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NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children [Kindle Edition]

Po Bronson , Ashley Merryman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie? What's the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?
NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we've mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they 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, the authors' work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children's (and adults') lives.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The central premise of this book by Bronson (What Should I Do with My Life?) and Merryman, a Washington Post journalist, is that many of modern society's most popular strategies for raising children are in fact backfiring because key points in the science of child development and behavior have been overlooked. Two errant assumptions are responsible for current distorted child-rearing habits, dysfunctional school programs and wrongheaded social policies: first, things work in children the same way they work in adults and, second, positive traits necessarily oppose and ward off negative behavior. These myths, and others, are addressed in 10 provocative chapters that cover such issues as the inverse power of praise (effort counts more than results); why insufficient sleep adversely affects kids' capacity to learn; why white parents don't talk about race; why kids lie; that evaluation methods for giftedness and accompanying programs don't work; why siblings really fight (to get closer). Grownups who trust in old-fashioned common-sense child-rearing—the definitely un-PC variety, with no negotiation or parent-child equality—will have less patience for this book than those who fear they lack innate parenting instincts. The chatty reportage and plentiful anecdotes belie the thorough research backing up numerous cited case studies, experts' findings and examination of successful progressive programs at work in schools. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers were generally wowed by Bronson and Merryman's breezy synthesis of the latest parenting research. They often favorably contrasted NurtureShock with traditional parenting guides, which seem old-fashioned compared with the authors' cutting-edge approach. But at least one skeptic felt that NurtureShock was just more of the same; the New York Times Book Review noted that every generation has a "revolutionary" book of parental advice, and this one may only seem novel because of a new kind of packaging. Nevertheless, even Pamela Paul found parts of the book interesting, suggesting that there may indeed be something in NurtureShock for everyone.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,290 of 1,321 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not what you think. It's more than you know. July 3, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Parenting books are ubiquitous. How to sift through and determine which are worthy? I have a teenage daughter and have read quite a few. Even when I thought I was impressed, there was always something nagging at me about them. I determined that many of the books had an outside or hidden agenda, which was to socialize parents according to a specific sheep-herding mentality. Often, a social consciousness or a reaction to a negative social consciousness about raising children informed these "manuals." In other words, the science behind the thinking was weak--they were often politically charged or reactionary.

The blurbs about this book intrigued me, but I was also skeptical--until I read the first chapter on the inverse power of praise. Parents and guardians--just get ye to a bookstore and read the first chapter. I think you will be galvanized by its immediacy and logic (as well as back-up data) and it will inspire you to continue. It all clicked when I read about our praise-junkie tendencies, and how it has a paradoxical effect. The authors never condescend to us; they maintain that all of us want to make the best and most informed decisions. For instance, most of us start telling our babies, from the cradle "You are so smart" as almost a mantra of parenting. The authors do not criticize positive praise--they are revealing the data for specific types of praise. Telling a kid he or she is smart rather than specifically praising them for their efforts will eventually backfire. The child will have a tendency to not put out a lot of effort when they are challenged because they are stymied by the feeling that they have to stay smart, or that they must be NOT smart if they can't solve a problem or puzzle.
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364 of 385 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Useful and Flawed Update on Notions of Child Rearing October 5, 2010
Format:Hardcover
NurtureShock, Bronson and Merryman's book about misplaced assumptions in the rearing of children is a worthwhile read for any parent. More a guide for critical thinking about our somewhat whacked out approach to child raising in America (reserving spots in elite preschools before a child is even born) than a guide to raising children, the book presents fresh data, surprising conclusions, and frequent cautions about old assumptions.

NurtureShock joins a new mini-genre of literature that sells by turning old assumptions on their heads, and making us question what we once thought was surely true. Also in this category is Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) and Outliers: The Story of Success.

The book is highly entertaining, and impossible to read without a number of "Ah Hah!" moments, but does have limitations. While presenting powerful evidence that it is best not to dole out generic praise by the boxcar load to children (it actually impairs their performance) the book is at its best. Teachers, by the way, have known this for decades, and good teachers transformed long ago from non-specific cheerleaders (You're doing great!!) to more specific statements ("I like the way you stuck with that math problem until you figured it out"). Similarly, teachers have been acquainted for years with another theme of the book: academic skill testing done prior to the third grade correlates very poorly with academic performance down the line.
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191 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Children Work July 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I learned to cast a suspicious eye toward some who are regarded as childhood "experts" after getting to know the adult offspring of a few prominent figures in the field who were navigating adulthood with considerably more difficulty than the average person. So I particularly like the holes that Bronson and Merryman poke in some of the previously accepted academic theories and trends in child development. I also think that some of the "new" academic data presented in the book is something that many parents will simply (and hopefully) recognize as common sense.

The chapters in the book are all very interesting, covering babies and teens and much of the in between. The chapter on testing for giftedness, which has become a hot button topic of late, is very thought-provoking. I agree with the authors that most gifted programs have run badly amok, but as one who had many years of experience at a private school for highly gifted children, I know that there are children who, in an average school environment, would be teased mercilessly for their ability to relate better to numbers and books than to their classmates. For highly gifted girls in particular, a school such as that can be a very safe place for them to be very smart.

The chapters on false praise, sibling rivalry, teen rebellion and overly-involved parenting speak more to an affirmation of common sense wisdom than to academic breakthroughs, but the research and studies are fun to read nonetheless. The chapters on race, sleep and lying are quite thought-provoking. Overall, the book is well written (not in florid or garbled academia-speak), very well researched, and the authors succeed in offering quite a few new, and fun, things to learn about children.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ground-Breaking Paradigm Shift in Child Development Research and...
I would recommend this book to any parent of a newborn child through college-age. This insightful and heavily researched book has lifted the veil on child development.
Published 8 days ago by EricaTJ3
5.0 out of 5 stars parent intelligently
For the sake of our kids (particularly our adolescents) I rank this as a MUST READ for anyone who works with kids. I try to be a research-based, best practice parent. Read more
Published 9 days ago by QueenBilleen
5.0 out of 5 stars great words
Wow. I changed my parenting style after just the first chapter. Thanks for the inspiring words - I've already had positive results.
Published 9 days ago by Makenna
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Understanding on Human Development
This book had MANY AHA'S - powerful - I will eventually invest much more in a detailed review - powerful book on human development. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Victoria M. Wall
4.0 out of 5 stars good read for parents
Interesting concepts presented but not a good deep dive into the subjects. My book club complained that they got info but not suggestions on what to do with it to how to handle the... Read more
Published 14 days ago by OC Student
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as excited about this as I thought I would be
This book certainly seems on the money, especially the chapter about praise, but most of it also seems like common sense. It felt a little MalcolmGladwellesque--i.e. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Atara
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Life changer as a mom and a teacher. This book is a mist read for all individuals who may have a chance to impact the lives of others.
Published 25 days ago by amazing
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very useful
Published 26 days ago by Benjamin S. Franklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Parental Education before considering children
I have often remarked when upset with inept parenting, "there should be a licensed required of couples, prior to having kids. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Diderot
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot Recommend This Enough
My husband read it first and it blew his mind. Then I read it and honestly, I had no idea. NO idea. I lent it to a friend and haven't gotten it back yet but she is riveted at this... Read more
Published 1 month ago by SelinaB5
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