Keeping Your Kids Out Front Without Kicking Them From Behind: How to Nurture High-Achieving Athletes, Scholars, and Performing Artists / Edition 1

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Do you believe your child is gifted—certainly more talented than the kid next door? Are you proactively positioning your young child for college honors, a professional career, and well-deserved fame? If so, beware! You could be unwittingly pushing your kid to fulfill your own dreams of grandeur and success. Because a typical day may be crammed with advanced academic assignments, after-school piano lessons, art classes, and soccer tournaments, many of these talented children are careening off the fast track to success. Under so much pressure and stress, they are crashing and burning before they reach adolescence. How can you, as a parent of a truly gifted child, walk the fine line between supporting your talented kid and projecting your own needs and desires? Written with wisdom and a healthy dose of wit, this practical guide shows how to avoid the negative effects of "Achievement by Proxy Distortion" (ABPD) and protect kids from being overscheduled, overworked and overpressured. Filled with a wealth of interviews and insight from noted experts in the field of child development, this enlightening book includes directions for evaluating a child's abilities, suggestions for monitoring a child's mental and physical health, and information for understanding the financial and emotional commitment needed to support the development of a child's talent. Most important, the authors present guidelines that will help parents separate their own needs, ambitions, and dreams from those of their children. Using the author's Seven-Step Program for Encouraging and Protecting High-Achieving Children, parents can? Establish if a child is truly exceptional? Select classes, schools, and camps that nurture high-achievers? Learn to deal with over-the-edge instructors? Weigh the cost of sacrifices made in the pursuit of excellence? Watch for red flags of ABPD behaviorExceptional children need exceptionally balanced guidance. The suggestions outlined in this book

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book provides the third voice that parents of gifted chidlren really need to help make the difficult everyday decisions. How much study or practice is too much versus too little? How much pressure or competition is an incentive for a child's mastery, and how much is too stressful for a young talented person?" (Bonnie and Fred Waitzkin, Bonnie Waitzkin, director of chess program for gifted elementary school children, Fred Waitzkin, author, Searching for Bobby Fischer and The Last Marlin.)

"An excellent book for all parents to read! It fills a void especially for parents with kids in sports." (Joan Ryan, author, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes)

"A concise yet richly developed book on a critical topic for this century, by a well-respected psychiatrist." (Ron Kamm, M.D., vice president, International Society for Sport Psychiatry and fellow of the American Psychiatric Association)

"Tofler and DiGeronimo's pre-eminent book develops reasoned approaches to the development of healthy, successful, and talented children, while avoiding the potentially damaging, even deadly demands placed upon their young shoulders. . . . [they] have provided marvelous examples, suggestions, guidelines, and conclusions. They will show you how to define the distinctions between healthy nurturing and harmful exploitation as you bring your talented, highly talented or even genius children in a family setting." (Larry Stone, M.D., past president, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio)

Children's Literature
How many high-achieving children do you know who are also involved in extra-curricular activities such as piano lessons, soccer practice, science workshops, art lessons or computer classes? Probably most of them. In today's highly competitive, success-at-all-costs society, many parents are overscheduling, overworking and overstressing their children in order to get them to excel and reach their goals. Unfortunately, in too many cases, it is the parents who are superimposing their own dreams and ambitions onto their children—causing these youngsters to suffer and buckle under the immense pressure. This practical guide shows parents how to effectively nurture and support their talented children without falling prey to the "Achievement by Proxy Distortion" (ABPD). The authors use their own insights as well as research, case studies, vignettes and interviews with experts to explain their seven-step program for encouraging and protecting high-achieving children. This commonsense guide will definitely help parents and other caregivers find effective, positive ways to develop a child's gifts and talents. A wonderful and timely read. 2000, Jossey-Bass. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
From The Critics
"Where do parents draw the line between encouraging and pushing too hard?" How do we know when we have crossed that fine line between encouraging and nurturing into exploitation and harm? This book looks at the history of parenting since the 1800s, as well as at "Achievement by Proxy Distortion" or parents' need to have their child succeed at all costs. Finally, the authors give tips on encouragement and protection for children, as well as on how to choose camps, instructors, and coaches to foster healthy, successful, and sensible children. 2000, Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, $25.00. Ages Adult. Reviewer: S. Palmer SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787952235
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/27/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

IAN TOFLER, M.B., B.S., is a Harvard-trained child and adolescent psychiatrist in practice in Los Angeles. He is the inaugural chair of the Sport Psychiatry Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. THERESA FOY DIGERONIMO, M.Ed., is coauthor of How to Talk to Your Children About Really Important Things and How to Talk to Teens About Really Important Things (Jossey-Bass, 1994, 1999).

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Table of Contents



Debating What is Best for Our Children.

From Benign to Abusive.


Step 1: Define and Evaluate "Talent" Why Evaluate Talent?;
Six Points of Talent Evaluation;
Advice from the Experts.

Step 2: Selecting Classes, Schools, and Camps that Cater to High-Achieving Children Evaluate Four Motives for Special Training: 1) Improvement of Skill, 2) Supportive Environment, 3) Elite Exposure, 4) Resume Building; and Advice From the Experts.

Step 3: Beware Abusive Instructors Avoiding the Win-At-Any-Cost Instructor;
The Burden of Star Makers;
Understanding The Verbal Batterer;
The Danger of the Parent Substitute;
Beware the Sexual Abuser;
Advice from the Experts.

Step 4: Weigh the Cost of Sacrifice Childhood Sacrifices;
Parental Sacrifices;
Sibling Sacrifices;
Advice from the Experts.

Step 5: Look Beyond the Talent Into the Future Look Beyond the Talent;
Look Where You're Going;
Beware the Downside of Competition;
Watch Those Social Skills;
Minimize Chronic Stress;
Nurture Your Parent/Child Relationship;
Advice from the Experts.

Step 6: Beware the Red Flags of Achievement by Proxy Distortion Burnout;
Psychological Pain and Illness;
Eating Disorders;
Substance Abuse;
Answering a Cry For Help.

Step 7: Take a Good Look at your Parenting Style Autocratic Controller;
Narcissistic and Needy;
Financially Hungry;
Overly Competitive;
Frustrated Wanna-Be or Has-Been;
Living in Denial;
Untangling the Roots of ABPD;
Encourage and Support.


Chapter Notes.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2000

    An excellent guide for all parents

    'Keeping your Kids Out Front' is extremely helpful to both My husband and I as we deal with the anxiety of raising our multi talented preschool child. Finding a balance between encouraging and pushing and maybe pushing a little too hard, is really difficult. Tofler and DiGeronimo really do provide an excellent roadmap right along the way, and we look forward to years of dipping in and out of this very readable book. We give 'Keeping your kids out front...' 5 stars!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2000

    Practial, hands on guide for helping parents 'push' kids properly

    I really enjoyed this book for its simplicity and applicability for child rearing. It was very helpful as a parent trying to do the right things for their kids. It was non-scientific in its analysis and offered many real-world examples to help with the application.

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