Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review: Nuture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

genre: non-fiction

I heard about this one over at Library Queue and I knew it was something that would interest me, so THANKS Tricia, for the tip :)

This is the book for people who are ready to look outside the box of common parenting advice. As far as "parenting books" go, I'm not really even sure this fits into that category - it's more of a round-up what actual empirical evidence is currently saying regarding the development of children and teens. Much of the text is describing studies that were done and the results - which is fascinating to me, but may be too "scientific" for some readers. This isn't to say, though, that it's all studies and science - the tone of the book is casual enough, with enough anecdotal information to be really accessible. Here are the chapters that were most interesting to me:

*The Lost Hour (the importance of sleep for children)
*The Inverse Power of Praise (which I've read some about, but this wrapped it up is a more concise package)
*Can Self-Control Be Taught (WOW, this made me have a lot to think about, I think I even want to read this section again)
*Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn't (of all the chapters, I think this one felt the most "parenting book"-like. It's about how to encourage language in your children, some really interesting info in that chapter)

And really, I guess I could just write down ALL the chapters, since there was so much information in this one! I kept having to talk to my husband about ideas (when he hadn't stolen the book from me to read it himself!). The most important idea I came away from was the fact that I need to be aware of what assumptions I'm making as a parent - that just because something seems logical doesn't necessarily mean it's a parenting best-practice. Specific ideas I am taking away from this book:

*I want to encourage my children to correct and fix their own work whenever possible
*Don't feel like sleep is something I can bargain with
*talk specifically about race whenever I can, not assume that my kids will "get" that the color of your skin does not your personality determine
*THE BIGGIE: when my kids are fighting about something, I am going to try NOT to just get fed up and say EACH OF YOU GO TO YOUR ROOMS, I will instead talk it out and work it out until a resolution is made (tried it this morning and it is more empowering, if more time consuming :) - and if Clint and I have arguments, I want to try harder to get to a resolution in front of the kids too, so they can see that we know how to make things right when we get upset.

In the end, I think it is a really interesting read, but in some ways, I came away from it feeling almost...too much. Like maybe there is just too much I don't know and that I'm doing too much wrong and that even science is constantly contradicting itself! I do, however, feel more informed and more aware, so that's a good thing. Plus, it really was a pleasure to read.


bermudaonion said...

This book sounds so good. I can't wait to read it, even though my baby is 22 years old.

morninglight mama said...

I'm slowly making my way through this book, and the next chapter up is the Self-Control one. I know that I have to pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to this chapter, and perhaps read it two or fifteen times... this is definitely one of the most talked about books this year!

Tricia said...

I noticed I could change a lot of the same things as you--parent conflict resolution in front of the kids and talking about race with my kids. I'm glad this is a book I own because I know I'll get back to it. I'm glad you found it a useful read!

c-reyn said...

That's the tough part about science. It contradicts itself and has been wrong so many times, but you look at the evidence and the experiments and hope what you end up thinking is valid is something you should act on.

I hope some of the stuff in there is useful and valid.

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