Didier Pleux

Room for Improvement Motivating Your Child Academically Publication date : September 1, 2003

In the wake of De l’Enfant roi à l’enfant tyran, many parents and journalists addressed their reactions to Didier Pleux. As a result, he decided to completely revise the earlier edition of his practical handbook on academic motivation in schoolchildren, in the light of his research into child despotism. He shows that school can amplify the denial of manifestations of frustration in the child.
Such topics as the fashionable "Boredom at School" have been added to the earlier edition. But before inventing "a new way of learning", shouldn’t both parents and pupils be made responsible? Perhaps, writes Pleux, there is room for education, somewhere between insufficient stimulation and over stimulation.
Additional complementary information includes:
– the current hypothesis that teacher-training is poorly adapted to teachers’ real needs. Learning, pleasure and frustration: is a new form of early-learning pedagogy required?
– parental desires that do not take into consideration the child’s capacities. "I want my child to be a doctor!"
– the difficulties of subject and career choices encountered by 15- and 16-year-old high school students.
– the lack of communication between parents and teachers.
– the issue of parental impact, when what arouses the child’s interest is considered less important than what the parents want for their child.
- poor orientation which inhibits the child’s real capacities. "I’m not good at x" ends up meaning "I can’t possibly do x."
– the need for educational authority at school.
Pleux concludes that it is essential for parents to learn how to handle their child’s academic motivation. Parents and teachers must find a balance between the various conflicting demands while remaining attentive to the child’s frustrations.

Didier Pleux is a doctor in development psychology, a clinical psychologist and the director of the French Institute of Cognitive Therapy. His highly successful De l’Enfant roi à l’enfant tyran was recently published by Editions Odile Jacob.