Customer Reviews for

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

Average Rating 4.5
( 113 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 114 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    It wasn't the name of the book that caught my attention. It was in fact a reference to the book by another that made me want to own and read it for myself.

    I am a great grandfather. You would think I was past all this. But it was a most exciting read as I saw the books contents being applicable to both my daughter and grand daughter. My grand daughter has said it will help her with the raising of her 9 month old son. So after I read it I gave the book to them to keep for their use. In fact there was so much new information that I bought a second book for my second daughter who is the mother of a 13 year old and a 9 year old. The 13 year old has read the chapter on sleep and I understand made some personal adjustments as a result. This is a very useful and informative read.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    A must read for today's parents

    Having read many parenting books and sat through oodles of parenting seminars, I found Nurture Shock to be a fantastic read. Addressing many of today's parents' practices with excellent research showing the true outcomes of many of our parenting practices.

    As the mother of ten wonderful children I was so pleased to read the chapter addressing how to praise/encourage our children. We all love our children so much and want to bless them with praise for everything. Let's face it, we want our children to succeed and 'feel' happy, but we're doing them a disservice when our praise is unfounded. As we've known for year, kids are intuitive and they know when we're praising them for 'nothing' in an attempt to build them up. This empty encouragement actually leads to a future of anxiety (perhaps),low self-esteem (perhaps)and worse still, low motivation.

    As Bronson and Merryman point out the pitfalls of false praise, they are quick to show the benefits of praising and encouraging children for their 'effort' not necessarily the outcome. We're to be building our kids up for the they'll continue to be motivated to journey and have the confidence that perfection isn't the reward, trying is.

    This is only on point that I found compelling. If you are a parent, teacher or work with children in any capacity, you must read this book. It will motivate you to better practices in raising your children to live emotionally and academically healthy lives.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't Put It Down; Fascinating

    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.

    I found this book fascinating. Rather than using the old cliches of parenting, the authors do a survey of the scientific studies that prove what really goes on in children's brains. One example is the self-esteem movement. Bronson and Merryman talk about how the ubitiquous "You're so smart" talk that children are innudated with actually tend to decrease rather than increase their self-esteem. It makes them anxious as if intelligence is just a matter of luck. What truly increases their self-esteem is specific praise for actions that are successful. This would include items such as "You really worked hard on that problem" or "I liked the way you went back and figured out where you went wrong" or "Studying that vocabulary list several nights resulted in you getting a good grade". This kind of specific praise lets the child know that they are, indeed, in control of their performance. It reinforces the feelings that I always had as a kindergarten teacher; children know quickly if praise is earned or just false words.

    The authors talk about other scientific studies that help parents think outside the box on other issues. For example, lack of sleep is far more tied to obesity than watching TV or children raised in a diverse racial environment often do not become more accepting of others unless parents and teachers emphasize that their are differences and that these differences are to be celebrated.

    I found this one of the most useful books I've read lately, and I definately will be sending a copy to my children to help them in raising the grandchildren. This book is recommended for all parents and teachers, or anyone interested in helping children improve their performance and reach their potential.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    Good Intentions may not be Good Ideas

    In NurtureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman examine the psychology of children and adolescents and disprove many accepted generalizations about the behavior and growth from infancy to adulthood. They investigate everything from the power of praise to why kids lie to the science of teenage rebellion. Although they "geeked out" and included a myriad of research they had gathered, this did not make their writing increasingly boring, in fact, it did just the opposite and NurtureShock became an incredibly interesting book that would change our assumptions that good intentions were good ideas. I enjoyed this book because Po and Ashley explained their findings remarkably well and provided examples from the real world. Everyone who works with kids from infancy to teenage years should read this because it offers fantastic advice with astonishing evidence to back it up that will change views on how children should be raised. Overall this was a wonderful book that really made me think and reconsider all of my interactions with people.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Eye-Opening Book

    I just finished reading Nurture Shock for my book group (comprised of other mothers) and it is eye-opening. I agree with reviews I have read that some of the chapters left me frustrated about things I feel somewhat helpless to change, but the compelling arguments have definitely motivated me to try. There are actually a few chapters I am going to share w/the staff and other parents of my older son's pre-school/day care program (I think this book should be required reading for all the staff and teachers at the school, which is a really fantastic and progressive school, but I'm sure they get this from parents all the time so I'll have to try to temper my excitement). The chapter I found most relevant for them was about Tools of the Mind, the pre-school and kindergarten curriculum that talks about how pretend play is the way young kids master symbolic representation, which is necessary for all academic coursework. This is one area I'm going to do a little more research about on my own and then talk to the school about implementing. I hope they're open to the idea, because I just can't stop thinking about the difference in results between the kids who were given curriculum and the ones who were not. One of the other really enlightening chapters for me was about teaching diversity to kids - not just having kids in a multiculturally diverse environment, which we do by default, but explicitly talking to kids about how wrong it is to judge people for their skin color. This is something they can easily do in school and we can certainly do at home. I was too afraid to say anything wrong but I realize that not saying anything at all would be worse. Then, there was a chapter about sleep deprivation and how each lost hour of sleep is exponentially damaging to kids, which really hit home for me since we often get our kids too sleep well past bedtime. Anyway, the findings in the book are so relevant and important to children of all ages that I feel compelled to tell everyone I know about it. Plus, it's a real page-turner, not at all like the textbooks we had to read in school!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Revelatory and Thought-provoking

    I really enjoyed reading this one. I wish I'd had it before I had my son, because I would have loved to find a classroom where the supervised play routine was followed. There was so much to absorb here. The subjects range from why children lie, why they argue with us so much when they're teenagers, why so many still grow up prejudiced, and why popularity isn't such a great thing to aspire to in high school. (Popular kids are very often popular because they are selectively mean. I knew that, but it was gratifying to have it confirmed here.) All in all a great read. I'd recommend it for everyone with a kid and everyone who wonders how are schools and parenting methods are shaping (or failing to shape) our kids.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Makes you take hard look at what you're doing as a parent...

    Before I give my review, I have to admit that I'm a biased Po Bronson fan. I've read "What Should I Do with My Life" and "Why Do I Love These People?" and loved them both. That being said, he and his writing partner deliver the goods with solid research and excellent interviews with real parents. I was pleased to know that some of the things I do as a parent are useful strategies that all parents should employ. But I was also pleased that the book allowed me to critically think about other aspects of my parenting and really start to assess how I can change and improve. The chapters on Praise and Lying were the ones I found most useful but all of them were worth reading. I think the book belongs right alongside Dr. Spock, the "What To Expect When Your Expecting" series, etc. I would recommend this book to any parent that is objectively looking for ways to improve their parenting as opposed to those who just want reassurance.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2010

    The most enlightening child development book I've read so far!

    PHENOMENAL! Exquisitely researched. So informative. I feel like I have the correct answers to common parentings myths. Love the chapter on what works to develop your child's language skills. Within a day my six month's old's language became more advanced. Thank you! Thank you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    NurtureShock's shockingly interesting research

    I'm not a big fan of parenting books because I usually feel that they are trying to pass off someone's idea of what parenting should be. I'm a believer that if you are pretty mentally healthy and love your kids and try to do the best you can then it's pretty hard to mess them up. However, NurtureShock utilizes REAL scientific study and findings and presents them in a straightforward way that's easy to understand and apply--which I tried immediately, and got results from. This book takes to task many "holy grails" of parenting and helps parents understand how younger minds tick. Highly recommend!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This will challenge and baffle you

    Most parents raise their children 'by the book,' but a new body of research would suggest that society's strategies for raising kids are indeed backfiring.
    Why is it that children are sleeping in class?
    How can praising children have an adverse effect?
    Why do children lie?
    Why do siblings fight?
    Can self-control be taught?

    These and a multitude of other questions are being addressed in NurtureShock.

    The style of writing for this book is easy to follow and relies heavily on recent research to support the authors' argument. It is straight forward and not a 'dry read'; you don't have to look up anything on Google or on Wikipedia. The concepts and findings are easy to understand and the authors build up what is necessary in order to make their point.

    The authors aren't telling the readers what is the right way to nurture children as that would be an insult to many parents, but rather what the research is telling us about the effects of the different ways parents and teachers are contributing to the children's growth. The book is more about the general findings and how this may be applied to most children.

    This book is far from boring. To many parents, many ideas will challenge you and baffle you. I wouldn't say this book will ultimately change the way kids are being raised as old habits die hard, but you will experience a nurture shock. (

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2014

    So Interesting!

    Not nessesarily a light read, but very interesting!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Book review for an Art Class for Children I felt NurtureShock wa

    Book review for an Art Class for Children
    I felt NurtureShock was definitely a must read. NurtureShock does more than state the obvious about child raising, it enlightens the reader that our impulse about children can completely off track. It opened my eyes to what children learn from different situations. Many parents think they are doing the right thing because that's what they are used to. But in all reality they could actually be doing more harm than good. Parents make decisions based on what they think will help their child but sometimes they can actually be doing the exact opposite. This book shows how children become affected by the smallest things, picking up on unnatural habits and acting upon them as if they were innate.The novel also explains that children really understand more than adult give credit for and its up to the parents to differentiate and decipher for their children. You will find 10 chapters in this book that will go into detail and explain what we might be overlooking as adults when it comes to children. One thing is for sure, children are difficult to raise. This book just gives you another perspective on looking at the normal situations and what can really be happening.

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  • Posted August 2, 2013

    Anyone who has, or works with children should read this book. I

    Anyone who has, or works with children should read this book. It's a well researched, and well written presentation of ideas so sensible, so logical, they should be intuitive. Unfortunately, as the dust jacket observes, too often good intentions take the place of good ideas. Children need us to be caretakers and teachers, not buddies. They are the future, and this book can help you better prepare them to have real success.

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  • Posted July 13, 2013

    Highly recommended for everyone dealing with children.

    Well researched and presented. Underscores individual differences in how children learn and perform at their best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2013

    I could not put down this book!

    As a parent, this book is a must have. As an educator, it changed my perspective. Highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012


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  • Posted April 25, 2012

    Fascinating book

    When telling my friends about this book, I often said it was the Freakonomics for child-rearing, and it is. The authors take various beliefs and mindsets about how children should be raised and look at the studies on those subjects to debunk or support the beliefs.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Revealing Look and How Kids Work

    Nurture Shock is a book that shows why many modern day parenting strategies for nurturing and raising our children are not working. It covers a multitude of topics, from using praise, to why kids lie, "giftedness," racial interactions, sibling relationships, and even teen rebellion. The information is suitable for a wide range of ages - toddlers through teens.

    Authors, Bronson and Merryman, systematically go through the topics, citing study after study on the scientific reasons of why kids aren't turning out quite the way we'd like. The research is impressive, and it will really make parents stop and rethink some of the things they are doing.

    The study on sleep is especially interesting. It shows how even a half hour loss of sleep can be detrimental to a child. When a few case study schools decided to start their school day later, the effect was huge. Students did much better. Another interesting topic was of a school program called Tools. Students enrolled in the Tools program did exponentially better academically, and caused fewer disruptions. If more educators would read this book, it might change things for the better.

    Nurture Shock is a book that is not only an excellent read for parents, it is an excellent read for educators. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011


    A MUST read for parents!

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    Good read

    Overall, this book was very thought-provoking. I don't think the authors did a great job discussing Gifted Education or the difference between gifted children and academically talented children. They are different. It's true that academically talented children are better identified later and that gifted kids are NOT necessarily academically talented... but I do not think the authors did a good job of separating them. In fact, it sounded to me like they argued that "smart" kids should be in gifted programs.... but being smart and being gifted are two different things. Honors and AP classes are for the academically talented... giftedness is something different. Most schools around me know this and differentiate the two.

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