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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child/Teen?

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

Most parents put pressure on children/teens to succeed academically because they want them to excel to their full potential. Obviously, motivating children and teens to do well is important. However, sometimes the methods that parents use actually instill anxiety or even depression in their children/teens and hinder their ability to succeed to their full potential. This can be especially true for children/teens that have ADHD, learning disabilities, or other issues that negatively impact their academic functioning.

Therefore, here are a few tips to use when trying to motivate your child/teen to succeed:

1)      Look at how realistic your short-term expectations are. If you expect your child/teen to get mostly A’s, and he or she is currently getting mostly C’s and D’s, you may need to allow time for them to work up towards getting all A’s.

2)      Look at why your child/teen is struggling. Are they unmotivated? Do they not seem to understand the material? Seek out the appropriate resources to help them (i.e., therapist, tutor, academic coach).

3)      Examine how your child/teen perceives you trying to assist them. Is your child/teen comfortable coming to you if he or she needs help? Are they nervous about getting a bad grade, so they try to hide that they are struggling?

4)      It is important to praise and reward your child’s/teen’s effort. Even if they are not getting the best grades, if they appear to be working really hard, it is important to support them. Some children/teens who work hard, but don’t see it pay off, become discouraged when this keeps happening, especially if their parents keep putting them down for not doing well. Over time, this can lead to teens and young adults feeling that no matter what they do, they can’t be successful, and become more likely to accept failure and give up on working hard to achieve success.

When parenting your children and teens, it is very important to look at your interactions with them around academic success and failure. Making sure you are supportive of their efforts, and getting them necessary outside support when needed, is very important in helping your children/teens to improve academically and develop good self confidence that they can carry with them into adulthood.


In addition to regular blog updates, you can follow me through The Heller Psychology Group’s Social Media pages for daily postings of useful articles:

*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*


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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


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