Book Review: Nurture Shock

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman Michael F. Shaughnessy Eastern New Mexico University Portales, New Mexico I took me quite a while to read this book. I am not sure if [...]

Po_Bronson.jpg (22208 bytes) Ashley_Merryman.jpg (20966 bytes)
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

I took me quite a while to read this book. I am not sure if it was income tax time that interfered or the end of the semester. Perhaps it was the initial chapter- but I was already familiar with the work of Carol Dweck, having interviewed her twice before. Perhaps it was the title of the book doesn’t completely meld or mesh with the chapters. Yet it was an interesting and intriguing book that deals with contemporary teaching, learning, and parenting issues.

Even the subtitle of the book is amiss- it is not exactly new thinking about children, but rather a more in depth  exploration of the new research  about children. It is more of an examination of subtle nuances about praise, language development and parenting issues. Perhaps my difficulty with the book is that it requires some real thoughtful insightful thinking.

It is a challenging book- certainly worthy of a doctoral seminar. In fact, I would recommend it for graduate school use.  Yet, insightful, perspicacious parents who are sincerely interested in their children’s development would benefit from reading and discussing the issues.

Perhaps this was a challenging book because it requires an in depth exploration and examination of parenting, teaching and learning issues. Perhaps the books gives thoughtful parents a bit too much to think about- the chapter on lying for instance- is lying good, bad, or just a typical stage of growth and development?

The book also takes a serious stab at conventional wisdom and the way things are in fact, done in the schools- and addresses some issues that parents may not want to tackle-that their kids may not be gifted ( gasp! ) or that these I.Q. tests are notoriously unreliable at young ages and are often not prudently or judiciously used.

In certain chapters, the authors foray into some murky, treacherous research waters and address some issues about parental responsibility and how much and how intensely parents should intervene in the psycho-social development of their kids.

Each chapter addresses a plethora of salient issues- perhaps too many at one time- not the chapter on sleep loss, ADHD, obesity and emotional well being.

And each chapter seems to hit home with perhaps some issues parents/teachers don’t want to address- stress, gratitude and appreciation.

The book is a serious discussion of some issues and is very thought provoking. Perhaps too thought provoking for some parents and perhaps there is an element of shock to the book as the authors succinctly analyze the results of key crucial cutting edge research.

If one is looking for quick simple easy answers, they may not be found here. Instead, some real insights into myriad aspects of child and adolescent development may be found.

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Wednesday

June 1st, 2011

Michael F. Shaughnessy EducationNews.org Senior Columnist

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