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Pressured Parents, Stressed-out Kids: Dealing With Competition While Raising a Successful Child Paperback – January 31, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025665
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,109,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A young patient of mine, one who is highly stressed by having to excel in competitive sports, saw this book in my office, read the first paragraph, about a swimmer whose mother yells "faster, faster!" and begged to bring the book to her mother. The mother and I later discussed her goals for her daughter, understanding that it was natural for her to want her daughter to win, but that her pressure was contributing to her daughter's non-compliant behavior in other areas. Since then I put several copies of Pressured Parents in my waiting room, and parents have told me that they could not put the book down, and that they found this to be one of the few parenting books that was truly helpful. The authors are extremely thoughtful; their advice is insightful and the vignettes are highly engaging.
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Format: Paperback
From Discerning Reader

This book is a very fluid read. It's different from a lot of other parenting books because it never makes you feel you're doing something wrong but yet you feel like you've learned something in every chapter. It explores some previously uncharted territory about parents and children. I found much of it fascinating, like the explanation of why we sometimes get unbelievably anxious about things involving our kids - for example when my son participates in a judo contest. Sometimes I really do get more anxious about stuff like that than he does! The authors say this is an evolutionary response that comes from our ancestors protecting their kids in the jungles and wilds. It gives you lots of practical tips to handle situations that you face with your kid, dilemmas about whether to push him to do things or just let her go him own way.
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Format: Paperback
I've read a number of books on this topic and "Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids" is by far the best. Dr. Grolnick and Ms. Seal sympathize with the pressures we parents are facing and don't seek to blame us the way certain other authors do. They offer real solutions instead of just lecturing us on the evils of overscheduling and competition. I also appreciated their emphasis on balancing autonomy with structure. They aren't in favor of permissiveness, a refreshing attitude for this type of book. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
My kids are grown, but I'm always on the lookout for books for parents that focus on "the right stuff," that is, how to raise kids who are critical thinkers, intrinsically motivated, and creative. This book by Grolnick and Seal do just that. In a quickly changing world, it does no good to emphasize achievement for the sake of grades. We need kids who can think, who can find happiness by exploring their own passions and interests in depth, who can relate to others in open-minded ways. Above all, we need parents who can do their crucial job with much less anxiety. An anxious parent makes an anxious child, and when everyone's running around anxiously, no one is thinking very clearly. This book is a valuable asset to the parental bookshelf.
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