Book Review: Nurture Shock

Published on July 15, 2015

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children offers an alternative view to parenting.

If you are worried that your kid is too focused on playing with that dinosaur, or that he is always arguing, fear not. It might not be that terrible a thing.

1. The Inverse Power of Praise

  • Praise effort, not talent
  • Effects of praising talent: “I am smart; I don’t need to put in effort”

2. The Lost Hour

  • During sleep, the brain shifts what it learned in the day to more efficient storage regions of the brain
  • Cost of depriving 1 hour of sleep: IQ points, emotional well-being and obesity

3. Why Kids Lie

  • To make the parents happy

4. The Search for Intelligent Life in Kindergarten

  • IQ Test - Astonishingly ineffective predictors of a young child’s academic success (about 73% wrong!)
  • It is okay to not be in a “gifted programme”
  • Eg. Single-minded fascination with dinosaurs might not mark a deficit; it might allow him to develop focus and an approach to learning what will serve him well in other context

5. The Sibling Effect

  • Siblings will be there tomorrow, no matter what - therefore social interaction can be pushed to the limit
  • Most common reason for fighting: sharing physical possessions

6. The Science of Teen Rebellion

  • To the adolescent, arguing with adults is deemed constructive to the relationship
  • Arguing is opposite of lying
  • Arguing is honesty

7. Can Self-Control Be Taught?

8. Plays Well With Others

  • Aggressive kids ain’t all devils
  • Less-Aggressive kids ain’t all angels
  • Aggressive kids - interpreted by others as a willingness to defy grown-ups, and they have high EQ
  • Peers Interactions: 60 hours/wk with peer group, vs 16 hours/wk with adults

9. Language

  • Baby DVDs have no effect on auditory processing
  • Seeing someone’s lips as he speaks = 20-decibel increase in volume
  • Role of parent is not to push massive amounts of language into the babes ears; but to notice what’s coming from the baby, and respond accordingly
  • Pretending the infant is saying words, when he can’t yet, can really cause problems.
  • 5 techniques:
  • Motionese
    • Teaching the name of small objects by frequently twisting, shaking and moving.
    • But effective only up to 15-months old.
  • Word spoken by a variety of different people helps
    • Hearing from multiple speakers to take in how the phonics were the same, even in different pitch and speed.
    • By hearing what was different, they learned what was the same.
  • Word frames
    • Vital frames of reference
    • “Look at the __” to learn __ is a new thing to see
    • “Don’t __” to learn __ is something he should stop doing
  • Variation sets
    • Series of sentences, but the vocabulary and grammatical structure changes
    • “Kate, bring the book to Daddy. Bring him the book. Give it to Daddy. Thank you, Kate – you gave Daddy the book.”
    • Learn “book” is also “it”, “Daddy” is “him”
  • Shape bias
    • Kids are confused by color, size and textures
    • Shape is more teachable

10. The Myth of the Supertrait

  • Supertrait Wishlist: Honesty, gratitude, empathy, fairness, etc.. is not necessary
  • Dishonesty - Yet a sign of intelligence and social savvy
  • A bully in school - Yet high in EQ
  • Arguing - Therefore not lie
  • Bad stuff are not opposite ends of a single spectrum

Let’s be contemporary pedotrophist - one skilled in the rearing of children.