"Could Do Better": Why Children Underachieve and What to Do About It

"Could Do Better": Why Children Underachieve and What to Do About It

Paperback(Revised ed.)

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I know my son is bright. . . . why doesn't he care about school? Why is he so lazy and unmotivated?

My daughter is . . . so unmotivated. How can I make her want to do better?

In this lifesaving, groundbreaking book, Drs. Mandel and Marcus, clinical psychologists with more than 25 years' experience working with underachievers, show that these children are, in fact, highly motivated—in directions other than schoolwork. The key to helping underachievers reach their full potential lies in discovering their real motivation and redirecting it.

But first, say the authors, you must abandon conventional wisdom; underachievers are not all alike. "Could Do Better" identifies six major underachieving personalities and includes step-by-step programs tailored to help each. Learn how to recognize which kind of underachiever your child is—the procrastinating Coaster, the distracted Identity-Searcher, the manipulative Wheeler-Dealer are just a few of the most recognizable personalities—and discover what's really going on inside his or her mind. The information is revealing, the expectations realistic. Useful parent checklists are included in each section, along with practical guidelines for when you can hope to see change, and illuminating profiles of the six personalities as adults should the underachieving continue unchecked. "Could Do Better" also addresses the specific underachievement problems of gifted and learning disabled children.

A breakthrough approach to helping children realize their full potential, "Could Do Better" speaks urgently to the millions of parents deeply concerned about how to prepare their child for a competitive, achievement-oriented world, as well as to everyone who works with underachievers.


COASTERS: the ultimate procrastinators, usually described as easy-going and unmotivated, the most common type of underachiever

ANXIOUS UNDERACHIEVERS: want to do better but are too tense and uptight to work effectively

IDENTITY-SEARCHERS: so wrapped up in figuring out who they are that they become distracted from schoolwork

WHEELER-DEALERS: impulsive and manipulative, so intent on instant gratification that they see no point in doing well in school

SAD UNDERACHIEVERS: their depressed mood and low self-esteem rob them of the energy they need for schoolwork

DEFIANT UNDERACHIEVERS: underachieve as an act of rebellion

Help redirect your child's motivation. "Could Do Better" offers a revolutionary new approach conceived by leading authorities in the field. Their step-by-step techniques show you how to put your child back on the achievement track.


"Thought-provoking, practical information."
Marianne M. O'Hare, Drew University

"Particularly excellent and detailed remediation procedures.... Mandel and Marcus are to be applauded."
Dr. Jane H. Hamacher — in The Ontario Psychologist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780471158479
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 08/13/1996
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 291
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

HARVEY P. MANDEL, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in Toronto, Canada, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, and Director of the Institute on Achievement and Motivation at York University. He has received major awards in the field of underachievement.

SANDER I. MARCUS, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in Chicago, Illinois, is a managing partner in the firm of Friedland & Marcus, and has counseled thousands of individuals about career paths.

LORAL DEAN is a freelance writer and editor.

Table of Contents

How Do I Know If My Child Is Underachieving?

The Coasting Underachiever.

The Anxious Underachiever.

The Indentity-Search Underachiever.

The Wheeler-Dealer Underachiever.

The Sad or Depressed Underachiever.

The Defiant Underachiever.

Loose Ends and Your Underachieving Child.

The '90s and Beyond: Transcending Underachievement.


Resources for Professionals.


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