Surprising research on children

The recently released book, NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, reviews some things researchers have learned about raising children – often counter to popular belief. For example:
  • Specific praise is better than general praise in positively effecting children’s behavior. Children who are given general praise for their intelligence are less likely to choose challenging work in the future while children who are praised for their effort are more willing to choose a difficult task.
  • Getting enough sleep is essential for learning to solidify and for children to do their best at school. NutureShock reports on research from Minnesota which found “Teens who received A’s averaged about fifteen more minutes sleep than the B students, who in turn averaged 15 more minutes than the C’s, and so on.”
  • Teens who argue with their parents may be showing respect, not disrespect.
  • Preschoolers who are given the opportunity to participate in structured role plays through the Tools of the Mind program developed the ability to focus and stay on task. These higher-order thinking skills led to significantly better academic test scores.
While the book isn’t prescriptive in telling parents how to change their behavior based on the reported research, parents will gain some interesting insights.

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