NurtureShock. From the real root cause of obesity to where the worst bullying really happens this book is a wake-up call for parents and anyone involved with schools or children. I’m betting it will spark some excited – and heated conversations.
From letting kids sleep longer to starting school later to keeping kids off the “hedonic treadmill”, this heavily-researched yet highly captivating book takes on many of the major myths about how we raise our children. Some findings have already generated pushback from school administrators who “just feel it doesn’t make sense.”
From the first page I was pulled in as any parent will be. So much of what Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman discovered in their three years of wading through the research is startling – and runs counter to public policy and how we spend money, ostensibly in support of children. The co-authors were inspired to write this book after covering the groundbreaking research by Carol Dweck on fixed vs growth mindsets.
• Rather than praising most everything a child does, offer focused praise that helps your child see “strategies he could apply the next day.” (This book is worth the price just to read about the study comparing the very different ways American and Chinese mothers encourage their children that enable one group to gain greater confidence and success.
• Children’s sleeping patterns and needs are substantially different than adults. Over time, “a loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to (the loss of) two years of cognitive maturation and development” in children. “Sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.”
• From obesity to mood and performance, children did better when school started at 8:30 a.m. instead of the more usual 7:30 a.m. In one study in Lexington where schools changed to the later hour, “teenage car accidents were down 25%, compared to the rest of the state.”
Even if you aren’t a parent you’ll find this a fascinating read for what it tells us about human development, lying, longing for love and other behavior. Or about how we make education policy (for the convenience of the adults or the kids?) - and what specific actions we can take as parents and as citizens to give children a better start in life. Now I’ll get off my soapbox.