Welcome to my blog. I am a clinical psychologist in New York City and in an affluent corner of New Jersey. Over the years I have seen more and more teen-aged boys who lack the motivation to succeed in middle and high school. They have ‘opted-out’ of the pressure and competition that so many kids in these communities face. I launched this blog because the media coverage tends to focus on the problems of a super-achieving academic elite—those kids enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement courses who are volunteering at the local soup kitchen while mastering an obtuse Chinese classical instrument and holding down spots on several sports teams. Though these kids, whose parents take a “Harvard or bust” mentality, are under real pressure—as evidenced by the very disturbing rise in the abuse of stimulant drugs as study aids—there is another, typically overlooked class of boys who manifest their stress in different, less obvious ways. These are the boys I worry about. The boys who make time for television, video games, Facebook, Twitter, and friends, but not for school. Many do the minimum that’s required in order to get by, flying under the radar of official “trouble” while causing their parents plenty of grief and consternation.
Most educators and clinicians throw up their hands when it comes to the problem of motivation. Parents and children need a hands on approach to their issues, but one that takes into account the complexity of human psychology. An effective a solution must be multi-dimensional and consider the impact of child development, family dynamics, brain physiology, gender, and culture. So these are the topics I hope to cover in this blog. I hope you find my entries helpful, and thought provoking, and look forward to hearing from you as well.Share