We’re all bombarded with studies, every day, that tell us this thing or that about children’s behavior and our effect, as parents, on what they do. A new book by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman called NurtureShock sifts through all the conventional wisdom out there and looks at the social science behind it.
Some of the findings are pretty interesting – for example, four year olds lie around once an hour. Which touched off a wave of “only once, really?” from `those of us on the ‘Derby team that have four year olds. And lying is actually an advanced skill.
Another interesting fact – kids can experience fluctuations of up to 15 points in IQ between the ages of 3 and 10. So your little genius might actually end up being more in line with is or her peers.
I also love when something reinforces my prejudice. For example, the authors looked at all the research on slef-esteem and found that the pervasive “everybody gets a trophy” attitude is actually pretty bad for kids’ development. They pickup on our latent anxiety from over-praising, and kids who are convinced they are super smart because of constant ego massaging tend not to put a lot of effort into their work.
Overall, this sounds like a really interesting book, sort of a Freakonomics of parenting, and possibly even an antidote to some of the craziness of modern child-raising. I mean, $699 “word pedometers?” People fell for that? Maybe a good hard look at the data would ward off that type of silliness.