NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
Twelve, 2009. 336 pgs. Nonfiction.
After all these years we discover that "positive reinforcement" is not all it is cracked up to be. In fact, children who are repeatedly told how smart and able they are, whether or not it is true, develop a defensive posture and show an unwillingness to try new or harder things because they feel the need to protect their "smart kid" turf. On the other hand, children who are praised for their hard work and willingness to keep trying will prosper in school with less stress and greater drive and curiosity. These somewhat startling results and others are reported in Bronson and Merryman's fascinating new book which also takes on the Baby Einstein myth (electronic teaching aids do not make your children smarter and in fact generally slow them down), and that parents and educators can truly know by Kindergarten whether a child is intellectually gifted and well-suited for accelerated programs. Chapters on sleep deprivation, why children lie, and the profoundly effective teaching of self-control as an educational strategy in preschool round out this fine book, essential reading for anyone interested in the education and growth of children.