NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
Title: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
Authors: Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
Publisher: New York : Twelve, 2009
Call Number: HQ772 .B8455 2009
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.
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s New York Magazine articles on the science of parenting won the magazine journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Clarion Award. Their articles for Time Magazine have won the award for outstanding journalism from the Council on Contemporary Families. Prior to collaborating, Bronson authored five books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do With My Life? Merryman’s journalism has appeared in The Washington Post and The National Catholic Reporter. Bronson lives in San Francisco, with his wife and two children. Merryman lives in Los Angeles, where she runs a church-based tutoring program for inner-city children.
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