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|How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
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Author: Paul Tough
“Drop the flashcards—grit, character, and curiosity matter even more than cognitive skills. A persuasive wake-up call.”—People
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 more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, 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 reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. 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 improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
“Illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it’s a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall.”—New York Times
“I learned so much reading this book and I came away full of hope about how we can make life better for all kinds of kids.”—Slate
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.
|Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World
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Author: Rosalind Wiseman
Here is a landmark book that reveals the way boys think and that shows parents, educators and coaches how to reach out and help boys overcome their most common yet difficult challenges -- by the bestselling author who changed our conception of adolescent girls.
Do you constantly struggle to pull information from your son, student, or athlete, only to encounter mumbling or evasive assurances such as “It’s nothing” or “I’m good?” Do you sense that the boy you care about is being bullied, but that he’ll do anything to avoid your “help?” Have you repeatedly reminded him that schoolwork and chores come before video games only to spy him reaching for the controller as soon as you leave the room? Have you watched with frustration as your boy flounders with girls?
Welcome to Boy World. It’s a place where asking for help or showing emotional pain often feels impossible. Where sports and video games can mean everything, but working hard in school frequently earns ridicule from “the guys” even as they ask to copy assignments. Where “masterminds” dominate and friends ruthlessly insult each other but can never object when someone steps over the line. Where hiding problems from adults is the ironclad rule because their involvement only makes situations worse.
Boy world is governed by social hierarchies and a powerful set of unwritten rules that have huge implications for your boy’s relationships, his interactions with you, and the man he’ll become. If you want what’s best for him, you need to know what these rules are and how to work with them effectively.
What you’ll find in Masterminds and Wingmen is critically important for every parent – or anyone who cares about boys – to know. Collaborating with a large team of middle- and high-school-age editors, Rosalind Wiseman has created an unprecedented guide to the life your boy is actually experiencing – his on-the-ground reality. Not only does Wiseman challenge you to examine your assumptions, she offers innovative coping strategies aimed at helping your boy develop a positive, authentic, and strong sense of self.
Q&A with Rosalind Wiseman
Q. Why turn your attention to boys? Haven’t they always been in an advantageous position? What has changed?
A. While in some ways it seems indisputable that boys have an advantage over girls, it depends on how you define “advantage.” Yes, some boys have social status and power that enables them to silence others—boys and girls alike. Some boys can use their advantage to hurt others and not be held accountable. But I don’t think of it as advantage per se because it’s impossible to have meaningful connections and relationships with other people when you feel entitled to use those people. And in regards to many boys in middle and high school who’ve barely started puberty, if you asked them who has more advantage, them or the ninth-grade girl who looks like she’s eighteen, they’d laugh at you. To them it seems as if girls have all the power.
Q. I know you wrote this book with boy editors from every walk of life—were you surprised by what the guys revealed to you?
A. Yes! I knew that boys had complex emotional lives, but there was a lot I didn’t know. For example, it’s funny, but boys hate it when their parents pick them up from school or practice and ask a million questions. Other things I learned are more serious. I didn’t realize how often adults dismiss boys’ feelings, or that boys regularly have experiences where people assume they’re either hormone-crazed jerks or lazy slackers—or both. I also didn’t realize how complicated lying is in “Boy World.” Boys lie for many different reasons and our (adult) responses when we catch boys doing it need to reflect an understanding of the reason they lied in the first place. If we don’t understand it, we can’t impart whatever values we want to teach boys.
It also surprised me that so many boys and young men volunteered to help me with this project. Within six months I had more than 150 boys, aged eight to twenty-four, signed on as editors. They came from all over the country and every walk of life: private East Coast boarding schools, New Orleans’s 7th and 9th ward public schools, working-class communities in the Midwest, Southern California suburbs, and every other type of educational environment imaginable. These boys assisted me throughout the writing process to make sure the book was accurate and relevant and captured the lives they really lead.
Q. How do you think this book will help parents to assist boys in navigating the middle and high school years?
A. I am hoping it will make parents realize that behind a boy’s silence or glib assurance that “I’m fine” is a person with deep emotional needs—one who wants meaningful relationships with adults whom he can believe in. Parents can support the emotional lives of their sons without making them soft or unable to handle life’s challenges and hardships. Giving boys the skills to be socially competent when they’re in conflict or upset with someone is the way for them to be truly secure. The boys want and need this support. I hope this book will help move the conversation forward.
Q. What can teachers, coaches, and school administrators get from this book?
A. First and foremost, they’ll gain an appreciation of how critical they are in helping boys to believe what honorable, courageous men they truly can be. Boys often see how hypocritical adults can be, and that disillusionment can make a boy not follow his passions. It can make him disengage from the things and people he values most. Every day, educators have the opportunity to be role models of what it looks like to be just, fair, and honorable. They also have the opportunity to be bullies, abusers of power, and cowards. I want educators to read Masterminds and really hear what the boys are saying about the two kinds of men that exist in their lives, and having heard it, to strive to do their best for the boys in their charge.
|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
|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
|Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
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Author: Eline Snel
Simple mindfulness practices to help your child (ages 5-12) deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions.
Includes a 60-minute audio CD of guided exercises read by Myla Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness—the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment, just as it is—is gaining broad acceptance among mental health professionals as an adjunct to treatment. This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout. Included with purchase is an audio CD with guided meditations, voiced by Myla Kabat-Zinn, who along with her husband, Jon Kabat-Zinn, popularized mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) as a therapeutic approach.
|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.
|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.
|Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil
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Author: Paul Bloom
A leading cognitive scientist argues that a deep sense of good and evil is bred in the bone.
From John Locke to Sigmund Freud, philosophers and psychologists have long believed that we begin life as blank moral slates. Many of us take for granted that babies are born selfish and that it is the role of society—and especially parents—to transform them from little sociopaths into civilized beings. In Just Babies, Paul Bloom argues that humans are in fact hardwired with a sense of morality. Drawing on groundbreaking research at Yale, Bloom demonstrates that, even before they can speak or walk, babies judge the goodness and badness of others’ actions; feel empathy and compassion; act to soothe those in distress; and have a rudimentary sense of justice.
Still, this innate morality is limited, sometimes tragically. We are naturally hostile to strangers, prone to parochialism and bigotry. Bringing together insights from psychology, behavioral economics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Bloom explores how we have come to surpass these limitations. Along the way, he examines the morality of chimpanzees, violent psychopaths, religious extremists, and Ivy League professors, and explores our often puzzling moral feelings about sex, politics, religion, and race.
In his analysis of the morality of children and adults, Bloom rejects the fashionable view that our moral decisions are driven mainly by gut feelings and unconscious biases. Just as reason has driven our great scientific discoveries, he argues, it is reason and deliberation that makes possible our moral discoveries, such as the wrongness of slavery. Ultimately, it is through our imagination, our compassion, and our uniquely human capacity for rational thought that we can transcend the primitive sense of morality we were born with, becoming more than just babies.
Paul Bloom has a gift for bringing abstract ideas to life, moving seamlessly from Darwin, Herodotus, and Adam Smith to The Princess Bride, Hannibal Lecter, and Louis C.K. Vivid, witty, and intellectually probing, Just Babies offers a radical new perspective on our moral lives.
A Conversation with Paul Bloom, Author of Just Babies
Q) What’s up with the title?
A) It’s meant to be playful, because it has two quite different meanings. Just Babies can express a reasonable skepticism about the abilities of these tiny creatures—what do you expect of them, they’re just babies? But of course “just” also derives from justice—as in “a just society”—and so the title captures one of the main arguments of the book, which is that we are born as moral creatures. We start off as just babies. I know this sounds like a remarkable claim, but I hope that my book will convince people to take it seriously.
Q) What made you choose to write this book at this moment?
A) These are exciting times for anyone interested in morality. There are major developments in areas like social neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and moral philosophy. And several research teams—including my own at Yale—are making surprising discoveries about the moral lives of babies and children. I think that now, perhaps for the first time in history, we have scientifically informed answers to some of the questions that matter most: How is it that we are capable of transcendent kindness—and unspeakable cruelty? How do evolution, culture, parenting, and religion conspire to shape our moral natures? How do we make sense of people’s strongly held opinions about abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action, and torture? And how can we become better people? Just Babies tries to answer these questions.
Q) How can you even study morality in babies?
A) In most of our own studies, we use puppet shows. We show babies characters who interact in certain ways—such as one individual helping another or one individual hitting another—and then see who the babies want to interact with, who they want to reward, and who they want to punish. Using these methods, we have discovered that even young babies have the capacity for moral judgment.
Q)So are babies naturally good, or naturally evil?
A) Both! We are born with empathy and compassion, the capacity to judge the actions of others, and a rudimentary understanding of justice and fairness. Morality is bred in the bone. But there is a nastier side to our natures as well. There’s a lot of evidence that even the youngest babies carve the world into Us versus Them—and they are strongly biased to favor the Us. We are very tribal beings. Our natures are not just kind; they are also cruel and selfish. We favor those who look like us and are naturally cold-blooded towards strangers.
Q) Does this mean that prejudice and racism are inevitable?
A) Happily, no. For one thing, social experience really matters—babies and children have to learn who Us versus Them is by observing how those around them act. So while some distinctions are inevitable, such as friends versus strangers, others are not. Notably, it only pretty late in development—by about the age of five—that some children come to use skin color and similar cues when decide who to befriend and who to prefer. Before this, they don’t know that race matters, and so whether or not children will be racist is dependent on how they are raised; what sort of social environments they find themselves in.
Also, we are smart critters, smart enough to override our impulses and biases when we think they are inappropriate. Once we learn about these ugly aspects of our nature, we can move to combat them. We can create treaties and international organizations aimed at protecting universal human rights. We can employ procedures such as blind reviewing and blind auditions that are designed to prevent judges from being biased, consciously or unconsciously, by a candidate’s race—or anything other than what is under evaluation.
Q) It seems as if a lot of your interest is in how we come to transcend our hard-wired morality.
A) That’s right. A complete theory of morality has to have two parts. It starts with what we are born with, and this is surprisingly rich. But a critical part of our morality—so much of what makes us human—is not the product of evolution, but emerges over the course of human history and individual development. It is the product of our compassion, our imagination, and our magnificent capacity for reason. We bring all that to bear when we consider such questions as: How much should we give to charity? Is it right to eat meat? Are there any sorts of consensual sex acts that are morally wrong?
Q) What do you want to accomplish with this book?
A) Two things. First, many people believe that we are born selfish and amoral—that we start off as natural-born psychopaths. And many argue that we are, as David Hume put it, slaves of the passions: our moral judgments and moral actions are the product of neural mechanisms that we have no awareness of and no conscious control over. Intelligence and wisdom are largely impotent. This is an ugly view of human nature. Now, if it were true, we should buck up and learn to leave with it. But it’s not true; these dismissive claims are refuted by everyday experience, by history, and by the science of developmental psychology. We are moral animals, and we are powerfully influenced by our capacity for reason.
Second, I think there are practical implications to the scientific study of morality. If you’re interested in reducing racism and bigotry, for instance, it is critical to understand our inborn proclivity to favor our own group over others; if you want to create a just society, you’ll want to learn about how we naturally think about fairness and equity. Good social policy is informed by an understanding of human nature at its best and its worst, and this is what Just Babies is all about.
|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 Harriet Lane Handbook: Mobile Medicine Series, Expert Consult: Online and Print, 19e
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Author: Johns Hopkins Hospital
Trusted by generations of residents and practitioners, The Harriet Lane Handbook from The Johns Hopkins University remains your first choice for fast, accurate information on pediatric diagnosis and treatment. Now even more convenient to carry, it's your go-to resource for a wealth of practical information, including the latest treatment and management recommendations, immunization schedules, procedures, and therapeutic guidelines, as well as a unique, comprehensive drug formulary. New information on dermatology treatments, eczema complications, lead poisoning, and signs of child abuse keeps you completely up to date. You'll also have easy access to the entire contents online, with frequent updates to drug information, treatment protocols, vaccination schedules, and downloadable images at www.expertconsult.com.
- Benefit from time-tested, practical wisdom - from the first book written "by residents, for residents," reviewed by expert faculty at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and essential for all health care professionals who treat children.
- Find information quickly and easily, even in the most demanding circumstances, with a modified outline format.
- Rely on the most dependable drug information available with the thoroughly updated, one-of-a-kind pediatric formulary.
- Ensure accurate and efficient diagnosis and treatment with all-new coverage of dermatology treatments, eczema complications, and lead poisoning, as well as new CDC immunization schedules, vaccine abbreviations, and full-color images of the signs of child abuse.
- Access the complete contents online at www.expertconsult.com, including frequent updates to the trusted and comprehensive Pediatric Drug Formulary.
Carry it more easily in your pocket with its smaller, more concise format - still delivering the same high-quality information you can refer to with confidence, but in a more convenient size.
Harriet Lane, the most trusted pediatric handbook for over 50 years, is your first and best option for help in daily diagnosis and treatment.
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