"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Friday, November 26, 2010

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Please note: Links pointing to Amazon contain my affiliate ID. Sales resulting from clicks on those links will earn me a percentage of the purchase price. So buy and read now!

Summary: Nurtureshock challenges many accepted modern parenting beliefs by sharing case studies and research.
"Nurtureshock," as the term is generally used, refers to the panic - common among new parents- that the mythical foundation of knowledge is not magically kicking in at all.
I was hoping this book would simply say: Calm down, parents, but instead it actually made me more nervous. (I think I'll have to reread Free-Range Kids, now.) Since Po Bronson is also the author of What Should I do with My Life?, I had hoped that Nurtureshock would end up being more like How Should I Parent My Kid? but it feels scold-y and superior.

Each chapter states a commonly held parenting belief - My kid doesn't lie; PBS television is better than regular TV; Gifted kids always stay gifted; Siblings make for better adults - and tears them down. It opens with the oft-repeated conventional wisdom, then uses a specific case study of one child to disprove that theory. Then comes a fairly obscure and limited research project that invalidates the original (wrong) belief.   The research answers are encouraging, but somehow they just don't make for sexy headlines.

If you're an insecure parent who relies on lots of statistics, this book will appeal to you. If you feel able to buck parenting trends and have one or two parenting books that make sense to you, you can skip this book without feeling like you're missing anything.

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