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'Parentology' looks at the science of raising kids (Excerpt)

dalton-conley-c-stephen-p-hudner

Stephen P. Hudner

Dalton Conley (c) with his two children, E (l) and Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles (r)

This excerpt from  a New Yorker satire piece might best sum up what it's like being a mom or dad in 2014:

A recent study has shown that if American parents read one more long-form think piece about parenting they will go f***ing ape sh*t.

For example, you might learn that breastfed kids are smarter...only to find out months later that another study says the benefits of breast-feeding have been overstated.

It can be hard determining what's best for your child when new science comes out every day that seems to contradict one another. So sociologist Dalton Conley tried an experiment: deliberately try out what the research says on his own two children.

For example, Conley's son suffers from ADHD and says the school wanted to medicate him.

"I thought the evidence was pretty mixed on medication," says Conley, "but I also knew research literature that said placebos work almost as well as the actual medication for most behavioral and mental health drugs."

He then gave his son a placebo — and lied to him and his school.

"We wanted to see if it would fix the problem," says Conley. "Unfortunately, in this case, it didn't. You just realize that these abstract models can't capture the texture of each individual case, and really, each family should be its own laboratory."

Dalton Conley, author of the new book, "Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask," joins the show with more.

EXCERPT: 

(Excerpt from PARENTOLOGY: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask by Dalton Conley.  Copyright © 2014 by Dalton Conley. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc, NY.)


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