Oct 16, 2009

The Science of Kids

I was in for a few enlightening shockers, thanks to this book.

The central premise of this book is that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring - because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman deftly tackles key issues facing all parents. Some issues you probably thought were non-issues, but are actually worth pondering. Like how praise can harm your child. How old-school methods of instilling honesty can backfire and encourage lying. How an additional hour of sleep at night could spell the difference between a sullen, angry, ADHD-diagnosed teen and one that's happy and doing well in school. A chapter called The Science of Teen Rebellion explains why arguing can actually be a sign of respect and a healthy parent-child relationship. You'll see what researchers discovered about Filipino teens and why they tend to have better relationships with their folks as opposed to the American teens observed in the same study. Read about Tools of the Mind - a preschool program that was developed to hone preschoolers executive function. Yes, it seems self-control can be taught!

All that is just a teaser. There's plenty more to discover.


Experiments on human nurturing. Don't drop the test tube!

The book quotes a lot of science. Many times, Bronson and Merryman were first-hand observers to the studies they cite. They explain things so well, you'll be riveted. It gave me a lot of aha moments. In this day and age of hovering helicopter parents (okay, guilty!) - sometimes we just have to relax, lay-off the over-protecting and just let our kids be kids. I am still hovering though, as I'm not about to miss out on anything during their growing up years. I'm just working harder to keep an open mind and gain better perspective.

We're pretty lucky to be parents these days as there is so much science, research and experience to take from. But ultimately, the book made me realize... while many aspects of child rearing can now be put down to a science, much of parenting is still an art - the most challenging balancing act of all time. Read it and you'll find out why.

4 comments:

Barni said...

Love the way this book challenges conventional wisdom. Parents really need to think about how good intentions don't always equal good ideas. This book was written for me!

Nana said...

Looks like a good read! Please send my way when you're done?

Nona said...
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Viva La Vida Mama said...

Barn... makes you wonder how we survived the age of "conventional wisdom". Haha!

I'm just hoping my kids don't end up needing therapy and psychotropic cocktails. *fingers crossed*

I think you'll love it Nana! I'll send it your way : )