The Fessy Den Blog

3 Places a Gifted Middle School Athlete Can Play at a Top Level

When you’re a gifted middle school athlete stuck in an area where there are few opportunities to compete at the highest levels, life can seem agonizing. You may have the fastest serve in town (among 11-year-olds, anyway) but before you can really test your mettle against elite competition, you have to wait two or three...
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3 Cures for Your Gifted Middle Schooler’s Academic Boredom

Are your son’s middle school classes uninspiring? Is his homework just so much drudgery through which to suffer? When classwork is too easy, many gifted students disengage. They coast on their natural abilities, acing their exams but failing to develop the intellectual habits that will sustain them when they reach the greater academic challenges of...
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3 Ways a 12-Year-Old Can Learn to Be a Leader

Some people are born leaders. They take control of difficult situations with confidence. They inspire others naturally. And it all seems to come so easily. But research has shown that the leadership abilities that appear to be inborn traits can actually be developed and nurtured during childhood: Researcher Carl Brungardt found in 1997 that leadership...
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3 Ways to Provide Stability to Your Middle Schooler During a Divorce

No parent wants to subject their child to unnecessary emotional distress, but sometimes, divorce is unavoidable. Middle schoolers already feel insecure about themselves. When a change like a divorce hits their family, it’s normal for everyone to have a wide variety of emotions to navigate. Research has shown that “although divorce is hard and often...
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How to Teach Your Son Good Character When His Middle School Won’t

Teach Your Son Good Character

How do you raise a compassionate, honest, and respectful son in an age that is anything but? Too often, character education seems “tacked on” at America’s middle schools (as one English teacher describes): signs posted—and ignored—in the hallways saying “share with others” and “be honest,” single-semester classes unconnected to the rest of the curriculum. “All...
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Help! My Middle School Son Won’t Clean His Room


The messy room is as close as anything gets to a universal parenting challenge. One psychologist told the Chicago Tribune messy rooms have been the top complaint of parents for as long as such records have been kept. Other articles describe the teen and pre-teen bedroom as a “battleground,” offer advice for “winning the chore...
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3 Things the Most Selective Boarding Schools Look for in Applicants


From the perspective of families and students, the process of applying to some of the nation’s top boarding and day schools can be inscrutable, and at times the decisions rendered can feel arbitrary. With schools continuing to champion record breaking numbers of applicant pools and increasingly shrinking percentages of acceptances offered, families struggle to unpack...
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