For Parents

Is Your Home Suddenly Stressful?

Parents, if you’ve found your way here, you’re probably looking for solutions. And I’ll bet I can guess what problems you’re trying to solve.

  • Is your child in middle school, high school, or college?
  • Have things in your home become stressful lately?
  • Have arguments about homework and grades started, or gotten worse?
  • Have your child’s grades dropped, when they were fine before?
  • Are you at a loss as to why this is happening?

Although many parents worry this set of events might mean their child has developed emotional problems or learning disabilities, the answer may be far more simple: your child has probably hit one of the “pinch points” of the educational system.

What’s a Pinch Point?

A pinch point is when the expectations your child needs to meet suddenly change, when they weren’t prepared for those changes. I see this happen most often at these four times:

  • Moving from elementary school to middle school
  • Moving from middle school to high school (freshman year)
  • Starting the junior year in high school
  • Starting college

At each of these pinch points, what your child is expected to know, do, and produce in school changes significantly, but many times your child is not given support in learning the skills and resources necessary to make the shift. As a result, they’re stuck trying to figure out new problems using old and unusable skill sets, which leads to frustration.

Middle school requires much more organization than elementary school, for example, and learning to manage multiple classes, classrooms, and teachers. High school requires new skills like note-taking and time management that weren’t really important before. The junior year of high school is when college-prep pressure starts to build. And when your child reaches college, much of what used to be important (memorization and multiple-choice tests) goes right out the window, and a whole new set of expectations shows up (application, analysis, extension, and synthesis of what they’re learning).

No wonder your child is acting out! No wonder things are stressful! They’re trying to handle situations that require skill sets and knowledge that they just don’t have yet.

Why Doesn’t My Student Have These Skills?

Our educational system tends to assume that students will just “pick up” these skills as they go through school, without having to learn them in a systematic, structured way. Some students do – but many don’t. And the ones that don’t are the ones that face increased stress and anxiety as they try to plow through this daunting mountain of new expectations and tasks.

Some students also “pick up” the skills they need, but only until a certain point. When the expectations change, the skills the student has no longer work, and unless they can continue to “pick up” those skills rapidly, they’ll experience stress and anxiety too. (I see this a lot with “gifted” students.)

And where are you most likely to see this stress and anxiety show up? Your home, of course – because home is the one safe place your child still has.

Never Fear – Help Is Here!

As an academic life coach, I can offer your child a toolbox of skills, habits and accountability – which will make things less stressful for your child and for you. I want to help your child go from stress to success, whether they’re in middle school, high school, college, or grad school. As an Anti-Boring Approach™ Coach, and a college teacher, I’ve seen clients and students in these situations many times, and helped them overcome these hurdles. I’m confident that I can do the same thing for your child.

The Anti-Boring Approach™ was developed by Gretchen Wegner, M.Ed. It’s based on the most recent and up-to-date cognitive and neuropsychological research on how learning actually works. I’m fully trained in this academic coaching system, and I’ve used it to help many students not just survive, but thrive, in school. Anti-Boring Approach™ coaching helps your child build a toolbox of skills, habits, and goals to make their school experience have less stress and more success.

I’m also part of a network of Anti-Boring Approach™ coaches who specialize in different problems (students with ADHD, creative students, and nontraditional students being just three examples). My own niche is “gifted kids who are suddenly struggling,” as well as students on the autism spectrum, but I’ve also worked with many students who are just struggling because they need these skills. If your child has special needs and needs someone who works with those issues, I’ll reach out to my network and guide you to a coach who has the experience and training to work with your child.

What’s Involved?

When you and I and your child meet to discuss their needs, here’s what I can offer up-front:

  • A free 20-minute Zoom video consultation with me for you, the parent
  • A free one-hour Zoom video consultation with me for the student
  • My professional assessment of what your child’s needs are, whether I can meet them, and how I can meet them – and if I can’t, my recommendations for other possibilities

If you choose to have your child work with me as their academic coach, here’s some of what I’ll provide during and outside our sessions:

  • An individualized action plan structured for your student’s specific needs and goals
  • One-on-one intensive, personalized skills coaching through Zoom video chat
  • A guaranteed recurring time slot each week
  • Access to online office hours, text reminders, and email reminders
  • Web-based training courses focusing on particular study skills
  • Study systems, habit tracking, and accountability for the student

Everything I provide is geared toward helping your child develop good study skills, positive habits, and internal motivation to do well in school. Parents repeatedly report that coaching has reduced or eliminated the arguments they’ve had with their child over homework and other school issues, and restored peace in their home. While I can’t guarantee that, it’s certainly one of my goals!


If you want your child to work with me during the current school year, please click here. 

If your child needs help preparing for final exams, please click here. 

If your child needs support for summer school, please click here. 

From each of these pages, you can reach the application to work with me (on Google Forms), where you can set up a free initial conversation with me for yourself and your child.

I look forward to helping them – and you!

Adam G. Sanford, Ph.D.
Anti-Boring Approach™ Coach