negative effect. It turns out that the period of young children’s lives when we assume children are not aware of race and therefore are not talking with them about it is the exact developmental period when they are noticing race and forming their first ideas about it. Similarly, simply being in a multiracial environment is not enough for children to draw their own conclusions about racial equality; improved attitudes about race only emerge when children are engaged directly in explicit teachings about racial issues.

NurtureShock surveys a wide and diverse range of topics in its ten chapters, from teaching babies how to talk, to the nature of teen rebellion. In examining issues like these, Bronson & Ashley uncover two common assumptions that hinder our understanding of child development. The first is that things work the same way for children as they do for adults, and the second is that good traits necessarily ward off and oppose negative behaviors in children. In examining these assumptions through numerous examples, NurtureShock will also challenge your own preconceived notions about parenting and children. This is a useful and eye-opening book, and one that illustrates how science and research can help us to better understand our children and our world. And if you change your approach to parenting based on even one of the ideas in this book, NurtureShock will help make you a better parent too.
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(14 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
 1-5 of 5

Product Details

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Bronson, Po
Merryman, Ashley
Denworth, Lydia
Child rearing
Child Development
Developmental - Child
Children's Studies
Psychology-Child Psychology
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
9 x 6 in 1.3 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology
History and Social Science » Sociology » Children and Family

Nurtureshock: New Thinking about Children Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Twelve - English 9780446504126 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Review A Day" by , "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.'" (Read the entire American Scientist review)
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
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. 

"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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