book club: Nurture Shock discussion question list

The time has come and we’re ready to get going with our discussion of Nurture Shock!

A quick reminder: it may seem like we’re too far into this installment of PAIL Book Club for a newcomer to join in, but never fear– you’re still welcome! So far, we have all been reading on our own and PAIL bloggers have submitted discussion questions as a jumping-off point for your blog posts about the book. Those posts aren’t due until October 31st, so there’s plenty of time to grab a copy of Nurture Shock and start reading along!

Here are the discussion questions that were submitted. They are meant to help get you thinking more deeply about the book, but they’re just suggestions; you can write about whatever you’d like.

1) Do you strive to make/shape your kid(s) to be advanced/the best he/she can be? Or, are you more laid back and OK just letting your kids develop at their own pace?

2) Do you read child development books or do you rely on another source of advice on how to make parenting decisions?  Which sources?

3) In his introduction, how do Bronson & Merryman compare the 1950’s paint-by-number hobby with parenting-by-the-book?  Do you agree with this assessment?

4) How do Bronson & Merryman define the innate maternal instinct? Do they suggest instinct is a dependable guide for child rearing, or not?  Do you have an “innate maternal instinct” and do you rely on it or mistrust it?

5) Do Bronson & Merryman contradict themselves at the end of his introduction when they says that, given all the scientific findings, “the new thinking about children felt self-evident and logical, even obvious…. It felt entirely natural, a restoration of common sense”?

6) If you have a background in child development or a related field, had you heard any of the research this book presents previously?  Have you seen it implemented and what effects did you see after its implementation?

7) At what point do we trust the research and discard our old ways of thinking about a thing?  What level of evidence convinces you, or would any level of evidence change your mind on some parenting issue, and if not, which ones?

8) Do you agree with the premise that kids (or adults!) don’t trade television time for physical activity, but instead trade it for some other sedentary behavior? Do you?

9) What do you think of the concept of praising for effort instead of results? Do you think you can integrate this with your own parenting style? Do you believe it works/makes a difference?
10) How do we teach our children not to lie when we all tell white lies all the time?
11) Do you think that you are better or worse in social situations thanks to your relationships with your siblings? Do you agree with the statement that “…in many sibling relationships, the rate of coflict can be high, but the fun times in the backyard and in the basement more than balance it out. This net-positive is what predicts a good relationship later in life. In contrast, siblings who simply ignored each other had less fighting, but their relationship stayed cold and distant long term.” Does this hold true in your experience?

12) What, if anything, do you plan to take from the book and implement in your own parenting?

I just have to say wow! We got some really thought-provoking and smart question submissions. My brain is already churning with ideas for my post and I hope you’re feeling inspired as well!

You can submit post links as soon as you’d like using this form, but remember that to get them posted to the list on October 31st, we’ll need them in by midnight on October 30th. Until then– happy reading!


  1. I didn’t read the questions yet! I plan to finish the book on my various plane rides this weekend..HAHAHA!

    No really…I’ve got my highlighter and notebook say to go. Really digging this book so far.


  1. […] still welcome to join!  A list of discussion question ideas has been posted, so if you’re gearing up to write your post about the book, we think this […]

  2. […] didn’t sign up to participate in PAIL’s book club this month, but when I read the discussion questions, one stood out for me like none of the others […]

  3. […] still welcome to join!  A list of discussion question ideas has been posted, so if you’re gearing up to write your post about the book, we think this […]

  4. […] of the discussion questions worth reflecting on was: does research change your mind? I would hesitate at a cautionary yes. […]

%d bloggers like this: