Bestselling author speaks to parents


Emma Colacino , Staff Writer

Michael Thompson, PhD, the bestselling author of Raising Cain and consulting school psychologist, spoke to parents on Tuesday in the Recital Hall. Thompson also spoke earlier that day at a luncheon attended by parents at the Maloney and Porcelli Restaurant in Manhattan.

These talks were part of the Parent’s Institute Lecture series, which is a series of talks that are held off campus for parents regarding parenting topics. Both of these talks were the kickoff event to the 2019-2020 lecture series.

The luncheon discussed pressures that students face, while the Recital Hall meeting discussed eight things parents cannot do for their children, but wish they could.
Thompson has been working with the school in different areas for over 15 years. Specifically, x has trained mentors at the middle school and at the Dorr campus, as well as spoken to Middle Division students on different occasions.
He has visited and worked with over 700 schools throughout the world. He is currently a consulting psychologist for the Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts.

During his recital hall meeting, Thompson focused on the topic of childhood independence. “The point of my talk tonight is this, you can’t make your child independent. Your child needs to become independent. That is the whole point of parenting,” he said.

Thompson also recalled the importance of experiencing this independence in his own childhood. “I went to fancy private schools in New York, and the single most important experience of my life was having a summer job,” he said.
He also suggested that parents turn to educators for help in managing parenting issues. “Teachers are very good at knowing what is developmentally appropriate and what is totally weird.”

Before the lecture, parents expressed hopes to gain information that could help them support their children. “I’m always looking for new tips and tricks, so that’s what I’m hoping to get,” Eram Syed P’9, P’11 said
Parents also hoped to learn more from someone with a broader knowledge on the subject. “I have a sample set of two; someone who does this for a living has a sample set of a hundred, so I hope to benefit from that,” Michael Lipsky P’22 P’27 said.

The purpose of the lecture was to give parents insight into the knowledge of leaders in the field of childhood education and psychology, Heater Erhard P’6 said.
The structure of the lecture was based around eight central concepts parents cannot do for their children. The eight ideas were: We cannot make our children happy; we cannot give our children high self-esteem; we cannot make friends for them or micromanage their friendships; we cannot successfully double as our child’s agent; manager and coach; we cannot create the ‘second family’ for which our child years in order to facilitate his or her own growth; it is increasingly apparent that we parents cannot compete with or limit our child’s electronic connections; we cannot keep out children perfectly safe but we can drive them crazy trying; we cannot make our children independent.

The structure of the lecture was helpful in relaying the information of the presentation. “[The eight ideas] were very tangible and can be thought about with specific examples that he gave and also that you can relate to your own situations as a parent at home,” Erhard said. “It exceeded my expectations.”