Saturday, January 12, 2013

CBR5 #1 Nurture Shock by PO Bronson and Ashley Merryman

One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library's worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring--because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.
January Book Club Selection

"It's when children are at their most mysterious that we, their caregivers, can learn something new." This sentence is the very last one in the conclusion of this book and it really captured the tone of the book well.

During my pregnancy, I didn't read many parenting or twin books.  It was hard for me to think about what life with my two girls would be like.  Now that they are born and I'm learning what it means to be a full-time (right now) mom, I am curious to read more parenting books.  So when Nurture Shock was chosen for book club, I dove right into the book.

The term "Nurture Shock" refers to the panic, common among new parents, that the mythical fountain of knowledge is not magically kicking in at all. Reviewing many different research studies, the authors found that most of the noteworthy insights into child development were revealed when two assumptions were dropped:

  1. Things work in children the same way that they work in adults.
  2. Positive traits necessarily oppose and ward off negative behavior in children. 
The authors explore the effect of losing one hour of sleep, why children lie, the impact of siblings, language development, talking about race, the inverse power of praise and testing for the gifted program.  Even though a lot of research was presented throughout the book, the authors had a way of framing the studies with real world examples to help explain what the research found.  

While some of the topics are not relevant for my parenting situation right now, I do feel that I learned more about how a child's brain works.  The language chapter was extremely interesting to me as it explained different methods to helping increasing your child's vocabulary. The chapter on praise definitely was eye-opening as well.  Even someone who is not a parent, but is interested in how a child's brain works would find this book interesting. 

This book was also my first adventure with an e-book.  As the e-book craze has grown over the past couple of years, I resisted getting an e-reader and continued to just read paper books.  But after reading magazines on my iPad, I decided to try out reading a book on the iPad.  I like that I can highlight different sentences as I read - which is helpful for non-fiction reading. And reading e-books has been easier than paper books while holding my daughter.  

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