Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lessons from Nurture Shock

These are the lessons I am learning from the book Nurture Shock. I might discuss some of my thoughts on them in more detail in future posts.

1. Praise effort and specific actions. Don’t praise children for being smart or just amazing beings.

2. A full night’s sleep is very important from the earliest days all the way through high school.

3. It’s important for parents to speak directly to their children about race and to tell them that their doctor/teacher/Santa Claus etc. can be of any race, just as we make such statements about gender.

4. Offer a child who is lying both immunity and a clear route back to good standing, along the lines of “I won’t be upset with you if you XXX, and if you tell the truth, I will be really happy.” Recognize the influence of parents' own white lies.

5. Testing for intelligence isn’t accurate until 3rd grade. Before that, you are getting kids with good backgrounds.

6. Pay attention to poor examples of sibling behavior portrayed in books. If possible, allow eldest child to learn how to fantasy play with best friend before having another child.

7. Both permissive and oppressive parents have poor results with teens. Best are those most consistent in enforcing a few rules over key areas, who also explain why the rules are there. These parents support their child’s autonomy in other areas. It’s not damaging to argue, but it’s important that child feel heard, be able to win some small battles.

8. Allowing a child to choose an activity may increase motivation.

9. Don’t let kids watch educational TV because it increases the rate of physical aggression almost as much as watching violent TV. Let child see resolution of arguments between parents. Reduce the number of daily peer interactions to reduce the compulsion to rank high among peers.

10. Early developmental advantage is real, but many kids do catch up and show no long-term consequences. Adopted kids who are typically developing catch up to American-born peers within three years, even if their age at adoption was up to 10.

Has anyone else read it? Do you have thoughts on the research presented or the lessons given?


Cassie said...

I haven't read it but this post makes me want to. I'm particularly interested in the idea that educational TV causes the same rate of violent behavior as violent TV. I never would have thought that!

worldmomma said...

Yes, this was probably the most surprising thing to me too. And it's the first lesson we acted on. My husband picked up the book in the bathroom and happened upon that section. Now he puts on Sesame Street instead of Thomas or Caillou. I've never watched an episode of Thomas, but my husband had commented before that some of the trains were surprisingly mean. Perhaps this is what rubs off.

Lainey Wright said...

While it might not be up your alley, I really got a lot out of reading "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn. I only mention it because of your note re: praising effort. I was always of the opinion that praise was a good thing, but he presents a lot of research that suggests otherwise. And as someone who was praised nonstop, I have to agree with some of his findings. It is worth reading it if only for those bits (but the rest is fantastic as well). I might have to ck this book out too -it sounds very interesting! -thanks for the summary!

CHM said...

I just mentioned to Lainey that I am reading this, and she told me you had posted about it here. I think it's so far a great read. I often find myself frustrated when reading parenting literature, feeling that if it suggests I do something other than what I've done thus far, I've failed so miserably. Of course, I've only been parenting for 2 years of my first child's life, so there's still plenty of time to shift perspective. Fun to see your comments here. Hope all is well!