At our recent parent coffee, we discussed the important findings in the 2009 book by Bronson and Merryman entitled “NurtureShock.” Our focus was on the first chapter where we discussed the new research on praise and what, at least in North America, has been a trend to utilize indiscriminate praise to bolster self-esteem since the beginning of the 1970’s. Flawed research at that time supported the notion that we should support self-esteem at all costs to ensure achievement later in life. In essence, there was a belief that children at a formative age should be spared the self-concept damage of criticism. Recent research has shown us that this is an unfortunate conclusion that was based on inaccurate and even misleading research of the time. We know today with more recent longitudinal research and brain studies that not all praise is equal and that praise which lacks the quality of feedback is potentially undermining persistence and determination later in life. In fact, the strategies employed by parent between 1980 and 2010 maybe the root cause of an increasingly disenfranchised adolescent population. Culturally, this damage may be limited to North America, but our discussion at the coffee today found some evidence that it may also be an issue for other cultures as well.
The slides from our discussion are included below for your reference and reflection:
Additionally, we touched briefly on the second chapter of NurtureShock and discussed the increasingly important literature supporting the need for sleep amongst teens and, legitimately, students of all ages. The research here, again, is both sound and well presented. Historical studies have shown that children, on average, are now sleeping about one hour less per night with highly detrimental consequences. The recommendation is that parents become more proactive in reclaiming this lost time and, thereby, improve significantly their child’s quality of life. The book and website are worth your earnest consideration: www.nurtureshock.com