Monday, October 05, 2009

New childrearing book

A new book, NurtureShock, offers scientific evidence on child rearing, reviewed here:
Frequent and oft-undeserved rewards in the form of praise, the authors caution, deprive a child of motivation and discourage persistence. “It’s a neuro­biological fact,” they write, pointing to studies of M.R.I. scans and trained rodents. True, but far from new. Albeit without the sci-techy benefit of brain imaging, in 1964, “Children: The Challenge,” a popular manual of the day, warned, “Praise, as a means of encouragement, must be used very cautiously.” It can be “dangerous” if a child sees praise as a reward and “could easily lead to discouragement,” the author, Rudolf Dreikurs, noted.
People probably had more common sense in 1964. It is since then that there had been a big fad to overpraise kids for everything.

The review goes on:
One of the most valuable chapters looks at how white parents deal with race. For those who think it best to describe Caucasians as “pinkish white” and blacks as “brown skinned” (raise your hands, Upper West Siders), recent research delivers a strong rebuke. Pretending race doesn’t exist leaves young children to form their own — often racist — opinions.
This is funny. Brainwash your kids, or they might figure things out for themselves.

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