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NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

October 31, 2009

NurtureShockI’m very excited about this new book about parenting and support strategies, which looks at issues of praise and performance, as well as grounding factors such as getting enough sleep and watching t.v. in relation to more active pursuits. Bronson and Merryman have looked at overwhelming research and meta-studies around contemporary parenting and teaching (based on ideas around self-esteem which came out of research in the 80’s) and want us to revisit what we think we know about how to support those we care about. We are not born knowing how to parent, suppor and teach (“nurture shock” is a term used to describe parents who find, after the birth of a child, that a whole array of skills have not instinctively dropped into their brains). Media reports are simplifying their ideas, unfortunately, as being just about over-praising children but that’s only one part of a whole other holistic picture about better ways to provide specific praise and constructive feedback, and how to re-think teaching strategies. A short video is found here, but it’s really the whole book that’s important. Bronson talks very honestly about a parent’s role as a “praise-junkie” and how difficult it’s been for him to change his ways, and how many of us are invested in attributing “good performance” to our kids and those we support to address our own self-esteem issues. A fascinating read (or listen, I’ve got it as an audio-book).

The NurtureShock website can be found here.

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