Book briefs

2019-04-10 06:00
photo: suppliedExploring social trends and parenting techniques of the new age.

photo: suppliedExploring social trends and parenting techniques of the new age.

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It’s no secret that we’ve become more protective of our kids.

From peanut allergy warnings to missing children’s faces on milk cartons, a disproportionate sense of dread has crept into the minds of parents, believing that unless they fend off every obstruction that can impede in their child’s progress, he or she stands no chance of surviving (or gaining access into a prestigious college, which for some parents would probably be worse).

Yet as Lukianoff and Haidt argue in The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, getting out of your safe zone and exposing yourself to common risks is necessary for a person’s development.

Children are found to be “anti-fragile”, in that they grow stronger the more they’ve faced and conquered on their own. Parents shouldn’t intervene, but merely assist in solvable problems.

The authors also demonstrate the rise in dichotomous thinking within American colleges, where individuals are viewed as either good or bad depending on their political disposition.

This leads to un-academic practices such as inviting speakers to provoke, shouting others down while they’re on stage, to demanding retractions of arguably inoffensive statements (the traditional, constructive response was to answer said statements and strive for an open discussion).

The book doesn’t play favourites and shows that irrational behaviour can come from people of all walks of life.

If you’d like to recognise and prevent getting vortexed into sensitive, entitled, knee-jerk reactive groupthink, this is a must read.

— Omar Sayed.

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