From Publishers Weekly
Parents today suffer from what Grolnick and Seal call Pressured Parent Phenomenon, constant anxiety over whether our children are as competitive as they could be. Both Grolnick, a professor of psychology at Clark University, and Seal, coauthor of Motivated Minds
, are parents themselves, so they speak from both their own experiences and from research. Experiments have confirmed that competitive pressure actually dampens a child's motivation. But the authors say parents are biologically hardwired to pressure children because we know that the more competent our children are, the more likely they will pass on our genes. Plus, we have huge ego-involvement in our kids' progress. Parents need to convert their anxiety into positive parenting and encourage a child's intrinsic motivation. Parents should focus on developing children's autonomy, their confidence in their own abilities. This doesn't mean letting them do whatever they want; in fact, parents need to stay involved and connected with what the child is doing. Parents must also provide the structure a child needs to exercise competence, and Grolnick and Seal provide plenty of tips on better ways to handle those inevitable times when competitive anxiety threatens a parent's better judgment. (Jan.)
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"A first rate book. Even we sports fans who think competition can be good for kids have to admit that this book illuminates those moments when beating the other kid, or besting the family down the block, is distinctly unhealthy. The advice it offers to parents who feel real pain at such moments, who don't know how to control their own longing to succeed through their children, is the most sensible I have ever read."
--Jay Mathews, Washington Post columnist
"… required reading for all parents who want what is best for their children. They will be surprised and grateful for the many insights it provides on what really motivates kids. It is highly readable, scientifically grounded, and serves up generous helpings of valuable and practical information."
--Dr. Lawrence Balter, professor of applied psychology at New York University,
parent educator, and editor of Parenthood in America: An Encyclopedia