March 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

If you haven’t read anything by Po Bronson, you may as well start with his newest, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children.  He’s an innovative thinker with an endearing emotional openness.  He’s one of the few authors I treasure so much that I withhold his books from myself, so I don’t read through them all too quickly.  I like knowing there are more discoveries in wait.

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I’m only a pseudo-parent, so I have a certain amount of anxiety.  Am I doing it right?  When you’re a step-mom, you sort of have to figure that if the kid doesn’t turn out well, everyone will blame you.  On the other hand, if she does, you’re the last person who would get any credit.  I was pleased, after reading this book, to see that some of my instincts have actually been on target.

Here are some things you will learn:

  • It’s harmful to praise your children too much, especially to tell them they’re smart
  • High school driver’s ed classes increase traffic accidents
  • Lying is a developmental milestone
  • Teenagers are far less emotionally damaged by arguing than parents are
  • It’s better to conduct marital disputes in front of the kids than to hide them
  • Babies will learn to talk more quickly if you touch them or smile whenever they make a sound

There’s more, and naturally none of this stuff will seem believable until you read the studies from whence the information was drawn.  If you spend much time around kids of any age, this is a must-read.



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  1. Sounds like a book I should read. Some of those things make little sense to me- touching your baby while you make a noise helps them talk? I’d like to read about the study that shows that (not because I’m so skeptical, but because I’m curious).

    My parents hardly ever argued in front of us; my husband’s did all the time. So I often feel this need to hide disagreements with my husband from my child, but he doesn’t feel that way and I have to remind myself it’s probably better for her to see how two people can argue and make up, than to believe they never disagree at all.

    • True. The book also says kids either overhear or figure out when we argue roughly half the time.

  2. Thank you for this review. It inspired me to obtain and read this book. My daughter is only two, but this gave me so much insight! I have rarely been so captivated by essays.

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