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|How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
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Author: Paul Tough
Why do some children succeed while others fail?
The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.
But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.
Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, can not only affect the conditions of children’s lives, it can alter the physical development of their brains as well. But now educators and doctors around the country are using that knowledge to develop innovative interventions that allow children to overcome the constraints of poverty. And with the help of these new strategies, as Tough’s extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.
This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
Q&A with Paul Tough
Q. What made you want to write How Children Succeed?
A. In 2008, I published my first book, Whatever It Takes, about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone. I spent five years reporting that book, but when I finished it, I realized I still had a lot of questions about what really happens in childhood. How Children Succeed is an attempt to answer those questions, which for many of us are big and mysterious and central in our lives: Why do certain children succeed while other children fail? Why is it, exactly, that poor children are less likely to succeed, on average, than middle-class children? And most important, what can we all do to steer more kids toward success?
Q. Where did you go to find the answers?
A. My reporting for this book took me all over the country, from a pediatric clinic in a low-income San Francisco neighborhood to a chess tournament in central Ohio to a wealthy private school in New York City. And what I found as I reported was that there is a new and groundbreaking conversation going on, out of the public eye, about childhood and success and failure. It is very different than the traditional education debate. There are economists working on this, neuroscientists, psychologists, medical doctors. They are often working independently from one another. They don’t always coordinate their efforts. But they’re beginning to find some common ground, and together they’re reaching some interesting and important conclusions.
Q. A lot of your reporting for this book was in low-income neighborhoods. Overall, what did you learn about kids growing up in poverty?
A. A lot of what we think we know about the effect of poverty on a child’s development is just plain wrong. It’s certainly indisputable that growing up in poverty is really hard on children. But the conventional wisdom is that the big problem for low-income kids is that they don’t get enough cognitive stimulation early on. In fact, what seems to have more of an effect is the chaotic environments that many low-income kids grow up in and the often stressful relationships they have with the adults around them. That makes a huge difference in how children’s brains develop, and scientists are now able to trace a direct route from those early negative experiences to later problems in school, health, and behavior.
The problem is that science isn’t yet reflected in the way we run our schools and operate our social safety net. And that’s a big part of why so many low-income kids don’t do well in school. We now know better than ever what kind of help they need to succeed in school. But very few schools are equipped to deliver that help.
Q. Many readers were first exposed to your reporting on character through your article in the New York Times Magazine in September 2011, which was titled "What If the Secret to Success Is Failure?" How does failure help us succeed?
A. That’s an idea that I think was best expressed by Dominic Randolph, the head of the Riverdale Country School, an exclusive private school in the Bronx where they’re now doing some interesting experiments with teaching character. Here’s how he put it: "The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure. And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything."
That idea resonated with a lot of readers. I don’t think it’s quite true that failure itself helps us succeed. In fact, repeated failures can be quite devastating to a child’s development. What I think is important on the road to success is learning to deal with failure, to manage adversity. That’s a skill that parents can certainly help their children develop--but so can teachers and coaches and mentors and neighbors and lots of other people.
Q. How did writing this book affect you as a parent?
A. My wife and I became parents for the first time just as I started reporting this book, and our son Ellington is now three. Those are crucial years in a child’s development, and I spent a lot of them reading papers on the infant brain and studies on attachment and trauma and stress hormones, trying not to get too overwhelmed.
In the end, though, this research had a surprising effect: it made me more relaxed as a parent. When Ellington was born, I was very much caught up in the idea of childhood as a race--the faster a child develops skills, the better he does on tests, the better he’ll do in life. Having done this reporting, I’m less concerned about my son’s reading and counting ability. Don’t get me wrong, I still want him to know that stuff. But I think he’ll get there in time. What I’m more concerned about is his character--or whatever the right synonym is for character when you’re talking about a three-year-old. I want him to be able to get over disappointments, to calm himself down, to keep working at a puzzle even when it’s frustrating, to be good at sharing, to feel loved and confident and full of a sense of belonging. Most important, I want him to be able to deal with failure.
That’s a difficult thing for parents to give their children, since we have deep in our DNA the urge to shield our kids from every kind of trouble. But what we’re finding out now is that in trying to protect our children, we may actually be harming them. By not giving them the chance to learn to manage adversity, to cope with failure, we produce kids who have real problems when they grow up. Overcoming adversity is what produces character. And character, even more than IQ, is what leads to real and lasting success.
|Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition)
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Author: Foster Cline
This parenting book shows you how to raise self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. Learn how to parent effectively while teaching your children responsibility and growing their character.
Establish healthy control through easy-to-implement steps without anger, threats, nagging, or power struggles.
|The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
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Author: Daniel J. Siegel
“Simple, smart, and effective solutions to your child’s struggles.”—Harvey Karp, M.D.
“Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson have created a masterly, reader-friendly guide to helping children grow their emotional intelligence. This brilliant method transforms everyday interactions into valuable brain-shaping moments. Anyone who cares for children—or who loves a child—should read The Whole-Brain Child.”—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.
Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
“[A] useful child-rearing resource for the entire family . . . The authors include a fair amount of brain science, but they present it for both adult and child audiences.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Strategies for getting a youngster to chill out [with] compassion.”—The Washington Post
“This erudite, tender, and funny book is filled with fresh ideas based on the latest neuroscience research. I urge all parents who want kind, happy, and emotionally healthy kids to read The Whole-Brain Child. This is my new baby gift.”—Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other
“Gives parents and teachers ideas to get all parts of a healthy child’s brain working together.”—Parent to Parent
|Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential
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Author: Peg Dawson
There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your bright, talented son or daughter struggle with everyday tasks like finishing homework, putting away toys, or following instructions at school. Your “smart but scattered” child might also have trouble coping with disappointment or managing anger. Drs. Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have great news: there’s a lot you can do to help.
The latest research in child development shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”--the fundamental habits of mind required for getting organized, staying focused, and controlling impulses and emotions. Learn easy-to-follow steps to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses, use activities and techniques proven to boost specific skills, and problem-solve daily routines. Small changes can add up to big improvements--this empowering book shows how.
|Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
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Author: Marc Weissbluth M.D.
Brand: Random House
One of the country's leading researchers updates his revolutionary approach to solving--and preventing--your children's sleep problems
Here Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a distinguished pediatrician and father of four, offers his groundbreaking program to ensure the best sleep for your child. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, he explains with authority and reassurance his step-by-step regime for instituting beneficial habits within the framework of your child's natural sleep cycles. This valuable sourcebook contains brand new research that...
- Pinpoints the way daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child
- Helps you cope with and stop the crybaby syndrome, nightmares, bedwetting, and more
- Analyzes ways to get your baby to fall asleep according to his internal clock--naturally
- Reveals the common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep--including the inclination to rock and feed
- Explores the different sleep cycle needs for different temperaments--from quiet babies to hyperactive toddlers
- Emphasizes the significance of a nap schedule
Rest is vital to your child's health growth and development. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child outlines proven strategies that ensure good, healthy sleep for every age. Advises parents dealing with teenagers and their unique sleep problems
|NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
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Author: Po Bronson
One of the most influential books about children ever published, Nurture Shock offers a revolutionary new perspective on children that upends a library's worth of conventional wisdom. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, the authors demonstrate that many of modern society's strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring--because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, NurtureShock gets to the core of how we grow, learn and live.
Released in hardcover in September 2009, Nurture Shock remained on the New York Times best seller list for three months, and was one of Amazon's best selling books for 2009. The book has become a worldwide phenomenon with editions published around the world - in fifteen languages, to date.
In addition to Bronson and Merryman's writings on praise -- first made famous in New York magazine -- there are nine more equally groundbreaking chapters. Among the topics covered:
Why the most brutal person in a child's life is often a sibling, and how a single aspect of their preschool-aged play can determine their relationship as adults.
When is it too soon - or too late - to teach a child about race? Children in diverse schools are less likely to have a cross-racial friendship, not more - so is school diversity backfiring?
Millions of families are fighting to get their kids into private schools and advanced programs as early as possible. But schools are missing the best kids, 73% of the time - the new neuroscience explains why.
Why are kids - even those from the best of homes - still aggressive and cruel? The answer is found in a rethinking of parental conflict, discipline, television's unexpected influence, and social dominance.
Parents are desperate to jump-start infants' language skills. Recently, scientists have discovered a series of natural techniques that are astonishing in their efficacy - it's not baby videos, sign language, or even the richness of language exposure. It's nothing you've heard before.
|The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook--What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing
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Author: Bruce Perry
Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses, children raised in closets and cages, and victims of family violence. Here he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.
|Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
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Author: Kim John Payne
Brand: Baker and Taylor
Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.
|Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child's Fears, Worries, and Phobias
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Author: Tamar Chansky Ph.D.
Anxiety is the number one mental health problem facing young people today.
Childhood should be a happy and carefree time, yet more and more children today are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, from bedwetting and clinginess to frequent stomach aches, nightmares, and even refusing to go to school. Parents everywhere want to know: All children have fears, but how much is normal? How can you know when a stress has crossed over into a full-blown anxiety disorder? Most parents don’t know how to recognize when there is a real problem and how to deal with it when there is.
In Freeing Your Child From Anxiety, a childhood anxiety disorder specialist examines all manifestations of childhood fears, including social anxiety, Tourette’s Syndrome, hair-pulling, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and guides you through a proven program to help your child back to emotional safety.
No child is immune from the effects of stress in today’s media-saturated society. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable. By following these simple solutions, parents can prevent their children from needlessly suffering today—and tomorrow.
|Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting
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Author: Ph.D. John Gottman
Intelligence That Comes from the Heart
Every parent knows the importance of equipping children with the intellectual skills they need to succeed in school and life. But children also need to master their emotions. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child is a guide to teaching children to understand and regulate their emotional world. And as acclaimed psychologist and researcher John Gottman shows, once they master this important life skill, emotionally intelligent children will enjoy increased self-confidence, greater physical health, better performance in school, and healthier social relationships. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will equip parents with a five-step "emotion coaching" process that teaches how to:
* Be aware of a child's emotions
* Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
* Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings
* Label emotions in words a child can understand
* Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation
Written for parents of children of all ages, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child will enrich the bonds between parent and child and contribute immeasurably to the development of a generation of emotionally healthy adults.
In Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, psychology professor John Gottman explores the emotional relationship between parents and children. It's not enough to simply reject an authoritarian model of parenting, Gottman says. A parent needs to be concerned with the quality of emotional interactions. Gottman, author of Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, and coauthor Joan Declaire focus first on the parent (a "know thyself" approach), and provide a series of exercises to assess parenting styles and emotional self-awareness. The authors identify a five-step "emotion coaching" process to help teach children how to recognize and address their feelings, which includes becoming aware of the child's emotions; recognizing that dealing with these emotions is an opportunity for intimacy; listening empathetically; helping the child label emotions; setting limits; and problem-solving. Chapters on divorce, fathering, and age-based differences in emotional development help make Gottman's teachings detailed and useful. --Ericka Lutz
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