Nurture Shock

Nurture Shock is a great book for parents of young children. And I highly recommend it since the lessons learned through this book can go a long way in raising confident, well-mannered and persistent kids. Some of the key points from this book are as follows.

  • Don’t over praise and concentrate the praise on effort not intelligence. Encourage failure and the value of trying hard repeatedly.
  • The brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through. A person growing up having too frequent rewards will not have persistence because they’ll quit when rewards disappear.
  • Praise specifically e.g. looking to pass in football rather than you played great. This tip has helped me a lot during my interactions with my kids since the kids are intelligent enough to realize whether the praise is for the sake of praise or they have actually done something worthwhile.
  • Lying is a more advanced skill. A child who is going to lie must recognise the truth, intellectually conceive of an alternate reality and be able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else.
  • Children often lie to avoid punishment but so to see parents happy. That’s why George Washington story works well to reduce lies but wolf and shepherd doesn’t.
  • It’s long been assumed that siblings learn on one another and then apply the social skills they acquire to their relationships with peers outside the family. It’s the other way around. Older siblings train on their friends and then apply what they know to their little brothers and sisters.
  • The type of parents who are most consistent in enforcing rules are the same who are the most warm and have most conversations with their kids. They’ve set certain rules over certain spheres of influence and explained why the rules are there. They expect the child to obey them . Over life’s other spheres they support the child’s autonomy allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions.
  • Teaching teens how not to be bored is very important. I think the author imply having them spend time without any stimulus (video games, phone, movies) and figure out how to fill their time without technology.
  • Kids brains light up on every reward, adults according to the size of the reward while teens not for low or medium but big reward.
  • In intense excitement teen brains rational response centre gets overridden by the reward centre.
  • Teen brains can think abstractly but not feel abstractly until it’s had more life experiences to draw on and feeling is very important to stop from doing something.
  • Certain types of fighting despite the acrimony are ultimately a sign of respect not if disrespect. Teens who argue accept the parents right to set the rules and argue over rules not their authority.
  • Tools plan strategy: make long play plans with children beforehand like fire brigade game and ask them to commit to it. Point towards the mistake in the sentence but don’t point out the actual mistake so that the child figures it out himself.
  • Sometimes spouses should work out their conflicts in front of the children in a calm and reasoned way.

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