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Publisher's Summary

Parenting advice isn't hard to find. There are thousands of books on the subject, as well as a multitude of websites. Much has also been written on the science of child development. What's been lacking, however, are sources of reliable advice that bring together the scientific research and its real-world applications.
This course bridges the divide. In 24 engaging lectures, an expert in the cognitive development of early childhood presents what scientific research has revealed about the things parents can actively do to promote children’s long-term development right from birth. Professor Vishton delivers a wealth of practical tips to help children reach their full potential intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially. And he supports it all with findings culled from the latest scientific literature.
You’ll touch on topics across all areas of childrearing, from sleep and nutrition to behavior and academics. And you’ll get answers to many of the most common parenting questions:

Should I sleep-train my baby by letting her “cry it out”?
Should I let my infant, toddler, or child watch TV-and if so, how much?
Should I allow my child to play video games?
Should I pressure my picky eater to finish her vegetables?
Should I spank my child when he misbehaves?
In addition to learning methods for laying an early foundation in subjects such as math and reading, you’ll gain information for boosting your children’s overall cognitive abilities-and even their IQ scores.
©2014 The Great Courses; 2014 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

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By Rich on 03-24-15

Valuable Information, But Lots of Citations

Any additional comments?

This title is valuable, but not engaging. I didn't find myself "racing to listen to the next chapter," like I have other books and lecture series.

Prof. Vishton is a fine lecturer, both in narration and organization; his being a parent adds to his credential. The citations for each of his recommendations are numerous; ultimately these citations fill a lot of time. For the scientific-minded, these citations are necessary and interesting; for the parent looking for good quick advice, the lectures can be summarized into the bulleted list below.

I look forward to applying these takeaways to my two young daughters over the course of the next two decades.

- Do tummy time often with infants.
- Read to your children even as infants.
- Hold bedtime at the same time.
- Introduce new foods in small doses with no pressure, and certainly not while not sick.
- Read often. Let them hold the book. Focus on phonics early. Electronics are not needed, they distract.
- Play with blocks. Run around. Learn a musical instrument.
- Stereotype anticipation is VERY influential, e.g. "Girls are very good/bad at math."
- Intelligence is malleable, not fixed. Teach that. Praise work, not intelligence.
- Memory exercises are proven to work. The Memory Game, Simon, and "I went to China" are good examples.
- Homework: done in a consistent time and place, not right before bed, take breaks, don't give answers when struggling.
- Math: teach fractions, get a "hundred board," play board games.
- Second Language: helps people be creative and mentally flexible, even if initial language development in slowed in the short-term.
- Tv: small, supervised doses of quality, cirriculum-based programming. No violence. No background tv.
- Video games: the right game can be creatively and spatially stimulating. Monitor usage, make sure it doesn't cut into other positive activities.
- Esteem: defend against learned helplessness. Set an example by your own actions. Learning is effort based, not permanently intrinsic. A mastering hobby like drawing should be encouraged if present. - Depression lasting longer than 2-3 weeks should seek counseling. Activity is the most important tool.
- Reward effort, not results.
- How your child cooperates and resolves conflicts with others will largely model your own behavior. Set an example.
- Conflicts aren't bad. They're totally natural and result in improved outcomes if managed properly. Talk about conflicts. Teach taking the perspectives of other people.
- If not require, then let children help with "the chores"--cleaning, picking up toys, etc. To them, it's very engaging and allows them to develop focus.
- Montessori number chains are an excellent way to develop numerical reasoning--the antithesis of "arithmetical memorization."
- Physical education is important and correlates tightly with intellectual development.
- Adolescent brains are literally different than adult brains. Persist with open communication and questions even if there is no response for weeks or months. Give space for them to create their own identity.
- Resist the natural urge to believe vocal, passionate people who do not use scientific reasoning in their conclusions about child rearing (e.g. vaccines and autism).
- Don't rush childhood. Apply these lessons at the appropriate time. Unstructured time for children is rapidly decreasing (removal of recess, after school classes, etc.); do your part to make unstructured time for your children.

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259 of 260 people found this review helpful

By Jacobus on 03-22-14

A helpful and enlightning overview of parenting

Prof. Peter M. Vishton is an expert in Cognitive Psychology who gives tips on how to raise your children... what was unusual to me was that he didn't do it from a religious perspective, but his suggestions flows from a scientific basis. He actually brings together a huge range of scientific experiments and data by which he sifts the corn from the proverbial chaff. That is the strength and appeal of this course. There is something that any parent can take out of the course that can be applied almost immediately to your own children irrespective of their age and development.

I especially liked Prof. Vishton's almost mantra-like caution that parents should not go overboard. He was also very careful not to give black and white answers how to be a parent. He suggested and supported certain things more than others like being a authoritative parent over and against and authoritarian, permissive or absent parent. I was surprised to discover that video games and even television programmes had a positive side to it, but also realised that children in the United States are in some ways very different from South African children - owning more than one video console - why? Why owning one at all? Be that as it may, this course is an excellent measuring rod by which you can measure your own parenting. It brings new ideas into your grasp, some of which I found had an immediate effect on my relationship with my eldest daughter - like over-explaining instead of just getting impatient and sometimes unnecessarily angry. I am also very glad to have been introduced to the Montessori hundred board.

If there is one concern about the course, is that it is too broad. Divide it into two or three more detailed courses. I think for instance sibling rivalry and the function of pets, which Prof. Vishton mentions towards the end of the course, can really benefit parents. Furthermore it will help to gain a better grasp upon a child in early childhood development, versus a teen and ultimately an adolescent. I would have liked also to know a bit more about gender roles and grand parents. I think the net for this course is thrown a bit wide and a few fish got away.

That said, it is an excellent course, very thought provoking, enlightening and very helpful to guide you in avoiding some of the pitfalls of parenting. I like Prof. Vishton's idea that parents should themselves become scientists when busy parenting their children. The course comes highly recommended (especially when you use an Audible credit to buy it... otherwise you might find it a bit pricey).

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37 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Paulo Matos on 03-10-15


Would you consider the audio edition of Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive to be better than the print version?

There aren't many things to say about the book. The lecturer is amazing and the content is detailed but easy to listen to. It's a pleasure to listen to the whole course and recommended to all parents, would-be parents, caregivers and any other people working with children.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No... take your time to assimilate all the ideas.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

By Kate on 07-11-14

Interesting, insightful, well delivered

What did you like most about Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive?

The lecturer.

What did you like best about this story?

It was very interesting and well structured. It was packed with useful information and tips and the information was balanced and well put together.

What about Professor Peter M. Vishton’s performance did you like?

The presenter was very well spoken and was enjoyable to listen to - the best of the Great Courses lecturers I've listened to so far. He was very knowledgeable and someone I'm sure I would enjoy talking to in person.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it was a bit long for that!

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Ken Craig on 06-29-17

Smart approach. Useful tips. Succinct delivery.

Cuts through the fluff on parenting advice. Goes straight for simple tips that have sound evidence basis, grounded in contemporary psychology, neuroscience and early education. Everything is practical and pragmatic. Not a lot here that you haven't heard before, but delivered in a way that is direct and empowering.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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