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on March 31, 2018
I read this when my son was 3 (he's 12 now, in 6th grade), and as soon as I was done reading it told my husband, "don't EVER praise him for being smart ... only for effort!" So ever since, we've been telling him "I can see you tried really hard at that!" The results have been incredible. He's self-motivated, a hard worker, and straight-A student (we never put pressure on him, only care about the effort he puts in). I recommend buying this book for yourself or any new parents in your life.
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on April 12, 2013
The main thesis of this book is that scientific/psychological studies done with children have failed disastrously in one single area, namely that children are not adults but have been studied as such from the get go. The authors suggest something drastic--maybe you can't believe any of the common beliefs we've come to hold about children, especially ones gleaned through scientific research.

From whether spanking really does cause aggression in children (turns out only if the parents treat it as a punishment they are uncomfortable with rather than matter of fact) to the largely accepted belief that kids are fat today because they watch too much TV (not true...leisure activity is simply replaced with another leisure activity; turn off the TV and your kid will just go find something else sedentary to do) to why it's important to get your kid to bed early even if it means you miss time with them (unlike adults their brains grow while they sleep), this book will throw everything you thought you knew about kids on its ear.

I consider this book a must read for any parent. Each chapter covers a specific subject (such as why white parents don't talk to their kids about race), the underlying assumptions that cause the belief, what scientific studies got us thinking that way and why that science is wrong and why we need to change our beliefs. I found this book so convincing, I immediately began clearing my head of all the old ignorance and approaching my parenting with the new science in mind.

If Temple Grandin is a must read if you have animals or have an autistic child or family member (and I think she is) then this book is a must read if you have or are planning to have children. The writing was entertaining, even humorous, and the science was easy to follow. Five stars, no doubt.
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on July 1, 2017
Excellent resource for parents who are interested in the results of scientific studies on motivation and such in children. I was surprised to learn that on several mainstream topics, what is popularly thought to encourage is, in fact, demotivating to children. An eye opening book that made me wish I could go back and re-raise my kids.
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on January 10, 2014
Honestly, I haven't finished this book yet (about 1/2 way through) but it's so great. I originally checked it out from the library, thinking it would be a good one-time read. I quickly realized though that I needed my own copy of this book to mark up and reference in the future, so I purchased.

The best thing I can say about this book is that while it corrects your (mistaken) assumptions, it does so kindly and without putting the reader down. I don't know how they do it, because while I can explain some of the concepts very easily with the same facts and data, when I do it, it comes across as "you've been doing this wrong," while in the book it never does.

I also love their real-world advice and applications. Both authors are, I believe, parents, and they frequently reference towards the end of each chapter how they took their learnings and applied it to their own children. I found these to be the most helpful parts of the books (and the ones that I will mark for future reference.) For example, when talking about education, they highlight a program and talk about its principles. After hearing about the great results, I look up if there are any schools in my area offering this program, but there unfortunately aren't. However, the authors talk about they personally implemented the ideas from the program with their own children (for example, having the child review his own work and grading himself), which I found to be incredibly useful. While one could read the book and figure out how to apply the learnings in real life, I like that the authors (who are presumably more knowledgeable than me), have already done that for me.
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on August 30, 2010
I just finished reading Nurture Shock for my book group (comprised of other mothers) and it is eye-opening. I agree with another reviewer that some of the chapters left me frustrated about things I feel somewhat helpless to change, but the compelling arguments have definitely motivated me to try. There are actually a few chapters I am going to share w/the staff and other parents of my older son's pre-school/day care program (I think this book should be required reading for all the staff and teachers at the school, which is a really fantastic and progressive school, but I'm sure they get this from parents all the time so I'll have to try to temper my excitement). The chapter I found most relevant for them was about Tools of the Mind, the pre-school and kindergarten curriculum that talks about how pretend play is the way young kids master symbolic representation, which is necessary for all academic coursework. This is one area I'm going to do a little more research about on my own and then talk to the school about implementing. I hope they're open to the idea, because I just can't stop thinking about the difference in results between the kids who were given curriculum and the ones who were not. One of the other really enlightening chapters for me was about teaching diversity to kids - not just having kids in a multiculturally diverse environment, which we do by default, but explicitly talking to kids about how wrong it is to judge people for their skin color. This is something they can easily do in school and we can certainly do at home. I was too afraid to say anything wrong but I realize that not saying anything at all would be worse. Then, there was a chapter about sleep deprivation and how each lost hour of sleep is exponentially damaging to kids, which really hit home for me since we often get our kids to sleep well past bedtime. Anyway, the findings in the book are so relevant and important to children of all ages that I feel compelled to tell everyone I know about it. Plus, it's a real page-turner, not at all like the textbooks we had to read in school!
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on August 21, 2017
It was entertaining and I learned some things, but it was light and not as much information as I expected. I am a counselor and I work primarily with kids and their parents. I found the book interesting, but not really helpful for my practice. It is accessible for most people, though, and not just for professionals. I would recommend it to some of my parents.
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on October 4, 2013
This was recommended by Amazon after I read "Brain Rules for Baby" by John Medina, which is a fantastic book. In a similar fashion, "NurtureShock" uses real scientific research/data to provide information which is actually helpful for parenting. The book provides straightforward but in-depth information, with many examples, which really opened my eyes (and mind) regarding specific topics surrounding parenting. The information is helpful for parents of children of all ages.

What I particularly love about "NurtureShock" and similar books is that they are not telling me how to be a good parent. Evidence is given which grants me the knowledge to be a better parent while still allowing me to parent in the manner I choose.

Definitely a priceless read for the thinking parent or parent-to-be.
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on March 25, 2012
What a fantastic and fascinating book. I love that each chapter is discrete and can be read as an independent unit. The authors report on the research, sometimes drawing together the works of several researchers, and help the reader to draw conclusions and understand what the work means as a whole. One thing it does not do is offer solutions, if there are no research-based solutions. Some reviewers have complained about this, but I think it's honest. Sometimes the research tells us what is, not how to solve what is.

All of the research in the book focuses on children. The book explores the trouble with praise, why sleep is so important, how race relations and prejudice develop in children, why kids lie, how children ought to be selected for gifted classes, the importance of sibling relations, teen rebellion, the development on self-control, playing well with others (or not), and the development of lanuguage.

My objection to the name and the cover art is that few things the books reveals are *shocking* and nothing's broken. The book is so honest and reserach-based, and the cover art is so foolishly dramatic. But, you know, if that's my biggest objection, it's a very fine book indeed.
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on September 16, 2010
Nuture Shock is a thoroughly enjoyable, eye-opening book in which the authors present a series of interesting (and often times counterintuitive) scientific results on child development. The authors' narrative style is much more similar to Malcolm Gladwell than Dr. William Sears. In other words, Nurture Shock is not a parenting book. And although a parent may be able to apply the lessons of certain results, the book does not offer any explicit parenting advice. Its intent is to make you think and to question your preconceived notions about parenting. For instance, the first chapter of the book questions the practice of praising your child for being smart. Praising a child for being smart seems like the good parenting. However, the authors argue that such praise can backfire, because intelligence is considered innate and beyond control. Thus, when faced with a difficult task, a child who is praised for her intelligence may not try as hard as a child who is praised for her effort. The remaining chapters similarly explore a variety of topics such as lying, teenage rebellion, language acquisition, and race.

Nurture Shock is a must read for conscientious parents - mothers and fathers who want more than a paint-by-numbers approach to parenting. I found it to be a fun and easy read, as opposed to many other dense, instructive parenting books that can be a chore to read. In fact, Nurture Shock was so enjoyable that I would recommend it to parents as well as non-parents alike. If you enjoy books like Freakonomics or any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, then you will likely enjoy this one too.

My only complaint is that I found the book to have a rough start. The authors lost me at the very first page, when I asked myself, "Who is Cary Grant? And why do I care about him?" If you find yourself in a similar position, just keep reading. You don't have to know who Cary Grant is to appreciate this book.
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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2012
Nurture Shock is a book that shows why many modern day parenting strategies for nurturing and raising our children are not working. It covers a multitude of topics, from using praise, to why kids lie, "giftedness," racial interactions, sibling relationships, and even teen rebellion. The information is suitable for a wide range of ages - toddlers through teens.

Authors, Bronson and Merryman, systematically go through the topics, citing study after study on the scientific reasons of why kids aren't turning out quite the way we'd like. The research is impressive, and it will really make parents stop and rethink some of the things they are doing.

The study on sleep is especially interesting. It shows how even a half hour loss of sleep can be detrimental to a child. When a few case study schools decided to start their school day later, the effect was huge. Students did much better. Another interesting topic was of a school program called Tools. Students enrolled in the Tools program did exponentially better academically, and caused fewer disruptions. If more educators would read this book, it might change things for the better.

Nurture Shock is a book that is not only an excellent read for parents, it is an excellent read for educators. I highly recommend it.
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