The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do

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Touchstone, 1999 - Family & Relationships - 462 pages
15 Reviews

How much credit do parents deserve when their children turn out welt? How much blame when they turn out badly? Judith Rich Harris has a message that will change parents' lives: The "nurture assumption" -- the belief that what makes children turn out the way they do, aside from their genes, is the way their parents bring them up -- is nothing more than a cultural myth. This electrifying book explodes some of our unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives us a radically new view of childhood.

Harris looks with a fresh eye at the real lives of real children to show that it is what they experience outside the home, in the company of their peers, that matters most, Parents don't socialize children; children socialize children. With eloquence and humor, Judith Harris explains why parents have little power to determine the sort of people their children will become.

The Nurture Assumption is an important and entertaining 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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Even my mother, a lifelong primary teacher, sees it as being obvious, yet the rise of "child advocacy" remains in unsustainable denial.

Review: The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do

User Review  - Dennis Junk - Goodreads

This is a must-read, as it dispels quite a bit of almost universally believed nonsense about psychology. (Harris's beef with Frank Sulloway, however, is an unfortunate embarrassment for her; she got in over her head there.) Read full review


Nurture Is Not the Same as Environment
The Nature and Nurture of the Evidence
Nature Nurture and None of the Above

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About the author (1999)

Judith Rich Harris is a former writer of college textbooks on child development who realized one day that much of what she had been telling her readers was wrong. She stopped writing textbooks and instead wrote a theoretical article on development, which won an award from the American Psychological Association.

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