1st Edition

Bright Kids Who Couldn't Care Less How to Rekindle Your Child's Motivation

By Ellen Braaten Copyright 2023

    “He’s so smart, but he’s no longer interested in school--or any 'offline' activities.”
    “She used to love sports, but now she just mopes around.”
    “My kid has turned into such a slacker!”

    Sound familiar? If you're wondering how your bright, motivated little kid became such an unmotivated adolescent, you're not alone. Fortunately, help is at hand! In this compassionate guide, psychologist and learning expert Ellen Braaten explains that kids who have lost the will to do anything (other than play video games) need more than simple encouragement or the “right” school, teacher, or coach to get back on track. Instead, Dr. Braaten helps you understand the myriad biological, psychological, and social factors that affect motivation, and get to know your own child's unique strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits better. Gain vital tools for tackling the motivational problems that are so pervasive today--and build a plan to boost your child’s confidence and engagement in life.

    I. Why Some Kids Couldn't Care Less
    1. Why Doesn’t My Bright Kid Seem to Care about Anything?
    2. The Parenting APP for Motivating Kids: Aptitude, Pleasure, and Practice
    3. Aptitude: What Are Your Child's Strengths?
    4. Pleasure: What Does Your Child Enjoy?
    5. Practice: What Does Your Child Persist At?
    II. Knowing Your Child—and Yourself
    6. Why Understanding Your Child's Unique Qualities Is Important
    7. How Your Expectations Can Get in the Way
    8. Adjusting Your Parenting Style to Fit the Child You Have
    III. Keys to Helping Your Child Care More
    9. Set Goals That You Can Both Get Behind
    10. Stay Flexible to Keep Your Child Motivated
    IV. When You Need Extra Help
    11. When to Worry and What to Do
    12. Resources


    Ellen Braaten, PhD, is Executive Director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Visiting Professor at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. She has been affiliated with MGH and HMS since 1998. Dr. Braaten is widely recognized for her expertise in pediatric neuropsychological and psychological assessment, particularly in the areas of assessing learning disabilities and attentional disorders. Her research and numerous publications focus on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, gender and psychopathology, intelligence, and assessment. She has published numerous books for professionals and parents, including Bright Kids Who Couldn't Care Less and Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up.

    "Dr. Braaten distills research and decades of clinical experience into this hugely useful guide. The book throws a lifeline to parents struggling to understand a kid who seems to have given up. If you want to help children discover and enjoy their strengths, this book is a 'must read.'"--Lisa Damour, PhD, author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

    "Dr. Braaten's incredible commitment to eradicating the 'myth of lazy' shines through on every page. For our family, the book sensitively broke down issues that felt overwhelming. It provided clear, actionable steps that helped us reframe our children’s challenges and focus on their strengths and talents instead."--Ashley J., Coatesville, Pennsylvania

    "If you’re pulling out your hair in frustration as you watch your child not care--and not care about not caring--this book is for you. Before you lecture your child yet again, or worse, give up, Dr. Braaten has answers that work and are simple to use. With the skill of an experienced safecracker, she teaches you to unlock your child's world and open up dazzling possibilities. Wise, practical, savvy, and warm."--Edward Hallowell, MD, coauthor of ADHD 2.0

    "This is the book that any parent who has ever said, 'I don't understand how such a smart kid just doesn't care about doing well!' needs to read. It demystifies motivation and offers practical suggestions, guidance about appropriate expectations, and empathic advice. I wish I'd had this book when my own children were younger. Dr. Braaten empowers parents to help kids succeed, and, just as important, to let kids be partners in defining what success looks like."--Amanda Morin, educational consultant and author of Adulting Made Easy

    "Dr. Braaten skillfully helps you understand where kids' motivation comes from and the complex factors that may cause difficulties. She also addresses a critical question: Are your expectations for your child a good fit for who they are and the future they want? Parents concerned about motivational issues will want to read this book!"--Timothy E. Wilens, MD, coauthor of Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids

    "A remarkable book by a remarkable woman….This book will give you hope that your child can find their way to a happy, healthy future….For anyone who cares about the next generation, this book is a gift."--from the Foreword by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In-Bright Kids Who Couldn't Care Less is a 'must read' for parents seeking a comprehensive and actionable guide to understanding, nurturing, and maximizing their children's motivation….The book seamlessly blends storytelling with practical advice, empowering parents to confidently navigate the intricate terrain of parenting with optimism. It serves as an excellent introduction, providing parents with a solid foundation as they navigate the often rocky and unpredictable path of supporting their disengaged child.--Learning and the Brain, 12/19/2023ƒƒBright Kids Who Couldn't Care Less is a user-friendly guide for parents and practitioners that integrates theories of motivation and direct experience into student change. This book is useful to anyone who encounters the frustration of motivating children….Braaten provides readers from diverse backgrounds with a holistic, child-centered approach to change. She takes individual weaknesses and turns them into strengths without making readers (parents) feel like failures. Her tools and resources provide encouragement for even the toughest kids. The clear strengths of this book are its attention to detail, reflective thinking strategies, and ability to see the humor in a tough situation. Overall, this book is highly recommended.--NASP Communiqué, 1/1/2024