Read The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do by Judith Rich Harris Free Online
Book Title: The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do|
The author of the book: Judith Rich Harris
ISBN 13: 0068484409504
Edition: Free Press
Date of issue: January 1st 1998
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.71 MB
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How much credit do parents deserve when their children turn out well? How much blame when they turn out badly? This electrifying book explodes some of our deepest beliefs about children and parents and gives us something radically new to put in their place. With eloquence and wit, Judith Harris explains why parents have little power to determine the sort of people their children become. It is what children experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most. Parents don't socialize children: children socialize children. Yet we cling to the "nurture assumption", our unquestioned belief that, aside from their genes, what makes children turn out the way they do is the way their parents bring them up. This assumption is so deeply embedded in our culture that it underlies everything we are taught about rearing children and everything we believe about the emotional hangups of adults. But that doesn't make it true. Harris looks with a fresh eye at the real lives of real children and shows that the nurture assumption is nothing more than a cultural myth. Why do the children of immigrant parents end up speaking in the language and accent of their peers, not of their parents? Why are twins reared together no more alike than twins raised apart? Why does a boy who spends his first eight years with a nanny and his next ten years in boarding school nevertheless turn out just like his father? The nurture assumption cannot provide an answer to these questions. Judith Harris can.
Using examples from folklore and literature as well as from scientific research, Harris shows us the world of childhood in all its richness and complexity. Relationships with parents and siblings are always important, but they vary from culture to culture. One aspect of childhood, however, is universal: the children's peer group. With a range that extends from the Yanomamo of the Brazilian rainforest to deaf Nicaraguan children learning to communicate for the very first time, Harris demonstrates the power peer groups have in shaping the lives of children. Along the way, we see that many cherished notions-- such as the idea that early mother-child attachments set the pattern for later relationships-- fail to explain what happens to real children, or to a girl named Cinderella, whose miserable home life did not keep her from being a great success in the world outside her cottage.
Harris has a message that will change parents' lives: they have been sold a bill of goods. Parenting does not match its widely publicized job description. It is a job in which sincerity and hard work do not guarantee success. Through no fault of their own, good parents sometimes have bad kids. Harris offers parents wise counsel on what they can and cannot do, and relief from guilt for those whose best efforts have somehow failed to produce a happy, well-behaved, self-confident child.
"The Nurture Assumption" is a profound work that brings together insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology to offer a startling new view of who we are and how we got that way.
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Read information about the authorJudith Rich Harris was born February 10, 1938, and spent the first part of her childhood moving around with her family from one part of the country to another. Her parents eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona, where the climate permitted her father (invalided by an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis) to live in reasonable comfort. Harris graduated from Tucson High School and attended the University of Arizona and Brandeis University. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis in 1959 and was awarded the Lila Pearlman Prize in psychology. In 1961 she received a master's degree in psychology from Harvard University.
Harris has been married since 1961 to Charles S. Harris; they have two daughters, born in 1966 and 1969, and four grandchildren, born in 1996, 1999, 2001, and 2004. Before her children were born, Harris worked as a teaching assistant in psychology at MIT (1961-1962), and as a research assistant at Bolt Beranek and Newman (1962-1963) and the University of Pennsylvania (1963-1965).
Since 1977, Harris has suffered from a chronic autoimmune disorder called mixed connective tissue disease - an "overlap" combination of lupus and systemic sclerosis. This disorder can affect virtually any organ in the body. One of its more serious complications is a heart-lung condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. Harris was diagnosed with this condition in 2002.
While bedridden for a period of time in the late 1970s, Harris worked out a mathematical model of visual search; this work was published in two articles in the journal Perception and Psychophysics (see publication list below). From 1981 to 1994 she was a writer of textbooks in developmental psychology. She is senior author of The Child (Prentice-Hall, 1984, 1987, 1991) and Infant and Child (1992).
In 1994 Harris had begun work on a new development textbook, without a co-author this time, when she had an idea that led her to formulate a new theory of child development. She abandoned the textbook and instead wrote an article for the Psychological Review. Work on The Nurture Assumption began in 1995; the book was published three years later (Free Press, 1998). But the theory continued to evolve. The final version was presented in No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality (Norton, 2006).
Harris is a member of the Association for Psychological Science and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1998 she received the George A. Miller Award from the American Psychological Association for her article entitled "Where Is the Child's Environment? A Group Socialization Theory of Development" (Psychological Review, 1995). This award is given to an outstanding article, particularly one that makes linkages between diverse fields of psychology. In 2007 she received the David Horrobin Prize for Medical Theory for her article "Parental selection: a third selection process in the evolution of human hairlessness and skin color" (Medical Hypotheses, 2006).