Questions and Answers

If you have any questions or concerns that relate to speech language pathology in any way, at any level....just ask.
I will answer them to the best of my ability on my blog.
Contact me at

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Michael G. Thompson PhD Lecture

A few weeks ago I attended a lecture at my son’s high school by Dr. Michael Thompson, topic “The Pressured Child”. Dr. Thompson is the author of many books dealing with topics on raising boys, social lives of children/families and pressures children face at school at home and with peers. I’ve read a couple of his books own a few more of them and should read the rest. Some of the points Dr. Thompson makes in his books are very insightful and extremely helpful for both parents and those working with children. I would recommend these books to parents in a heartbeat. If I could also get the staff at my school and my administrators to read them, I think we would have a better understanding of children in general.
I found Dr. Thompson to be an engaging speaker and I wish I had taken more notes. Here are some key ideas that I felt were noteworthy.

School is a deeply flawed institution but it is the best we’ve tried. In school, things are thrown at the kids and by the time they master it, we take it away and give them something different to work on. Adults do not have that issue we get to take our time and master information/skills. He also pointed out that attending 6 hours a day to different subjects cannot be easy.

School is not a competition. Apparently, traits and abilities are fixed easily by 4th grade. I believe Dr. Thompson directed that statement to parents who believe their kids are in competition with other kids.

A lot of his lecture was directed at parents who’s expectations are too high and think their kids are better than everyone else. Pointing out that just because your child is in the top of his class does not assure their top college choice because every school in America has top kids. He also laughed a little at the parents who have their students tutored several nights a week to improve SAT scores or other skills. I was under the impression he spends a lot of time telling over the top parents to let up on their kids.

Towards the end of the lecture, he made the following statements that really made me think. I may not have gotten it down word for word

“Learning is an act of exposure.”

“Follow their journey” then he added something about staying about a quarter step off your child’s journey so it is their journey not yours.

“They are doing their best at any given moment.”

If you are interested in reading more about Dr. Thompson and his insights and advice, his web site is

No comments: