Elizabeth's Reviews > NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

NurtureShock by Po Bronson
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's review
Nov 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: education, mamalove
Read in December, 2009

Originally a magazine article focusing on the science of parenting, this engaging (and highly readable) book looks at parenting from the realm of science.

Most important research findings:
Things do not work the same for children as they do in adults (and) positive traits do not ward off negative behavior in kids (a good kid still can be dishonest or engage in relational aggression).

In short:
A child who is dishonest is (also) showing signs of intelligence and social savvy. And, while praise works wonders for adults, it can undermine a child's intrinsic motivation. In other words, it is because adults like praise so much that they have lavished it on their kids (intuiting it would be beneficial).

Yes, you just read the above correctly.

Research also informs us:
Why kids lie, that praise is not the end-all-be-all (really!), sleep is THAT important, why kids from "good homes" are aggressive or mean, and proves that language exposure, sign language, and baby videos are not as effective as certain natural techniques.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Deb (new) - added it

Deb Sounds like a good book, Elizabeth, similar to the Self Esteem Trap (or what ever that one was called). One thing I loved about Montessori was the lack of empty praise - or the lack of praise of any kind. If anything was said, it was centered on hard work and effort. I think that's why my kids feel so patronized by some teachers in the public system.


message 2: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Sounds fascinating, but something I'd be wary of reading now, lest I discover we did everything incorrectly! (Well, not everything: we didn't over-praise him, and at 18, he seems to be turning out OK...)


switterbug (Betsey) I really loved this book. I reviewed it for Amazon pre-pub, and I guess due to the response my review got, I was invited to attend a gathering in my city, where the authors of the book talked about the book. I think this book can be really transformative for parents.


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen " that language exposure, sign language, and baby videos are not as effective as certain natural techniques.
I'm curious: what certain natural techniques?


switterbug (Betsey) They mean: to have someone in the house, or who comes to the house regularly, teach the child a foreign language. Being exposed to someone who interacts with you personally, rather than a Sesame Street video that speaks snippets of, say, Spanish.


message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen Aha! Thanks.


switterbug (Betsey) True immersion...


Elizabeth Cecily wrote: "Sounds fascinating, but something I'd be wary of reading now, lest I discover we did everything incorrectly! (Well, not everything: we didn't over-praise him, and at 18, he seems to be turning out ..."

sorry I missed your comment so long ago- i seem to have this problem sometimes here on goodreads. i understand about being wary. we are quite vulnerable as parents; no? :)


Elizabeth switterbug (Betsey) wrote: "I really loved this book. I reviewed it for Amazon pre-pub, and I guess due to the response my review got, I was invited to attend a gathering in my city, where the authors of the book talked about..."

did you attend? i am off to read your review now. again sorry for this late response. i somehow missed everyone's comments. aaack.


Elizabeth Deb wrote: "Sounds like a good book, Elizabeth, similar to the Self Esteem Trap (or what ever that one was called). One thing I loved about Montessori was the lack of empty praise - or the lack of praise of a..."

i once heard a teacher praise a student for choosing a certain activity at recess. way to make a good choice, eli! wall ball it is...


Elizabeth Elizabeth wrote: "Deb wrote: "Sounds like a good book, Elizabeth, similar to the Self Esteem Trap (or what ever that one was called). One thing I loved about Montessori was the lack of empty praise - or the lack of..."

I should have added that to his credit he looked at her like she was looneytunes.


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