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NurtureShock Audiobook

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

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Audible Editor Reviews

Starting with the introduction, in a loving, but firm voice, journalist and author Po Bronson delivers the bad news to parents: everything you know about parenting is wrong.

Bronson and collaborator Ashley Merryman willingly indict themselves, along with all of American society, in that collective "you", as they confront again and again our abundant misconceptions about parenting and the nature of children, when exploring the newest research findings in the science of child development.

Bronson and Merryman do not debate the existence of a biological imperative to nurture. in fact, they wholeheartedly accept that all parents possess the innate instinct to "nurture and protect" their kids, and even report that current research supports the location of this impulse in the brain with physical evidence. instead, the book, and its title, are meant to invoke the shock most new parents experience when they open up their bundles of joy, eager to get started — and realize the manual is missing.

As a guilty participant in many of the contemporary parenting practices referred to in the book, it was a pleasure to receive my verbal spanking in Bronson's nebbish and neighborly tone, rather than the authoritative and detached voice of yet another social scientist detailing the 10 new ways i'm failing as a mother.

Perhaps because he himself admits to being "father knows less", rather than best, i was better able to withstand his slaughter of a wide range of our current parenting sacred cows, such as:

  • kids are positively powered by praise (then why do so many run out of self-esteem?)
  • too much TV makes children fat (actually, it's too-little sleep), but at least today's gentle programming is making them less aggressive (wrong, again!)
  • and my child is color-blind when it comes to race (blind maybe, but not deaf or dumb)

Bronson's steady and measured narration moves the serious subject matter along nicely and creates an atmosphere of inclusion and intimacy for the reader not easily achieved with nonfiction. We can share his sincere surprise, evident in his voice, when confronted with the many 360-degree reversals in thinking that the latest research demands.

i do wish Ms. Merryman had shared in the narration of the book, if only for a glimpse into her personal feelings on each topic. But it's easy to believe their assertion that they were moved to change their own parenting and teaching practices inspired by their findings. i've already made subtle changes in dealing with my seven-year old based on Chapter 4, "Why Kids Lie", with remarkable success. —Lisa Duggan

Publisher's Summary

In a world of modern, involved, caring parents, why are so many kids aggressive and cruel? Where is intelligence hidden in the brain, and why does that matter? Why do cross-racial friendships decrease in schools that are more integrated? If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie? What's the single most important thing that helps infants learn language?

NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we've mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring - because key twists in the science have been overlooked.

Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors' work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children's (and adults') lives.

©2009 Po Bronson; (P)2009 Hachette

What the Critics Say

"A provocative collection of essays popularizing recent research that challenges conventional wisdom about raising children...[Bronson and Merryman] ably explore a range of subjects of interest to parents... Their findings are often surprising." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Michael T. Thorne Los Angeles 10-05-17
    Michael T. Thorne Los Angeles 10-05-17
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    "amazing collection of research on child developmen"

    nurture shock puts together a lot of incredible research that demonstrates why are best intentions and intuition are not enough to do right by our children in their development.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    C. Sharp 05-15-17
    C. Sharp 05-15-17 Member Since 2017
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    3
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    "A whole new way of looking at the kids"

    A whole new way of looking at the education and development of kids. excellent research

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eyad 02-24-17
    eyad 02-24-17
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    "Interesting research"

    I like how the author decided to speak about his subjects of concern through studies and extensive research. I believe there might be more into child develpment and nurturing but this book has a good amount of information to consider while raising a child through teeage period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ANGELA 02-21-17
    ANGELA 02-21-17 Member Since 2016
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    1
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    "insightful"

    a deep, thought provoking analysis of parenting. I loved the insights discovered in various studies throughout the book. As a mother of a 2 year old, I feel more confident and empowered to try on a few new techniques to foster a healthy learning environment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-31-16
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    "great"


    Nurture Shock was full of new and valuable info both as a parent and a human.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    J. H. Lively Aiea, HI USA 11-08-16
    J. H. Lively Aiea, HI USA 11-08-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Useful information"

    I found the information in this book is very valuable as a parent. The chapter that discusses infant language acquisition was particularly useful to me since I have a seven month old baby.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Szpicki 09-07-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book. loved the summary"

    this is a must read/listen. great all the way through but the summary is the most important, children are different from adults and what works on adults doesn't always work on children the same way.

    great book all around!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lukas Hansen 04-19-16
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    "blew my mind!"

    I saw benefits in the behavior of my 3 year old in the first week of implementing recommendations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate 12-05-15
    Nate 12-05-15
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    "Pretty good, but some conflicting advice"
    Where does NurtureShock rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a very good book overall, with some good advice, but also some problems with no solutions, and a little seemingly conflicting advice.


    Any additional comments?

    Here is a summary of what I got from the book. If you enjoy it, I highly recommend Drive by Daniel Pink and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. They will give additional insight on both parenting and self-development

    1. Give targeted praise regarding effort rather than general attribute praise (you worked really hard on that, rather than you're so great, you're so smart) to encourage them to try things that are difficult. (For additional reading, see Drive by Daniel Pink.)
    2. Ensure that children get adequate recommended sleep, and avoid time-shifting sleep on weekends (letting them stay up late and sleep in). This will combat moodiness, lack of focus, obesity, and lack of energy and encourage higher academic performance.
    3. Talk about skin color early, openly and candidly, because humans naturally identify with those visually similar to them and categorize by visual cues like skin color and hair (racism does not start as an artificially created phenomenon from society). Talking about skin color and race can counteract the natural sorting that children do.
    4. Kids naturally learn to lie early and frequently. To combat this, emphasize the trust and happiness that comes from the truth, rather than punishment for lying. Be very careful about white lies around children, they see all lying the same way, regardless of intention or belief. Telling an adult about being wronged usually happens after a child has put up with a lot of mistreatment from a sibling or another child. Do not punish this or shame their telling the truth by labeling as "tattling". This is extremely destructive to their value of telling the truth.
    5. School testing for gifted/advanced programs is generally done much too early, with no follow up testing for new entrants or to maintain eligibility. These early tests leave out tons of "late bloomers" who are trapped out of the gifted programs. No advice on what to do about it. This agrees with findings by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.
    6. Teens lie and rebel. A lot. Supposedly they lie to try to maintain a good relationship with parents. The solution is not to be ultra lenient and permissive, that just tells teens their parents don't care and they get into even more trouble. Being extremely strict and iron fisted is not as bad; teens don't get in trouble as much, but are more likely to be depressed. Best is to have a few areas of rules that are consistently enforced, and agree on areas autonomy for the teen. Teens see arguing with parents as positive, but parents see it as destructive. Arguing is a sign of respect; it means the teens trust that their parents will listen to a logical "argument". Parents should listen and make exceptions when it makes sense.
    7. Many programs with good intentions make no statistical difference, like DARE, or can even make things worse, like driver's ed. The "Tools of the Mind" curriculum is shown to make a huge difference, because it focuses on proactivity, self directed play, and self discipline.
    8. Child aggression (toddler to high school). 1 Educational children's shows are full of insults and put downs, and result in higher increases in social aggression than violent shows result in increases in physical aggression. The resolution of a social difficulty is usually a tiny part of such shows, compared to showing the social misbehavior itself. A related example is the time spend on "Hakuna Matata" (no worries, no responsibility, no consequences) in The Lion King. 2 Children seeing parents argue does not automatically contribute to child aggression, it can be constructive if it is mature, devoid of name calling, and especially if children see the sincere, loving resolution. 3 Apparently, zero tolerance bullying policies often lump in things that aren't actually bullying. Social aggressors are often very highly socially developed, not social rejects. Popular kids are the most active social aggressors. Kids of progressive dads show almost as much aggression as distant dads, since progressive dads are uncertain and inconsistent in giving correction or punishment. No solution given by the author.
    9. Verbal development is determined (apparently) not by how much the parent speaks to the baby, but by how often they immediately react to the baby's babbling, gestures, and glances. This teaches them that sounds and words have meaning. More reactions equals higher vocabulary. But... Don't overdo it, give them breaks, give them mixed amounts of feedback, don't respond as much to simpler babble, or babies won't be pushed to develop more complex babble. What??

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kimberly Porter 10-02-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Loved it!!!"

    I think every parent could benefit from this book!!! Insightful and has changed some of the ways I will parent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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