The title of this book refers to the author’s idea that sometimes parents don’t “just know” how to raise a child and thus they are lost trying to figure it out[1]. The goal of the book is to show us what science says about how children should be raised.

One thing recommended here that we’ve done with our children is focusing on their effort put in[2], not telling them that “they’re smart” or “athletic”. Focusing on the effort means that they can try again, or try in a bit different way. Focusing on their state of being (smart/athletic…) focuses on something that’s outside of their control which can lead to no longer trying after failure.

A second interesting insight is that school is built for the ease of parents not what’s best for students[3]. This is particularly evident when you look at school for teenagers, whose natural sleep cycle moves back into the night and later into the morning. We still start school early though, which impedes their performance in morning classes. I also found the study showing that many of the bad things about teenagers we cite[4] are the same things we see in people that are sleep deprived[5]. Much of the poor behaviour goes away when teenagers are afforded more sleep.

While I didn’t find this book groundbreaking, I did find it helpful in how I think about parenting and would recommend the book.

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