March Madness

Every psychologist knows that there are certain times of the year when the phone starts ringing like mad. Winter holidays are one of those times when people’s hopes for idyllic family reunions often meets the reality of your uncle who drinks too much, your siblings who reliably don’t show up or your mother who thinks you married “down.” Most of us in the mental health profession stay close to our offices between Christmas and New Years, anticipating teary, disappointed calls from adults who find, once again, that their Norman Rockwell visions have turned into Edvard Munch’s The Scream. For decades, this was the toughest time of year for both patients (well, many people actually) and therapists, when old hurts, disappointments and wounds unexpectedly reappeared, often taking center stage. But times have changed and we have a new contender for the emotionally toughest time of year – and that is March – when college acceptances and rejections com …

There’s So Much Pressure. Do We Really Have A Choice?

Hi. Welcome to Courageous Parenting. Since you don’t know me yet, and I don’t know you, let’s start with a brief introduction. I’m Madeline Levine, co-founder of Challenge Success and author of the NYT bestseller, The Price of Privilege. I’ve been a clinical psychologist working mostly with teens and parenting issues for the past 30 years (Making me sound rather old. Probably an advantage to you since I’ve either lived through or treated most of the things that you are likely to be worried about.) I’ve thought long and hard about whether our current high-stakes, high-pressure culture is here to stay. Most of us seem to be participating in this culture, often in multiple ways, and just as often, against our better judgment. We worry about the schools our children attend. Are they rigorous enough? Have we done enough to give our kids a “leg up?” We hover over homework, track test scores, push for competitive sports and keep our ch …

The Outliers – A Student’s Perspective

This offering comes to us from Leah Messing, a college student and good friend of Challenge Success. Thank you for your insights, Leah! Sincerely, The Challenge Success Team In his novel The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines the lives of today’s greatest success stories with a critical lens. He defies the common belief that any individual can rise through the top through purely hard work. Rather than attack the principle of a meritocracy, Gladwell provides a framework for success by including another circumstance that must be coupled with hard work: opportunity. He believes that when it comes to determining success, the opportunities one has been provided with is more important than his or her personality traits. Gladwell writes: “We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries …

A Student Shares

Our latest article comes from Michael Stern, a student at Menlo School in Atherton, California. Thank you, Michael Sincerely, The Challenge Success Team I recently watched Race To Nowhere, a documentary that illuminates the problems in our education system. The documentary speaks of students who are sleep-deprived, unhealthy, and largely unhappy. Kids are under pressure to juggle unreasonable demands of academics and extracurriculars. It also talks about a disturbingly high suicide rate. This leads to an environment in which we only care about grades and college admission instead of learning. These problems epitomize our schools. To an observer, everything might seem fine, but that’s an illusion. When you experience these problems and see your classmates go through the same thing, it’s easier to understand what’s really going on. If you ask someone how they’re doing, they’ll smile and say “Good” simply because that’s …

New Semester = your new choice to celebrate the work-in-progress you.

Today’s offering comes from another good friend of Challenge Success, Maria Pascucci. Maria is the founder and president of CampusCalm.com and author of the award-winning book Campus Calm University: The College Student’s 10-Step Blueprint to Stop Stressing & Create a Happy, Purposeful Life. Maria, thank you! Cheers, The Challenge Success Team New Semester = your new choice to celebrate the work-in-progress you. It’s your brand new semester, so celebrate you by daring to take a chance! Spread yourself outside your comfort zone. Learn what it feels like to not always be good at something from the start. Not a hands-on person? Sign up for an art elective. Paint your way toward being a more confident risk taker. Love poetry? Join a debate team. Challenge yourself to see life through a new lens. If you’ve been neglecting your health every single semester leading up until now, break the pattern. Commit to getting enough sleep this semester even if it me …

“The BLOG about Sports”

Another close friend of ours, and one of our founders, is Jim Lobdell. Jim sent us the following, and we certainly do THANK YOU for it, Jim! You present some very useful thoughts. Cheers, Emerson Sports Blog I love sports. Throughout my childhood, I played pick-up games of virtually every ball sport, and then swam and played water polo in high school. In college, I played on two NCAA championship water polo teams, and into adulthood and middle age I’ve competed in basketball tournaments, triathlons, running events, and open water swims. I know playing sports offers kids an undeniable wealth of benefits, from fitness and fun to life lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and effort. But navigating youth sports today is tricky. With youth sports organizations now offering leagues for 4- and 5-year-olds, travel teams for 9-year-olds, and options for year-round involvement, some families find sports to be “too much of a good thing” and struggle to find a balan …