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.
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