"Based on the solid work of a first-rate researcher, PRESSURED PARENTS, STRESSED-OUT KIDS is 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, editor of Parenthood in America: An Encyclopedia, and author of Who's In Control: Dr. Balter's Guide to Discipline Without Combat.
As moms, we are all too familiar with maternal guilt. In today’s competitive and over-the-top society, we start worrying about our child’s success the first time we hear moms comparing their children’s development on the playground. It’s not just kids who feel pressure to succeed; parents feel it as well. In fact, according to Dr. Wendy S. Grolnick and Kathy Seal, this motherly anxiety about our kids’ success has reached epidemic proportions. So what is a concerned parent to do? Well, for starters, read this book. With over 30 years of research and experience in child psychology going into this guide, you can be sure it has the answers you need. Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids can help you understand why society and our own natural instincts lead us to push our kids too hard, how we can deal with the competition we and our children face, and how we can ensure our kids are successful by giving them guidance rather than pressure. As mothers themselves, Wendy and Kathy understand all too well how we feel, and they combine that empathy with expert advice to make this an essential book for all parents raising kids in today’s high-stress society. This book explains how we as parents can instill competence, autonomy, and connectedness in our kids, helping them to find success without pushing them to the brink of breakdown. Reading this book, you will feel your feelings validated and your fears assuaged. There’s no doubt the authors know what they’re talking about, and with their help we’ll all be raising successful and happy kids in no time.
--Stacy DeBroff, founder of MomCentral.com
"Dr. Wendy Grolnick and Kathy Seal have done stressed-out parents a great service and I wish I had had this book when my kids were little! They take on the 'pressure cooker' environment our children face – and how we inadvertently contribute to it -- and show how to let kids live and learn at their own pace. I wish all parents could read this book!"
--Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D.
H. Rodney Sharp Professor, School of Education, University of Delaware, and award-winning writer of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards and How Babies Talk.
Publishers Weekly December 3, 2007
Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids
Wendy S. Grolnick and Kathy Seal.
Prometheus, $17.95 paper (236p) ISBN 978-1-59102-566-5
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 “egoinvolvement” 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.)
"The pressure to succeed in an increasingly competitive society is taking a serious toll on the mental health of the nation's youth. Grolnick and Seal give realistic, research-based suggestions for helping your child negotiate this pressure and thrive."
--Deborah Stipek, Dean, Stanford School of Education
"Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids is a useful guide for mothers and fathers who want to help their child succeed in school and on the playing field without driving themselves – or their youngster – crazy. The authors’ advice is grounded in solid science, and well worth heeding."
--Laurence Steinberg, Professor of Psychology at Temple University and author of The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting
"This is 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