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Scientific Parenting: What Science Reveals About Parental Influence Paperback – Aug 24 2013
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About the Author
Dr. Nicole Letourneau is a research chair in parent-infant mental health at the University of Calgary. She has published more than eighty articles and contributed to thirteen books on child development. Her research has been featured in the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald, and on CTV News and the CBC. She lives in Calgary.
Justin Joschko received his M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Brunswick. Currently, he works as a freelance writer, researcher, and qualitative analyst. He lives in Ottawa.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Author did well to make epigenetics easy to understand and gave many great overviews of scientific studies, summarized with easy to understand language.
I liked the fictitious stories that were used to illustrate the different types of personality types that arise with the combination of certain genes mixed with varying environments.
I like that the author doesn't give specific parenting advice but instead gives the foundation of healthy and successful parenting:
1) protect your child from severe stress, especially when very young,
2) build strong emotional connections and supportive relationship with your child,
3) make sure as a parent that you have lots of support for your needs from other adults
To illustrate the importance of number three, there was a study that showed that a parent with hidden unaddressed emotional stress lead to worse child outcomes than did parents who had bad patenting skills. Meaning that a parent's internal emotional state is just as important as parenting skills.
Another interesting point from the book is that some genes allow a child to have an average adult life no matter how good or bad his childhood experience is. But there are variations of these genes that when present lead to a poor adult life if one's childhood is abusive or neglectful. However, this same set of variations lead to exceptionally successful adults when their childhoods are extra supportive and positive.
So my mom was half right when she said that kids turn out the same no matter what the parents do!
I also appreciate the author's discussions of resilience. Some people have a resilience that allows them to overcome poor childhood experiences. But, she says, this resilience comes with a high price and can often turn into things like post partem depression later in life. The author encourages our society to put more attention and effort into creating stronger support systems for parents and children because this will lead to a better society. But, redistributing money is not the answer since even wealthy families can have poor parenting skills.
One exciting piece is that in the near future we can screen children for genes that make them more susceptible to developmental problems from unsuitable environmental experiences, leading to perhaps a parenting manual specific to your child's genetic nuances.