Stephanie's Reviews > NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

NurtureShock by Po Bronson
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Aug 30, 11

Read in August, 2011

I am giving this three stars because it was a well-written and provocative book with some (perhaps) useful takeaways to use with my kids. But! Sometimes I wanted to throw it across the room. Because it's like a Freakonomics or maybe Malcolm Gladwell for kid-issues, it's constantly turning common assumptions upside down, often based on the results of A Study. I am never sure how much weight to give A Study, so ultimately I feel more confused than ever about things I should be doing/saying to my children. For example, here are a few things I have been doing routinely that the book says are definitely bad:

1. Telling my kids that they are smart. (Orenstein says no telling them they're pretty; now no telling them they're smart, either? Can I . . . still tell them they run fast? Is our nightly "G'night! Love you! See you in the morning!" imparting some dire message?

2. Limiting TV viewing to PBS. Educational television viewing (read: PBS) (read: the only television we let our kids watch, really) increases bad/cruel behavior in children even more than violent behavior is correlated with violent television.

3. When arguing about something with my husband, giving each other "the look" when we notice the girls are listening, and saying, "We'll talk about this later." Apparently here I am failing to let my children see compromise/resolution in action . . .

4. Emphasizing honesty.

5. Routinely asking children to name or focus on things/people they are grateful for. (Not that this is bad, per se, but studies show that it is not correlated with long-term happiness or satisfaction.)

I don't know. I'm either going to go back through the parts I marked and try to put some new rules into practice, or just throw the book at the wall and try to forget I read it.
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