by Tamara Passey
Every now and then, I find a book that stops me in my tracks.
I saw this book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, on the shelf in the gift shop of the children's museum. Usually parenting books do not grab me. When I was a new mom, I read a handful of them. As my children got older, it seemed like what I was reading in those books was so different from the way my kids behaved in 'real' life, I lost interest. Either that or life got a little busy -you know as a mom you barely have enough time to be the mom and even less time to read about how to be a good one.
Maybe that's why I picked this one up. The subtitle, "New thinking about children" set off that feeling, like 'Okay, I dare you to tell me something I haven't witnessed in over a decade of Mom-hood.' Hmm. Or it could have been, 'Please, I have a toddler and a teenager - if you have anything new - I'd like to hear it.'
Either way, I was pleasantly surprised and perhaps slightly mortified. You'll understand if you read the book.
Be warned. It is not a how-to. Rather, it is a thought-provoking compilation of the scientific research that has taken place to understand children-and how so much of what we think about children, how to treat them, how to raise them -- is wrong. Or right, but for very different reasons.
What are some of the questions this book tackles or raises?
Is it better to praise your child for being smart or working hard?
What's hurting your child's waistline? Is it that extra hour of TV, or the extra hour of staying up late?
Does your child lie because she doesn't want to get punished or simply keep you happy? Or because you taught her how to do it?
Could watching Power Rangers be better for your child than say, a PBS show like Arthur?
Oh there's more, like
Are your kids fighting each other for your attention or because they really don't like each other?
And brace yourself if you read the chapter on The Science of Teen Rebellion. Maybe even wear a seat belt for that wild ride.
As I mentioned, this book is not a how-to. There aren't any prescriptions, neat little check-lists or what-to-do-if's -it's the science, and the surprising, sometimes overlooked conclusions. It is cleverly written, well documented and it has easily digestible chapters. For me, I like that it has given me pause, a reason to do some self-evaluating. Do I really scold my children more for 'tattling' than 'lying' when in fact, when they are reporting bad behavior, they are also telling the truth?
Daunting? Yes. But rewarding, too.
I didn't go looking for this book, but I'm glad I found it.
Anyone else have books like that?
Anyone else reading something unexpected while waiting for Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) - or am I the only one?