Syndrome Y

The Syndrome Y Solution: Emotional Strength Building for Your Underperforming, Unmotivated, Underachieving Son

Parenting/​Psychology BIO 026000)
January 15, 2016
Hardcover: 978-1-68061-003-1 Cover Price $28.99
Trade Paper: 978-1-68061-004-8 Cover Price $16.99
Ebook: 978-1-68061-005-5 Ebook Price $8.99

Publisher’s Cataloguing in Publication Data

Names: Chesnutt, Karen, author.

Title: The Syndrome Y solution : emotional strength building for your underperforming, unmotivated, underachieving son /​ Karen Chesnutt.

Description: First edition. | Buffalo, New York : Librastream Press, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: ISBN: 978-1-68061-003-1 (HC) | 978-1-68061-004-8 (paper) | 978-1-68061-005-5 (ebook) | LCCN: 2016932081

Subjects: LCSH: High school boys--Psychological aspects. | Self-perception in children. | Self-perception in adolescence. | Self-esteem in children. | Self-esteem in adolescence. | Underachievers. | Underachievement. | Achievement motivation in children. | Achievement motivation in youth. | Motivation in education. | Child rearing. | Parent and child.

Classification: LCC: BF724.3.S35 C54 2016 | DDC: 155.5/​182--dc23


Dr. Chesnutt's book is an incredible gift to parents of Syndrome Y boys and ultimately to the boys themselves. It is written with warmth, clarity and humor, and it instills a great sense of hope for the future. The Syndrome Y Solution is realistic, but always optimistic, and provides practical, concrete steps to help these boys get "unstuck."
Carolyn Piver Dukarm, M.D., Adolescent Medicine Specialist
Author: Pieces of a Puzzle: The Link between Eating Disorders and ADD

Schools today, particularly middle schools and high schools, are trying to figure out how to deal with Syndrome Y boys. We’ve tried “everything” with little success. But, working with parents who are using this system of building emotional strength has enabled us to see success.
Lisa O’Rourke, M.S., School Counselor

Building emotional strength fascinated me. I like the idea of building strength by independent activity and the concept of helping where help is needed only.
Terry Smith, L.M.F.T., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Where was this book when I was raising my sons? This is an incredible resource for parents.
Nancy Grimmick, B.S.R.N., M.S.

When Dr. Chesnutt helped me see the difference between helping and enabling, I was able to help my son build emotional strength. He is a success story!
Michelle Giles

Dr. Chesnutt’s interpretation of the Syndrome Y Solution should be used by professionals everywhere to help the boys understand what they face and how to cope with the changes they need to make to live a healthy life.
Jodie Altman, M.S., C.A.S.A.C., Adolescent treatment center director

Thank you to Karen Chesnutt for helping parents and educators understand that underachieving and non-productive students are not lazy or willfully obstructive. Students who are unable to meet the demands placed on them in school need help developing the strength and skills they lack. They do not need blame.
Susan Lambert, M.Ed., Retired special education teacher

Dr. Chesnutt's work addresses the epidemic of difficult boys whose problems with life are not necessarily measurable via traditional testing. For practitioners, parents, and people interested in human behavior, mark this book urgent and put it at the top of your reading list.
Kelly Bainbridge, L.M.S.W., Licensed master social worker, Support group facilitator

Book Description

Many bright and able boys are paralyzed by a puzzling set of symptoms characterized by problems at home, school, and in daily life. But most of these boys, when tested, are found not to have any disorder that would explain their problems.

Every parent worried about a son who seems angry and underperforming should read this book. It tells the story of how a psychologist saw a distinctive pattern in many boys brought to her for testing. Dr. Karen Chesnutt has identified a set of symptoms that she calls Syndrome Y. More important, she has devised the first effective treatment program for Syndrome Y. Building emotional strength is the key to overcoming underperformance, low motivation, and underachievement. Dr. Chesnutt’s five-phase program is the answer to helping Syndrome Y boys build the emotional strength they need to succeed in school and in life.

About the Author

Dr. Karen Chesnutt is a developmental psychologist whose private practice focuses on diagnostic work and therapy. She is especially known for her ability to explain psychological concepts in ways that are clearly understood and that can be applied in life situations. People have sought out her evaluations because they “make sense.” She has worked on interdisciplinary teams to develop plans for students with challenging disabilities.

Author Quotes

“This book is written for parents whose sons are unmotivated, underachieving, and dependent. They are often bright, engaging youngsters, but chronic underachievers. They have little internal motivation. They seem unaffected by traditional motivators such as reward, punishment, praise, or scorn. They are not motivated by grades. They are willing to depend on others to set the agenda for their lives, and are willing to let others complete tasks that are really their responsibility. These boys usually test as capable in academic ability, but they seem satisfied with minimal or failing results.”

"The five main characteristics of Syndrome Y have something in common. They all indicate that something is missing. That missing element is what I call emotional strength. It is not a lack of skill or knowledge. It is not a lack of opportunity. It is not merely a lack of motivation. The important thing to realize is that the problem is emotional. Syndrome Y boys do not have emotional strength.”

“In order for your son to begin to function independently, to be motivated, to have passion for something, he needs to build his emotional strength.”

"Emotional strength is not something that can be learned or a skill that can be acquired. It is more like a muscle that needs to be exercised. It takes time and repetition to increase emotional strength. Many parents have asked me if emotional strength can be increased. The answer is yes, it can, with enough patience, practice, and exercise.
Just as we think about the development of physical strength, development of emotional strength requires exercise, practice, and challenge.”