Synopses & Reviews
The push for students to excel at school and get into the best colleges has never been more intense. In this invaluable new book, the
bestselling co-author of Raising Cain
addresses America’s performance-driven obsession with the accomplishments of its kids–and provides a deeply humane response.
“How was school?” These three words contain a world of desire on the part of parents to know what their children are learning and experiencing in school each day. Children may not divulge much, but psychologist Michael Thompson suggests that the answers are there if we know how to read the clues and–equally important–if we remember our own school days.
School, Thompson reminds us, occupies more waking hours than kids spend at home; and school is full not just of studies but of human emotion–excitement, fear, envy, love, anger, sexuality, boredom, competitiveness. Through richly detailed interviews, case histories, and student e-mail journals, including those of his own children, Thompson illuminates the deeper psychological journey that school demands, a journey that all children must take in order to grow and develop, whether they are academic aces or borderline dropouts. Most of us remember this journey, if we are honest with ourselves, but our children must experience it in their own way, for better or worse.
In stories that are by turns poignant, shocking, uplifting, and inspiring, we see students grapple with the textured reality of their lives, devising their own unique strategies to survive and thrive in school. For parents, this book reveals the hidden emotional landscape of the school day and points toward the answers we both desire and dread as we seek to help our children find success in school and beyond.
Bridging the worlds of the growing and the grown-up, and told in Thompson’s compassionate voice as both psychologist and father, The Pressured Child shows us how to listen for the truth of our children’s experience–and how to trust, love, and ultimately let go of a child. It is a crucial book for our stressful age–and an ideal resource for families struggling to survive it.
"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.' Agent, Gail Ross. (On sale Aug. 3)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The renowned child psychologist and author of "Raising Cain" insightfully examines the lives of children and offers helpful advice on how parents should handle students during their critical school years.
About the Author
Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
, is a clinical psychologist, lecturer, consultant, and former seventh-grade teacher. He conducts workshops across the United States on social cruelty, children’s friendships, and boys’ development. With Catherine O’Neill Grace and Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., he co-authored Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems
. With Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., he co-authored the New York Times
bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
. He is also the author of Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Raising Sons
. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Teresa Barker, who collaborated with Thompson on Raising Cain and Speaking of Boys, is a journalist and mother of three school-age children. She lives in Wilmette, Illinois.