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What I love and hate about Nurtureshock New 2020

Me, Po and Sunny after October 2009 discussion

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nurtureshockI was sent an advance copy of Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children in the fall because once upon a time I wrote a tiny blog post about “praising the verb and not the noun” when talking to children.

I let it sit on my shelf with the many other books I don’t have time for.

Coincidentally, my friend Sunny invited me to hear (the author) Po Bronson speak in Berkeley a few weeks later and I thought, “cool, I can get out of reading that book and make up my mind about it in one quick evening.” Wrong! He made me want to read it immediately. Darn.

Me, Po and Sunny after October 2009 discussion

Me, Po and Sunny in after October 2009 discussion

What I love:

  • Thought-provoking. Nurtureshock turns many of the unconscious ideas we have about parenting upside-down. A chapter on why white parents don’t talk about race blew my mind wide open. It turns out that we need to do much more than merely providing a diverse environment. We need to say “the president has brown skin” too. (I’m oversimplifying — read the book and let’s discuss!)
  • Wild mishmash of topics. Lying, sleeping, reckless driving, and why educational TV might be teaching my kids to fight. Each chapter brought fresh thinking to a disconnected area of parenting. Like a potluck. (The Baby Einstein and Sesame Street bits really got me going — read the book and let’s discuss!)

What I hate:

  • No clear actions. Nurtureshock doesn’t claim to be an advice book but rather a research book. Still, I couldn’t help but read it with an eye toward how to improve my relationship with my sons. I learned plenty of things not to do, but not many ideas to do.
  • That you haven’t all read it. When I began a job with a 20 minute bus commute, I was able to start and finish the book in one week. I gobbled it up. Now, why can’t I get my husband and friends and the world to read it quickly so we can discuss the topics? Seriously.

If you read the book, I beg you to tell me in the comments what parts blew your mind wide open. And what you’re going to do about it.

If Po is not coming to your town soon to whet your appetite for this book, read The Power (and Peril) of Praising your Kids as a little teaser.

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