As parents, the best thing we can do to foster our children's self-motivation and success is to help them gain a stronger sense of control.

Here’s the secret: what the adolescent brain craves, and utterly requires for healthy growth, is a sense of control.  By teaching kids to take control of their own lives, we provide them with the tools and skills they need to survive and thrive.  Nationally renowned neuropsychologist, author, and lecturer, Dr. William Stixrud, and author, speaker, and teen success coach, Ned Johnson, share what science tells us is critical for successful, low-stress, and happy lives and the concrete steps parents and students can take to position themselves for long-term success.


Dr. Stixrud and Ned Johnson delivered a presentation that kept our packed-house audience riveted to their seats. Laced with humor and personal anecdotes, this was the most comprehensive and compelling summary of research on adolescent stress and motivation that I have seen.
— Mike Saxenian, Head of McLean School

CLICK HERE for more testimonials.

Brains need to be calm to be “reason-able.” 

It’s a stressful time of year for kids.  It’s a stressful time of year for parents. Everything seems high-stakes.  There’s not a moment to spare!

So, it was not surprising to me to receive a missive with this concern:  “It’s not the tutor’s job to make my son feel better.  I am paying you teach him strategies and don’t want you wasting his time.”

I understand and sympathize with this parent’s sense of urgency.  But, let me be clear: stressed brains don’t learn well. Sufficiently stressed, brains effectively cannot learn at all.  Click HERE for full article.


There’s a lot to be said for trees.  They provide us beauty, materials with boundless uses, environmental health, and the simple joy of shade.  They are also inherently good for our brains.  Japanese culture embraces “forest bathing,” the cognitive benefits to brains found by the simple act of walking in the woods.  CLICK HERE for full article.

The Merit Badge Approach to Life

“If it’s ok, we’d rather pay by check.  I understand that you may prefer payment by credit card, but I like to have my kids fill out the check.”

“Oh, really. We haven’t seen that before.”

“Well, I read a story once about a top basketball recruit, I think it was Kwame Brown, who as a newly signed rookie came to town and had a big celebratory dinner at a fancy hotel with owner and management.  At the end of the meal, they bid him goodnight and planned to meet him in the morning for breakfast and introductions to the team.  When they returned the next morning, they found him asleep in the lobby.  Though he been to hotels for years as an AAU player, other people had always checked him in.  They took care of things for him. He didn’t know what to do when he was by himself.  I guess he was too scared or too unsure of what to do, so he never checked in.  When I read that, I decided I was going to make every effort to let, really to insist, that my kids do things for themselves.  Telling them and showing them is not the same thing as them doing it themselves.  So, making them fill out the checks is just one of the things I have them do so, when they need to do it by themselves, they have already had practice.”

To continue reading: click here


"Yet as difficult as this risk-taking, peer-driven, reward-seeking behavior can be for parents and other adults to deal with or merely observe, it’s important to see the positives, and to realize that youthful foolishness usually doesn’t last forever, says Silver Spring-based neuropsychologist William Stixrud." 

Bill .png

What is it about the SAT that drives people nuts? PrepMatters president and founder Ned Johnson explains. Why the SAT drives us N.U.T.S.

The Washington Post

Ned Johnson featured in Parent Insider Magazine


by Ned Johnson 

“What would be your fee if you worked only with my child?”

 “Excuse me?”

“If you didn’t work with anyone else in his school.  I mean, at least with anyone else in his grade.”

Happily, I didn’t have to answer that question, as our conversation shifted to other (more sane!) topics, and, by the time we spoke again the following week, the issue had been forgotten and never was spoken of again. (For the record, the aforementioned parent was a truly lovely mom who only acted crazy)  

Click here for full article


"..competition for spots at top universities is more cutthroat and anxiety-inducing than ever." #college #admissions 

View on web

Follow: @asenseofcontrol