KIDS WHO UNDERACHIEVE: Strategies for Understanding and Parenting the Academically Troubled Child by Lawrence J. Greene

KIDS WHO UNDERACHIEVE: Strategies for Understanding and Parenting the Academically Troubled Child

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An earnest look at children who are not motivated enough to achieve good grades in school despite demonstrated abilities. Greene, author of Kids Who Hate School and co-author of Getting Smarter, is executive director of the Developmental Learning Center in San Jose, California. The scope of Greene's work covers children who are capable of producing quality work (excluded are those with learning disabilities). What we are concerned with here are children who, for the most part, are deficient in positive reinforcement. As he writes, ""Negative expectations have an unfortunate tendency to become self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating."" This lack of positive reinforcement stems usually either from learning, family, or emotional problems or from negative cultural influences. In order to assist the underachiever, Greene lists even elements which must be built into the child: self-actualization, goals, self-confidence, desire, self-image, self-esteem, and ego. The major strategy Greene posits is the concept of constructive frustration, in which the child learns that frustration is often part of the price to be paid for achievement. He suggests manufacturing opportunities for achievement, followed up by explicit praise. Along the way, he makes use of many case histories to illustrate particular situations. Greene's work will be useful to parents who find themselves with an underachiever. There are weaknesses, though. There is little in the way of caveats concerning that modern-day dulling instrument--the boob tube. Nor does Greene ever broach the possibility that some of these children just aren't the stuff of which good grades are made.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
Publisher: Simon & Schuster