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Empowering Underachievers: New Strategies to Guide Kids (8-18) to Personal Excellence Paperback – May 1, 2006


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Empowering Underachievers: New Strategies to Guide Kids (8-18) to Personal Excellence + Bright Minds, Poor Grades: Understanding and Motivating your Underachieving Child + Drive: 9 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Achieve
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: New Horizon Press; Rev Exp edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882822829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882822822
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By b.bingham on October 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
If your child is smart, but consistently fails to perform in school...

If your child is capable but consistently fails to complete tasks without you getting involved...

If your child is good at heart but consistently tries to shirk responsibility...

This book can help!

Dr Spevak details what is really going on (bad attitude due to emotional immaturity) and how to get your kid unstuck. The usual methods (rewards, punishment, getting involved etc) all dissapoint because they are external to the child and do not motivate him to change. So what will? Empowering him! When the child realizes he has choices, the capability to choose well, and the opportunity to succeed, he begins to make better choices instead of "disengaging" and relying on defense mechanisms.

I have found the techniques to be very helpful on a practical level - especially "processing comments" (making comments to get your child thinking about his true underlying emotions) and "with-holds" (instead of punishments, deliberately deny the child something he asks for, and link it to a specific act of misbehavior). But just as important is understanding the underacheiver's behavior on the emotional level, the theory behind the techniques - and Dr Spevak explains this very well.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Patterson-Young on September 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like to tell people that this book didn't just improve my child's motivational level; it changed my life and brought peace to my relationship with my 12 year old daughter. She is incredibly smart, kind and.....stubborn. Or, so I thought. Reading this book really helped me realize her perspective on things and as a result, I changed the way I interacted with her. It required reading the book and planning but it was worth it and I have seen real results in just about 6 months. I have seen this kid make the connection between her poor choices and the results that they produce. Her last progress report was all A's and B's for the first time in several years. To date I have bought nearly 10 copies as gifts to my friends that find themselves in the same situation.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pamela L. on September 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reading this book gave my husband and myself a whole new look at what is really behind underachieving. We saw ourselves, our kids and our family in a new light. Even over-achievers will relate to aspects of themselves as they read this book. It definitely will change the way you relate to the underachiever in your family or...in yourself.
The book itself is a fast read with no Ph.D. required to comprehend. Spevek is very down to earth and gets to the point in an easy to understand, clear manner. This guy wrote a book that will change your entire perspective on the whole underachievement thing after just a couple of chapters. No b.s. to wade through, no chapters tooting his own horn, no finger-pointing and no underlying motive to sell you something...how refreshing! Years of parent-teacher meetings essentially only taught me how common this problem is in high school. Today I bought a copy of this book for my son's advisors at school. They admit their frustration in understanding why these kids just refuse to get motivated. While it doesn't give an instant fix, it surely makes you realize why all the "tactics" everyone thinks "should" work ...don't work! And that in itself changes everything... If you are the parent of a bright kid with a 1.4 GPA...buy the book. It will change you as much as your kid and suddenly everyone is part of the solution instead of the problem.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By heatherfeather on November 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have two underachievers and this book really did help me gain some insight into what might be happening for them on an emotional level that's keeping them from doing well in school. The second part of the book details exercises that parents can do to help a child's emotional development depending on they're maturity level. I have just read the book and while I think that I can apply some of these exercises I'm finding, like a lot of parenting books, a key piece missing and that is how the parent needs to change in order to be able to help the child. Dr. Spevak touches on this idea briefly - and even states that some of the exercises seem to be more for the parent than the child, but being able to talk to your child without anger or anxiety - in a "businesslike" manor as Dr. Spevak describes it - is something that a lot of parenting books and programs advocate, but I think deserves it's own book. I think that in order to apply the exercises Dr. Spevak advocates for, you need to be able to do that first and there isn't a lot of advice about that in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By debhibb on January 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the idea of this book. Teach my child to "want" to achieve from within, but we're still waiting for the results. Goes against everything logical, which is hard for a logical person to understand. Wish there were more implementation suggestions. As usual with these types of books, I get the gist of the concept right away, but I need more examples, more suggestions. Overall, I like it and would recommend it if you are at a loss for how to motivate your pre-teen or older.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dasha on August 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book only confirmed the ideas I had already come to by myself. But it's good to get the confirmation that you are on the right track and is very motivational. I brings you to action so I would recommend it to any parent with under achieving child.
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