Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask

Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask

by Dalton Conley
     
 

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An award-winning scientist offers his unorthodox approach to childrearing: “Parentology is brilliant, jaw-droppingly funny, and full of wisdom…bound to change your thinking about parenting and its conventions” (Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother).

If you’re like many parents, you might ask family and

Overview

An award-winning scientist offers his unorthodox approach to childrearing: “Parentology is brilliant, jaw-droppingly funny, and full of wisdom…bound to change your thinking about parenting and its conventions” (Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother).

If you’re like many parents, you might ask family and friends for advice when faced with important choices about how to raise your kids. You might turn to parenting books or simply rely on timeworn religious or cultural traditions. But when Dalton Conley, a dual-doctorate scientist and full-blown nerd, needed childrearing advice, he turned to scientific research to make the big decisions.

In Parentology, Conley hilariously reports the results of those experiments, from bribing his kids to do math (since studies show conditional cash transfers improved educational and health outcomes for kids) to teaching them impulse control by giving them weird names (because evidence shows kids with unique names learn not to react when their peers tease them) to getting a vasectomy (because fewer kids in a family mean smarter kids). Conley encourages parents to draw on the latest data to rear children, if only because that level of engagement with kids will produce solid and happy ones.

Ultimately these experiments are very loving, and the outcomes are redemptive—even when Conley’s sassy kids show him the limits of his profession. Parentology teaches you everything you need to know about the latest literature on parenting—with lessons that go down easy. You’ll be laughing and learning at the same time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/02/2013
The science is buried in the midst of anecdotes, and the advice leans toward the “do what I did, because I’m smart” school in what, despite NYU professor Conley’s (You May Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist) credentials as chair of the Children and Youth Section of the American Sociological Association, is more a privileged New York City parenting memoir than a guide to evidence-based childrearing. Experiences like having his young children featured on Anderson Cooper to discuss their unusual names (E and Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles), which he claims will raise their non-cognitive IQs, or prepping them for a visit with the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, fall into a dead spot between being relatable to most parents and being delightful enough to serve as celebrity storytelling. Conley’s science is frequently post hoc (he’d rather have his kids in the special ed classes because the student-teacher ratio is better) and often ignored. In the end, the book’s focus is the author himself and why he’s a pretty successful parent, possibly due to all of his research and enthusiasm for giving his kids every possible advantage, and possibly just due to giving them a lot of love. Agent: Sydelle Kramer, Susan Rabiner Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Amy Chua
“Parentology is brilliant, jaw-droppingly funny, and full of wisdom—backed up by the latest scientific studies. Dalton Conley is one of the most talented writers of his generation, and this mesmerizing book is bound to change your thinking about parenting and its conventions.”
Pamela Druckerman
“Honest, smart, and strange….In this half-memoir, half-experiment, Dalton Conley rattles the data, and some surprising things fall out.”
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-19
A parent's-eye view of recent scientific research into "the job you can never quit," with a lot of winking. Today's young parents have been deprived and blessed at the same time. A few decades ago, the road to parenting success was illuminated by a few trusted sources—Dr. Spock, What to Expect When You're Expecting, etc.—and the hard-earned wisdom passed down through generations. In the Internet age, the advice available to parents is an embarrassment of riches. Conley (Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety, 2009, etc.) delivers a parenting guide to help sort out the good science from the bad, the harebrained schemes from the evidence-based parenting strategies. The author has the bona fides in the two areas that matter: He's a father, and he's also a dual-doctorate scientist and chair of the Children and Youth Section of the American Sociological Association. The book as a whole comes across a bit unevenly, however; a chapter dedicated to exploring cultural views of choosing baby names veers into the ridiculous when Conley reveals that they named their first child "E" and their second child "Yo" and then took them on CNN to discuss it. When a travel bottle of shampoo fell into the toilet and got stuck, Conley attempted to bribe his kid with money to fish it out for him; when the child refused, he switched to declaring her spoiled, which did the trick. There are passages offering good advice, such as defusing conflict by offering choices, but it can be hard to tell when Conley's being serious, which diminishes the author's better points. Will appeal to parents whose idea of comedy hews closer to Arrested Development than Leave It to Beaver—but do you want parenting advice from the Bluth family?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476712673
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
03/18/2014
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,265,405
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Dalton Conley is University Professor at New York University. Conley holds a BA from UC Berkeley, an MPA and a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, and an MS and PhD in Biology from NYU. He lives in New York City.

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