Underachievement by Kids
Jan Mussler (mussler@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 4 Apr 1997 08:45:45 -0700
I'm reading an interesting book by Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD entitled
Underachievement Syndrome - Causes and Cures. Thos of you with
underachieveing kids or Scouts might find this interesting reading. I
middling over one section of the book and thought it might provide some
different, but relevant discussion for the group.
The topic I'm currently reading about is about cross-gender identification
of kids, in this book it's talking about PARENTS primarily, so don't get
the wrong idea that I've brought up 3 G's. The scenario proposed or
described says that kids will identify more closely with one parent or the
other. It is stated that if the child identifies with the same sex
parent, achievement is not impacted negatively. If a child primarily
identifies with an opposite sex parent (as happens with absent parents, in
divorces or in families with an obvious dominant parent), an
underachieveing child may develop. (An ill child can also bring about
this pattern). The book suggest that while this is a problem for both
boys and girls, boys identifying with Mom are more problematic for
achievement. The book also notes that it is important to have some, not
necessarily total, identification with male figures and that
identification patterns may change with maturity.
Those who find this research relevant or interesting might choose to find
I picked up this book initially because one of my son's who appears birght
is achieving pretty mediocre grades. I can see however, some implications
for my work with Scouts. How does my being a female Scout Leader impact
by den? Should I step aside to take a Committee position and encourage
the Dads to take the boys for Webelos and play a more consulting role?
Would it be better for my underachieving son if someone else (male or
female) takes the den, at least for awhile. Another factor in this
underachieving syndrome is dependance on a parent (parent or teacher doing
too much for a child - could read - den leader doing too much for
Scout-). Also, the CC has implied that she would like me to step up to CM
if the current CM steps down. I have mixed feelings about doing that. I
think I could do a good and fun job with it, work well with the CC, but
what impact would this have on the boys, Dads and Moms? How do we
encourage the dad's to be more participative?
Anyway, food for thought which I hope will generate some discussion. Good
book. I'm finding interesting as a parent and a Scout leader.
Jan Mussler, Bear DL, Pack 170, Nederland, CO
Arapahoe District, Longs Peak Council
/\ /\ /\ 8500 feet and still climbing...
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City