Using Parental Intelligence to Help Teens Cope with School and Peer Pressure


Mother and Son at OddsSchool is reported by Dr. Medeline Levine as the number one stressor in kids living across socio-economic lines.

When children are deprived of secure, protective family ties, they miss out on the gains of unstructured imaginative play and time for adventuring and exploration that all lead to natural learning.

Instead they focus unduly on grades, trophies, awards and advanced courses they may be ill-prepared for because of the excessive pressure on high level performance in academics from preschool to college.

Parental Intelligence: the Antidote to School Pressure

Parental Intelligence refocuses parents on understanding their children’s minds and needs. It opens up parent-child dialogue and strengthens parent-child bonds. It is an antidote to the unhealthy ways children and teenagers try to cope with school stress on their own.

Peer pressure is a leading cause of poor choices. Cheating, substance abuse, self-destructive acts are the unhealthy ways children try to adapt when expectations are more than they can tolerate. However, when children and teens have secure attachments with their parents, they perform better and have a greater sense of well-being.

The Five Steps to Parental Intelligence guide parents giving them a better more resilient, optimistic approach to their lives.

School Success

School success doesn’t automatically lead to success in life including high level work performance, success in interpersonal relations, high self-esteem, and the ability to take on and weather challenges.

Here’s an example of helping a teenager cope with peer pressure and high academic expectations:

A Description of Pressures on Lee

Lee is a sixteen-year-old in eleventh grade faced with the prospect of preparing for college applications the following year. He goes to a high pressure academic public school where cheating is rampant. Students have been known to sneak into their teachers’ private offices and take pictures of upcoming tests with their phones and then pass them around, sometimes, at worst, for a favor or a fee.

Lee is an average student but not capable of the AP courses he’s been pressured to enroll in. He doesn’t have the organizational skills to manage the high work load expected of him. He also wants to keep his friends that he’s known since grade school who achieve more easily academically. He is strained by the wish to keep up with his friends academically and socially and as a result finds himself bearing headaches and yearning for a simpler life.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who does psychotherapy with infants and parents, children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Hollman’s new book: Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and She writes about infant, child and adolescent development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics.


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