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The Pressured Child: Freeing Our Kids from Performance Overdrive and Helping Them Find Success in School and Life Paperback – August 30, 2005


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The Pressured Child: Freeing Our Kids from Performance Overdrive and Helping Them Find Success in School and Life + Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys + It's a Boy!: Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345450132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345450135
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Few questions have been uttered more frequently by parents than "How was school today?" And few questions have been met with more blank stares, shrugs, lies or unhappy truths. In this compelling follow-up to the now-classic Mom, They're Teasing Me, Thompson attempts to put parents "back in touch with the gritty reality of being a child in school," prompting them to recall their own school memories: was it boring, scary, exciting or painful? This, Thompson believes, will help them better comprehend their children's experiences and support them more effectively. Despite the title, Thompson says this book is for "the pressured parent, which is every loving parent, no matter what kind of student your child is." With the demands of standardized tests, the fear of failing school systems and baggage from their own academic pasts, Thompson says, parents' concern about their children's educational welfare is ballooning into panic. As Thompson shadows several students from diverse backgrounds through their school days, a rather mundane—but significant—reality emerges: school is a difficult, unavoidable part of life, but parents can help by being calm, empathic and engaged. Though short on practical strategies, the book sheds light on what goes on behind classroom doors and urges parents to "value the truth of a child's experiences."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Psychologist Thompson and journalist Barker, collaborators on Raising Cain (2000), offer advice to parents and educators on how to help children cope with the ever-increasing pressures of school and life. Based on interviews with children, parents, and teachers and--most revealing--shadowing students at school, the authors present a portrait of children facing the usual pressures of growing up with the added pressures of a fast-paced modern American culture. The authors lament that so much emphasis is placed on academic performance that parents and educators too often ignore the psychological aspects. On the surface, students present the usual preoccupations with friends and grades. But, as the authors detail here, there is a lot going on beneath the surface as students scratch good-bye messages into the locker of a boy who was killed in a car accident and students express cynicism about whether their teachers really care about them. In this absorbing look at modern childhood, the authors advise parents to get beyond their romantic and selective memories of school years to understand the pressures facing their children. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book is an easy read with analogies and situations that are very relatable.
M. Potts
I feel that the author never misleads us in his reasoning for writing this book however.
Junebug
This book gives parents a valuable look at what our children are dealing with every day.
Wendy Macneill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Macneill on October 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
No matter how involved you are with your child, it can be impossible to truly understand what is going on inside his/her school. This book gives parents a valuable look at what our children are dealing with every day. Mr. Thompson tells individual stories from the kids' viewpoints--extremely helpful. I saw my own child in his example of a boy who is "allergic" to school....and reading about this boy was like looking into the future. If I have any complaint, it is that the author didn't discuss the option of homeschooling as a positive alternative for some children like this. For those of us without many school options (no money, living rurally), his suggestion for finding a "better fit" in other school situations, did not apply. Our "allergic" son is doing great with homeschooling now and after reading "The Pressured Child" I'm even more committed to trying to keep him at home where he can learn to love learning....not dread school. Even if you have a child who has a "school brain" (as Thompson calls it) you should read this book to see how your successful child is actually getting through his/her day. I should note this isn't an "anti-public school" book-- but more of a look inside the schools so you can understand...and decide if your school is a good fit for your particular child. Fascinating reminder for all of us who have been out of school for a long time!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keith Boniface on August 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Thompson has an easy writing style and salient points to make in this latest book on pressured children. In the spirit of "A Tribe Apart" (Hersch) he shadows days in the lives of students and draws some worthwhile and meaty conclusions. His background in psychology gives credibility to his analysis; his readable prose will reach a wide audience. As a middle school principal we will use this book with parents in our Book Club; working in an international school in southeast Asia a book about "pressured children" is most appropriate.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By runnergirl27 on October 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I almost purchased this book because it looked really good but found it at the library first. I am glad I did not purchase this book because I was expecting tips on how to help my kids. I did not really find this at all. It was just stories and stories and stories of kids in school.
Okay, so I get the stories and it did bring me back to my painful childhood and school memories but what are your suggestions to me to help my children be successful and confident in school and in life now?
Even the last Wisdom chapter did not give anything to really help.
Not was I expected.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MR Cart on October 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Yet another book where little actual advice or new ideas are presented. It takes over 200 pages to say that we should listen to our children and hear them speak in a free and open way.

I did not want to read 100 little examples and stories of Michaels encounters over his career, I wanted real ideas how to help Kids dealing with a stressful environment.
Michaels fails to deliver, the promise in the title "Helping your child find success in school and life." I found no real help, no real advice. In fact it reads like a promo for his services rather than a guide to assisting a child.

It is not nice to write such a harsh review of a book where someone is trying to help, but I feel he places far too much blame without offering real solutions, and that there are some much better books covering the topic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Junebug on November 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
As mentioned above this book is indeed a book of stories and does a lot to take you back in time to your own school years. I feel that the author never misleads us in his reasoning for writing this book however. He makes the point at the beginning that he's not out to change the school system and does not claim to have all the answers to today's troubling educational issues. His goal is to simply put us into our students/children's shoes to help us relate to their daily struggles and open the lines of communication. He gives educators advice to make school a "good fit"- like making the school environment stimulating, accepting, and nurturing and making sure that learning is relevant and meaningful. He emplores teachers to never give up- all students want to be successful.

He also shares his wisdom with parents, warning them of the dangers of pushing a goal that is unattainable (not every child is going to go to Harvard and be a doctor or a lawyer) or one not their own (parents living vicariously through their children). He tells us about the "wasted Senior year" which becomes all about college and not at all about our students/children and the amazing people they are becoming. Lastly, he discusses the importance of allowing children to fail and make mistakes. No parent wants to see his/her child in pain or upset, but if children don't learn how to accept disappointments early on, with parents there to help them through it, it will only hurt them in the long run, sometimes with devastating consequences. Overall a good, easy-to-read book on opening the lines of communication with your students/children.
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