On the advice of two trusted people, I’ve been meaning to read this book for about six months. The other day, while snooping around the book store, I cracked open a copy and before I knew it, my lunch hour evaporated. I was riveted.
This book is so chock full of fascinating child development revelations, that I’m going to review it as a series, chapter by chapter.
The introduction to the book explores why parental instints are so often wrong. Our best intentions lead to undesirable results.
Certainly, we are hard-wired to protect our children, beyond that, things get a bit fuzzy. Instinct does not translate into wisdom. And though none of us wants to feel as if we are parenting according to tenets laid out by “experts,” it turns out that science has been accumlating some pretty amazing discoveries about kids, and the data fly in the face of what many parents are doing.
Think that telling your child he’s smart will build confidence? Wrong. Believe that race is a social construct and racism can be defeated by raising children in a diverse setting without any discussion of what it means to be black, asian, white? Wrong again. It’s no biggy if you let your kid stay up a bit late a few times a week? Huge mistake. Think punishment is the best way to deal with lying? Nope.
The best part of this book is the way in which the science is presented, and the aha! moments the authors present you with at every turn. Suddenly, your parenting tool kit is backed by data, instead of an amalgam of parenting lore and well-intentioned guessing. Now it all makes sense.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at Chapter I: The Inverse Power of Praise.