Tag Archives: parenting

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Nurtureshock : new thinking about children

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Alternative title to this book could be:

  • All Your Instincts About Parenting are Wrong
  • This is How We Unknowingly Harm Our Kids

Nurture Shock has been a New York Times Bestselling title and made a number of waves when it was first publishes. Bronson and Merryman discuss a myriad of topics and parental instincts that are actually damaging to our children. Some of the notable elements are:

– Call our children smart. This forces smart kids to cut back on effort for fear of failure. Praise their efforts and see their grades and comprehension rise.

– The entire concept of the US school system is designed to be convenient for adults, not the kids. School starts early so that teachers & parents can avoid traffic. All that testing done to get your kid into preschool has no merit and is not a fair assessment as kids mental capabilities are not linear.

– Educational shows produce more aggression in shows that regular TV. Why? Because of the large number of insults, jests and nuanced bullying that is unresolved. Most American TV shows are centered on witty rebarbs and smart comebacks. While that may well work for adults, children don’t really understand the difference. They see someone be insulting without any reprimand. Just look at DW in the TV show Arthur.

Other topics discussed are: lying, self-esteem, teen rebellion, sibling relationships, how kids view race, aggression and language acquisition. To say that I really enjoyed this audio book is an understatement. What Bronson and Merryman do is dig through an enormous amount of studies to give us the main bullet points. Much of what is good for our kids is counter to our natural beliefs and counter to the society that has been established for these kids. The language acquisition segment was perhaps my favorite and I have been trying many of the suggestions made by Bronson’s and Merryman’s observations with great success with my son. I just really wish that his focus hadn’t been on mono-lingual girls. I’ve already heard that boys have a slower language acquisition rate, and after this book, I’m still wondering if that’s true. What about kids who are raising in a bilingual home? Where does their rate of language acquisition fall? Other than the fact that by the age of 1, children have filtered out all other language to focus on the ones they hear daily, I don’t know much about this topic. Maybe there are no studies done on it, but learning about rich girls learning to talk eloquently at 15 months does not relate at all to my situation.

This is a great book for parents and falls into the topic of parenting books that I generally like to read. Fact-based discussions of scholarly social studies.

If you liked Nurture Shock, then I readily recommend these titles as well:

 

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French Twist – Catherine Crawford

French twist : an American mom's experiment in Parisian parentingFrench Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment In Parisian Parenting
Age: Adult
Genre: Memoir, French parenting, Non-Fiction
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviews (via Random House)
Publisher: Random House, 2013
ISBN: 9780345533265, 240 pages

Find this book at your local library

Catherine Crawford had an epiphany one night when her French friends came over for dinner along with their two, very well-behaved children. Catherine then realized that French children are overall more obedient, patient and mature than American children with hovering parents. She set out to find out the secrets of French parenting and apply them to her own family’s life in New York.

As an new mom and a person obsessed with all things French, I figured this book would be right up my alley. Unlike Bringing Up Bebe byPamela Druckerman and French Kids Eat Everything by Karen le Billon, French Twist is a take on French parenting in the US, with US rules and customs. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really provide me with any insights on how to incorporate French parenting techniques.

For all the potential this book had, it really, really fell short. I think the biggest obstacle for me was Crawford’s pose. It felt like the book was written by a very energetic 5-year-old who wants to tell you everything they learned in school that day in less than 5 minutes. I think the book could have benefited from more editing. Her style was filled with a number of asides, very few details and massive amounts of generalizations. After having completed the book, all I took away from it is that she “got French” and her life is more serene when dealing with her children.

Some may like Crawford’s chatty style and will connect with her very New York personality, but for me, the gap was too wide. Of the three books, French Kids Eat Everything provides the most balanced analysis between US and French parenting, but Bringing Up Bebe, particularly Bebe Day by Day, provide the most succinct and repeatable advice on French parenting.