Archive for September, 2012

nurture shock

September 21st, 2012

Book Review: Nurture Shock
(reviewed by Annabel Raymond, M.A.)

As a new parent, I’m constantly on the lookout for what’s going to make me a better mother to my daughter. To this end, I read a lot of parenting books, some more helpful than others. After reading Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, I recommend that parents and clinicians alike take time to read it.

Nurture Shock was born of Bronson and Merryman’s collaborative story, “The Inverse Power of Praise,” which ran on the cover of New York Magazine in February of 2007 and blew the lid off of contemporary thinking about praising children. The article revealed, using a solid body of research, that telling kids they’re smart has the opposite intended effect and undercuts their self-esteem. Kids who are told how smart they are eventually find themselves unable to perform up to everyone’s expectations and ultimately give up trying.

Nurture Shock builds on this initial body of evidence to reveal important and sometimes uncomfortable truths about a number of facets of childhood, ranging from how we perpetuate racism through our children to the surprising reasons why kids lie. The book delivers a thought-provoking body of research in a clear and digestible format and will ultimately cause both clinicians and parents to think completely differently about children.