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Dr. Sylvia Rimm


Bright Young Teen Needs Friends Q: I am writing to you to seek advice regarding my 12-year-old daughter who is presently in eighth grade. She is a very bright child and started kindergarten at age four. Although she was more than ready to start school academically, we quickly …Read more. Son Gives Up Easily Q: My son is 5 years old and expects to be perfect all the time. Whenever an activity, project or event does not go his way, he will pout and say things like, "I will never do this again!" This is frustrating to us as his parents. How would you deal …Read more. Son Has Figured Out The System Q: Our seven-year-old son is in third grade. When given an open-ended question, he tends to respond with an answer he believes the teacher wants to hear instead of what he actually thinks. It's as though he has "figured out the system." How should …Read more. Is My Son Attending The Right School? Q: My child goes to a Spanish immersion charter school that has a music and art program with the International Baccalaureate curriculum. The school believes that their curriculum already offers an enriched education due to the foreign language, …Read more.
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Adult Underachievement Can Be Reversed


Q. I am a 35-year-old mother of two beautiful boys ages 6 and 4. I am also a classic underachiever. I have tried so many different things to change myself. I have been diagnosed (as an adult) with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but wonder how much of that is really my underachieving. My marriage of 14 years is suffering and I'm afraid my boys will follow in my footsteps. I need to change my underachievement. I am at my wits' end and have no idea how to do it. If I could say one thing to parents about letting their children become underachievers, it would be this: Underachieving is not passive behavior, it is destructive behavior. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

A. Underachievement (BEGIN ITALS) is (END ITALS) destructive behavior but it can be reversed. It is easier to reverse in childhood, but it's never too late. While ADHD and OCD can cause obstacles if they are accurate diagnoses, they can be treated and can still permit achievement motivation to prosper. You need counseling help. Motivation is about finding your strengths, setting realistic goals (not too high or too low), and working diligently toward those goals. You'll probably have to set small goals at first, so you can establish confidence in your effectiveness. It will also be good for you to find a supportive mentor or guide. Don't give up on yourself, your marriage, or your children. Achievement is not magical, it takes much harder work than it appears.

I would suggest you read my books on the childhoods of successful women, "See Jane WinŽ" or "How Jane Won." They have inspired many women to achieve. You'll find that the women's successes involved multiple failure experiences, times of anxiety and depression, but extreme perseverance. Many didn't find success until later in life. Being a mom involves plenty of responsibility and energy. You can be resilient, but you will want to get some counseling help to get you through your difficult times.

For free newsletters about "Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades," "See Jane WinŽ," or "How Jane Won" send a large self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O.

Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Ask family questions or read more articles at or

Reassurance Needed For 4 Year Old

Q. My son and his wife are going through a contentious divorce. They have two children together, and she has two children from a previous marriage. They are still living together. My son feels they should discuss what is going on with the 4-year-old as he witnesses their fights and says he wants things to be like they were when he was 3. His wife feels they should not discuss the upcoming divorce with a 4 year old. How should they handle this?

A. Your grandson desperately needs reassurance. Children who hear their parents argue become anxious. Sometimes they blame themselves for the arguments. Other times they think their parents will leave them. Their imaginations can cause worse stress than the reality. Divorce should be explained very simply to a preschooler. He needs assurance that although his parents will now live in two different homes, he will still be loved and cared for by both of them. Your grandson also needs the opportunity to ask questions and even when parents aren't sure of the answers, they can reassure him that with time, he'll have answers and his life will surely work out well.

For a free newsletter about helping children after divorce, send a large self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Read Dr. Rimm's Parenting Articles and submit family questions online at All questions are answered.

Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at Please send questions to: Sylvia B. Rimm on Raising Kids, P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094 or To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



1 Comments | Post Comment
Get family counselling immediately. There is no way a 4 year old is going to understand or BELIEVE the psycho babble and lies these 2 so-called adults are spouting.They made a choice to marry, have children and abandone their responsibilities.All of these children would be better off in adoptive home where they will be loved.
Comment: #1
Posted by: retired
Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:32 PM
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