NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

My sons are all grown up, but a friend told me that I should still read NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.

She said that I would agree with the basic premise that many of our popular strategies for raising children are bad strategies.

She might have been thinking that even though it's too late for me on child-rearing, I still have grandchildren to take care of in my future.

Plus, there are also implications for school programs and I am still in that business.

What are these problems? One is the inverse power of praise. We give too much praise and let effort count more than actual results.

I wrote about that idea last summer in a piece called "School As T-Ball"  where I worried about that ball-playing philosophy where everyone bats, no one gets out and both teams win.

The book also takes on why insufficient sleep adversely affects kids' capacity to learn; why white parents don't talk about race; why kids lie; why evaluation methods for giftedness and gifted programs don't work; and why siblings really fight.

Reviewers seem to have been fairly kind to the book. But there were those who disagreed - like the New York Times Book Review that felt that every generation seems to have a "revolutionary" book of parental advice (see Dr. Spock) and that all that's new here is the "packaging."

I'll give it a read. But I'm still very likely to cheer on my grandkids if they play tee-ball, no matter what the book says.

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