Book Review

Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids

by Wendy S. Grolnick and Kathy Seal, Prometheus, Amherst, N.Y., 2008, 290 pp. with index, $17.95 softcover

Authors Wendy Grolnick, a professor of psychology at Clark University, and Kathy Seal, nationally known parenting journalist, share their extensive knowledge as well as personal and professional experiences in their book, Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids: Dealing With Competition While Raising a Successful Child.

Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids


Both authors relate personal experiences as they describe events that occurred when their children were young and growing up in a competitive environment. Grolnick and Seal discuss how the desire to see their own children excel in each endeavor resulted not only in parental stress and anxiety but also unrealistic expectations for the children.

Grolnick’s personal experiences led her to develop a research program that involved parents and their children working under competitive pressures. Seal’s involvement began after interviews with Grolnick about her research. Seal realized she was feeling the same pressures about her children’s success that were the focus of Grolnick’s study. She recognized the value of applying the concepts of Grolnick’s self-determination theory, which says children are born with intrinsic motivation to learn and parents should help to develop this passion to explore their world.

In their book, the authors relate stories of other families with pressured parents and stressed-out children. Their relevant examples are followed by suggestions that should help readers to deal with their own situations.

Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids is loaded with valuable advice school administrators can offer to parents who find themselves in similar circumstances and who want only what is best for their children.

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas, professor of educational leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.