We want daughters to make honor roll, homecoming court and varsity soccer. Is it too much?

Over the last 10 years, I’ve written several pieces on the pressure on female college students, growing out of conversations with higher ed folks on the rising number of young women grappling with anxiety and depression.

I would then receive emails from readers about their own daughters’ struggles. Some of these young women had to leave college because of their anxieties.

Young women today face not only pressure to earn high grades, but to shine in sports, wear a size 4 and enjoy an active social life. (Instagram is instant judgment on how you look in that new bathing suit.)

The 2014 suicide of UPenn track star Madison Holleran led to a lot of reflection on the pressures on young women to achieve. (Facebook photo)

The 2014 suicide of UPenn track star Madison Holleran led to a lot of reflection on the pressures on young women to achieve. (Facebook photo)

The problem gained national attention last year when University of Pennsylvania freshman and track star Madison Holleran – a remarkable young woman who accomplished all of those things and more — jumped to her death in downtown Philadelphia.

I read two good pieces over the weekend about the pressures on young women. One is a shocking story out of Canada where the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, unable to meet her parents’ expectations, fabricated a record of academic success and the documents to support it, including report cards, college acceptances and scholarship letters.

When Jennifer Pan’s deceptions finally unraveled and her parents tightened their leash, the young woman hired hit men to kill them. You can read Pan’s amazing saga in Toronto Life. (What’s equally compelling are the comments the story is drawing in Toronto Life and on blogs that have picked up the story. Many children of driven Asian parents identify with the pressure Pan felt to live up to her parents’ vision.)

Here is an excerpt of the story, which was written by a former high school classmate of Pan’s:

Jennifer’s parents assumed their daughter was an A student; in truth, she earned mostly Bs—respectable for most kids but unacceptable in her strict household. So Jennifer continued to doctor her report cards throughout high school. She received early acceptance to Ryerson, but then failed calculus in her final year and wasn’t able to graduate. The university withdrew its offer. Desperate to keep her parents from digging into her high school records, she lied and said she’d be starting at Ryerson in the fall. She said her plan was to do two years of science, then transfer over to U of T’s pharmacology program, which was her father’s hope. Hann was delighted and bought her a laptop. Jennifer collected used biology and physics textbooks and bought school supplies. In September, she pretended to attend frosh week. When it came to tuition, she doctored papers stating she was receiving an OSAP loan and convinced her dad she’d won a $3,000 scholarship.

The second piece I recommend is from The New York Times and discusses campus suicides. The Times takes us back to the University of Pennsylvania to a classmate of Madison Holleran’s.

The young woman, Kathryn DeWitt, had also contemplated suicide, writing in a blog after Holleran’s death: “What the hell, girl?! I was supposed to be the one who went first! You had so much to live for!”

The Times reports:

Ms. Holleran was the third of six Penn students to commit suicide in a 13-month stretch, and the school is far from the only one to experience a so-called suicide cluster. This school year, Tulane lost four students and Appalachian State at least three — the disappearance in September of a freshman, Anna M. Smith, led to an 11-day search before she was found in the North Carolina woods, hanging from a tree. Cornell faced six suicides in the 2009-10 academic year. In 2003-4, five New York University students leapt to their deaths.

Nationally, the suicide rate among 15- to 24-year-olds has increased modestly but steadily since 2007: from 9.6 deaths per 100,000 to 11.1, in 2013 (the latest year available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). But a survey of college counseling centers has found that more than half their clients have severe psychological problems, an increase of 13 percent in just two years. Anxiety and depression, in that order, are now the most common mental health diagnoses among college students, according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State.

In the Times article, the reporter says colleges are finding young women feel the need to pretend all is well. They wear  a “game face” that masks their internal struggles and doubts.

The Times cites the findings of a Duke review: “In 2003, Duke jolted academe with a report describing how its female students felt pressure to be ‘effortlessly perfect’: smart, accomplished, fit, beautiful and popular, all without visible effort. At Stanford, it’s called the Duck Syndrome. A duck appears to glide calmly across the water, while beneath the surface it frantically, relentlessly paddles.”

High school and college counselors talk about the inability of middle-class and upper middle-class kids to cope with setbacks, even small ones, citing two reasons: Their parents don’t let them fail or even stumble so they lack resiliency. At the same time, teens treat a B as major setback because they know their parents expect A’s.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a young woman about parental expectations. While her parents always told her to “just do your best in school,” the young woman said she knew they felt her best was an A.

I am conflicted about the consequences of high parental expectations. On one hand, the immigrant children who graduate first in their class or attain some other amazing accomplishment tell me the same thing: Their parents motivated them to strive and succeed. They worked so hard because of their parents. They did not want to let them down.

On the other hand, many young women contend their parents wanted too much — they wanted their daughters to make honor roll, homecoming court and varsity soccer. And they wanted them to be happy and smiling while they did it.

Anybody?

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50 comments
silveremrys
silveremrys

College isn't cheap. I landed scholarships at a great school, but my family still had to shell out thousands of dollars a year. They expected me to deliver a return on their investment, and anything less than perfection was unacceptable. Living up to that academic pressure took its toll. I can't say I blame them. They were paying a lot of money to send me to school. But there was no room for error with them, and they were wholly unsympathetic when I started struggling with the academic pressure, with depression, and with suicidal thoughts. My marching orders were to suck it up and deal with it, and to graduate in as short a time as possible (they were hoping three years) so they could save money. I survived by taking time off from school against their wishes (my mother refused to speak to me for several months). I worked full time for a year, got my head and my finances together, supported myself, and went back to school with much greater success and — finally — straight A's. Because I was finally doing it for myself, and not for my parents. 

All I can say is, set expectations and goals for your children, but don't teach them that your love or your support are predicated on their accomplishments.

teacherandmom
teacherandmom

Our children were allowed one activity....soccer, karate, wrestling, etc. during their elementary years.  We did not participate in year-round sports and we did not jump on the "traveling sports teams" bandwagon.  Before every season, we sat down with each of them and discussed whether or not they wanted to continue in the sport.  The only condition we placed on their decision was this....If you decide to participate, you can't change your mind halfway through the season.  You have to stick it out because quitting is unfair to your teammates and coach.  


We expected their class assignments homework to be completed.  For the most part, their grades took care of themselves...as long as they did their work and turned it in on time, their grades were acceptable.  We helped with projects by providing them the materials and then stepped away to let them complete them on their own.  I occasionally helped out with typing a paper in early middle school.  


High parental expectations are fine but parents run the risk of micromanaging everything to an extreme point.  By the time they are in in 8th grade, all parents should begin the GRADUAL process of stepping back and allowing the student to take charge of their academics and extracurricular activities.  Be prepared for stumbles and poor decisions...i.e. putting off writing a paper until the last minute.  If they goof up academically, let them work out a way to fix the mistake or not repeat the mistake....especially at the high school level.  Let them learn how to be their own advocates.  Don't take away that learning opportunity by coming to their rescue.  

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@teacherandmom That is great advice. I know many parents dealing now with the aftermath of running interference for their kids all their lives. So, they are still getting calls from their 24-year-olds in Seattle about dead car batteries and late rent. (It is amazing how many parents talk to their college-age kids every day now that there is no such thing as long distance charges. When I was in college, I called once a week because of the cost. Not sure all this constant contact is an improvement.)

But I think the urge to rescue your kids is hard to resist. 

ErnestB
ErnestB

@teacherandmom


I'm sure there are MANY great parents that participate in this blog who can offer other suggestions.  One thing that I also did was to emphasize to my children that I am not their friend but their father.  Maybe I am 'old school' but it still amazes me to see parent-child interactions that look more like 'buddies'.  My children noticed this also.


We also did not have 'gender defined' roles.  My sons had had inside responsibilities (washing dishes and clothes, light cooking, general cleaning) and my daughter also helped with mowing/raking the lawn.  They were amazed when they went off to college and saw some of their classmates struggle with what they considered 'basic life skills' responsibilities.  


I must admit the bog topic described my daughter however I believe this came from her personal desires rather than trying to please her parents.  She knows she has support from her parents along with unconditional love.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

As always, depends on the individual kid -, their abilities, desires, and emotional strength and stability, etc. 

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

I already see this in my 11-year-old. She's an over-achiever.

Dance two days a week....Gymnastics two days a week....Cheerleading three days a week....(notice that's 7 days of activities with only 5 weeknights with nothing actually on Fridays).

All the while she puts so much pressure on herself to make Straight A's. My wife and I try not to pressure her. We've asked her a thousand times if she wants to cut out an activity....always "no". 

She's a cute girl and she loves fashion. She has taken up sewing in her "free time". And somehow, it seems she still manages to Facetime and text with friends non-stop. It's exhausting just to watch her.

I worry about a breakdown at some point.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@jarvis1975 

And you are correct to be concerned - but only you and her mom as her parents can MAKE her lessen her load.  I sure hope you don't end up second guessing yourself.......

gordy85
gordy85

I will be happy if my daughter can simply find her passion in life, support herself, and be happy.  Anything else is just fluff. 

denniscbrown
denniscbrown

So what's new, Maureen. The pressure on both male and females is no different in my opinion, than it ever was. The difference, if there is one, is the "immediate gratification society" in which we now live ... and have for the last decade or so. Sure the parents want their kids to succeed. Sure they set high expectations. But they also are the ones who demand trophies and ribbons for all kids as they develop beginning at the elementary school age. And they are the parents who pile on the presents and rewards for everything their little lovelies do. Earning something with legitimate effort and results, and achieving personal satisfaction because of a job well done is in the past. As long as this trend continues now into the third or fourth generation, the situation will get even worse. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I wanted to share with all readers what I saw late last evening on the Tavis Smiley broadcast because I believe it is relevant to the theme of this thread.

Actor William Hurt was Tavis' guest and he looks like a very thin, bald-on-top, glasses-wearing old man now.  He seemed content and connected.  At first, I did not recognize him.

Here is what I wanted to share:  William Hurt's philosophy:  We should not think of changes in life as an ending but as an opportunity for new beginnings.  So, when we age, we should not think that we must re-capture who we were in the past (or try to be younger and younger looking), but that we should continue to seek new awarenesses of our present stage of life as a beginning in order to discover new things at this time in our (old) lives.  We should not focus on death, but on the renewal of our beings into new beginnings, at every stage of life, before we die (and afterwards - my addition).  Great philosophy which I had not thought about in relation to aging, and especially good for women and girls to understand regarding one's looks and being your present age, without the need for plastic surgery.

Point
Point

let your children screw up and accept consequences  before they can be tried as an adult.  They will be better for it and realize like goes on.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

I agree with you on the issue of letting kids fail so they learn resiliency. However, most parents won't allow it because failing kids mean failing parents and any social ramifications that might come with it.

Astropig
Astropig

In my opinion, a lot of the pressures of that age -for both young women and young men- stem from wanting and needing their parents approval and acceptance.A pair of loving parents that tell their child that we love you unconditionally can make the difference between a well adjusted progeny and one that is constantly striving for something that they are afraid that they'll never be.


I can only go from personal experience here,but we have tried to always keep the line of communication open. There are no subjects that we can discuss that are out of bounds.If the kiddos think that we've been bearing down too hard, they can speak up, and as a family,we can work it out.


It's never been a field of buttercups,but that relationship has endured and is even more rewarding now that the offsprung are all independent.

User777
User777

Why are we focusing this discussion on girls? All students are under alot of pressure to succeed. The requirements to get into a top college border on insane. They leave almost no room for the occassional B, and they must also have extra-curriculars. I totally agree that we should question that. However, focusing that discussion only on girls ignores the impact on boys as well. In addition, it implies that girls are more susceptible to having difficulty dealing with the pressure - i.e that they are mentally weaker.

User777
User777

I don't think this article does "The Girls Cub" any favors. As a mother of 2 girls and a boy who have gone through the college app and college life experiences, I did not see the girls as being under more pressure than their brother. There is plenty to discuss on the unrealistic expectations of both boys and girls. As a female engineer who has worked in technology over 30 years, I am very used to being the only woman in the room. I understand that pressure. And I remember the frustration as a young woman of having to overcome preconceived notions of what females are capable of. So, in that regard, I think any implication that girls can't handle the pressure without acknowledging that boys struggle with the same pressure, does not help the girls at all.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@User777  Boys also face pressures, but there is evidence that girls face unique pressures.


There is a lot out there on this, including a good book called "The Triple Bind" by Stephen Hinshaw, professor and chair of psychology at UC Berkeley:


From the college web site: 


At the same time that opportunities abound for teenage girls to compete in both traditional male and female bastions, conflicting messages to be ambitious, caring and effortlessly thin and glamorous have led to a surge in adolescent depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, suicide, and aggression, according to "The Triple Bind: Saving our Teenage Girls from Today's Pressures" 


In the book, Hinshaw and coauthor Rachel Kranz make a compelling case that, compared to previous generations of young women who juggled fewer roles, today's teenage girls are literally collapsing under the weight of adult expectations, consumerism and a highly sexualized pop/cyberculture that celebrates physical perfection and stratospheric success.


"Given the unprecedented advances for women, it is the best of times to be a teenage girl. But it is also the worst of times, because many in this generation are experiencing depression earlier and are more vulnerable to serious mental health problems," said Hinshaw, chair of the UC Berkeley psychology department and an expert on child and adolescent psychopathology.


The phrase "triple bind' in the book's title is a play on "double bind," a term coined by 1950s social scientists who studied the effects of the conflicting messages conveyed to children by grownups. What's different about the "triple bind," said Hinshaw, is that teenage girls are receiving even more contradictory messages about what they should aspire to, and are often devastated if they don't meet these impossible standards. This largely explains why one in four teenage girls will experience major depression, self-mutilation, binge eating, a serious suicide attempt or notable aggression before age 20, he said.


"The Triple Bind is why girls who might have accepted or even celebrated their size 10 bodies a generation or two ago now feel disgustingly fat if they're not a size 2 or 4," he writes in the book. "It's why girls who might not have been all that interested in boys at ages fourteen and fifteen now insist on having steady boyfriends by ages eleven and twelve."


"It's why girls who once had a bit of breathing room to figure out their futures now feel under the gun before they finish sixth grade, already anxious about getting perfect SATs and a roster of impressive extracurriculars," the book goes on to say. "And it's why girls who once might have identified with alternative female figures - a rock star, an athlete, a female author - now have trouble finding any role models other than those who are beautiful, hot, thin, and thoroughly focused on conventional notions of success."


Hinshaw came up with the idea for "The Triple Bind" book while studying girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the all-female summer programs that he has been leading since 1997. Tracking these socio-economically and ethnically diverse girls from childhood through their late teens, he said he noticed that they had the same adolescent problems as boys with ADHD "plus a whole lot more." He sought to understand the reasons why.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@MaureenDowney 

Hinshaw and Krantz:  "And it's why girls who once might have identified with alternative female figures - a rock star, an athlete, a female author - now have trouble finding any role models other than those who are beautiful, hot, thin, and thoroughly focused on conventional notions of success."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We have existed within a self-oriented society for almost half of a century.  I believe some of the young people of today are looking for more substantive values, a la Eleanor Roosevelt, and redefining what having a quality life means.

The superficiality in the collective consciousness of Americans of the last 4 or 5 decades is taking its toll on our entire society and girls have additional pressures because the superficiality in the obsession with good looks is even more unrealistic than in years past, i.e. air blowing models' photographs and now even redefining real features in photographs.  Even Caitlyn Jenner has to be an incredibly beautiful woman, not simply a woman, at 65.

popacorn
popacorn

@MaureenDowney @User777

So now you wanna redo on the whole bra-burning thing? 

While we obsess on lil Poopsie's oh-so stressful life, let's pause and reflect for just a moment on the overwhelming numbers of boys who are diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or are in academic freefall. All the while suffering through a female dominated educational experience which is profoundly discriminatory. 

Astropig
Astropig

@User777


"As a female engineer who has worked in technology over 30 years, I am very used to being the only woman in the room. I understand that pressure. And I remember the frustration as a young woman of having to overcome preconceived notions of what females are capable of."


Astrowife went through the same thing. (ChemE- class of '84) and I believe that it helped her be a better mother to our two daughters and help them manage their personal aspirations and expectations.I believe that her self confidence from overcoming those pre-conceived notions that you mentioned has been passed along to our daughters. 

User777
User777

Astropig- you are probably right. Strong girls are ones who accept and value themselves. Their worth is not so strongly tied to her size or boyfriend status. One of my proudest moments was when one of our daughters was lamenting to me about a boy she was dating who only talked about how pretty she is. It frustrated her that he did not see more than that (he was history shortly after that 😉). I do think when it comes to unrealistic academic and athletic expectations, both boys and girls are susceptible to that. Both need help from their parents in managing that. And I really, really dislike the title to this article.

Astropig
Astropig

@User777


" One of my proudest moments was when one of our daughters was lamenting to me about a boy she was dating who only talked about how pretty she is. It frustrated her that he did not see more than that (he was history shortly after that )"


She didn't "need" the bum. She was confident in your love!


Good for her.

Astropig
Astropig

@Quidocetdiscit @User777


"Girls tend to care a great deal about how "others" see them - and social media has increased this person 100 fold."


The ever earlier sexualization of girls and the objectification in the 24/7 advertising assault on them is contributory to their insecurity.Parents should take the time and effort to explain to impressionable girls that those ads that portray perfection are nothing more than fantasies designed to shame/guilt/pressure them into buying a product or service.Social media multiplies the problem because there are no more places that they can go to be away from the constant pressure to look like they think society wants them to look.Even their private communications come with a sales pitch.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@popacorn @MaureenDowney @User777


"All the while suffering through a female dominated educational experience which is profoundly discriminatory. "


Ah ha moment.  You just revealed the true reason behind your thinly veiled misogyny and your constant critique of the teaching profession, (which you insist on labeling the "Girl's Club.")  You believe that the women in education are "profoundly discriminating" against boys...  This would be an interesting topic to discuss further, but I am not sure if you can seriously discuss anything, even an issue you apparently feel strongly about.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@User777


The assigning value based upon "boyfriend status" is not new.  I certainly saw it a lot when I was growing up...what is new is the whole sphere of "social media"  by which so many young people are judging themselves an others.  Now your "boyfriend status" is broadcast not just to your immediate peers, but to others around the world.  Girls tend to care a great deal about how "others" see them - and social media has increased this person 100 fold.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Quidocetdiscit @popacorn @MaureenDowney @User777 

Agreed. Popacorn has even recently compared college faculty to the "K-12 Girls Club"!  As a female who was part of the male-dominated field of college teaching for decades before I retired and, before that, the male-dominated field of graduate doctoral work, I could only laugh.


But you're right-- it is a serious subject, and I wish that Maureen would devote a blog to it. There is much research into this systemic problem: ways in which K-12 education is set up in ways that are more congenial to the way that girls learn than boys. This has especial significance for young minority males.

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf 

Let it go. I said higher ed has its version of the girls club. I did not say the faculty was mostly female. Honestly, it's too much work to explain to you everything you misinterpret. 

popacorn
popacorn

@Quidocetdiscit 

Just like you were clueless as to boys' innate ability in math, so are you to the feminization of public ed, especially K-5. It is a shame you cannot comprehend this, and I truly worry about your (perhaps inadvertent) negative effect on young boys. The sad part: you and the girls are just not aware enough to appreciate the damage you do.  

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @OriginalProf 

You sure did say that. "Version: a form of an earlier model." American Heritage Dictionary.  Laughably ludicrous to anyone who's been inside a college or university.
 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @Quidocetdiscit 

I am making a serious suggestion now: why don't you write a blog-article for Maureen on  this subject (500-600 words she once said)? I really mean this. There is a fairly substantial body of research out there to support what you say. You will need to define what is meant by "feminization." But use your own experience as a boy in K-5 and how it created the passion against the way education now seems set up that you've displayed throughout your blogging.  Leave out the sarcasm, and analyze.

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf 

OK Professor! I'll get right on it!

Not. Screw your silly research, or do it yourself. You're the professor/educator. The fact that a lay person would have to enlighten certain educators here speaks volumes to the potential, catastrophic damage such limited vision/intelligence is capable of. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popacorn @OriginalProf 

No research needed. I was just suggesting that you're not alone in thinking this.  And if the field is as limited to female educators as you're always suggesting, then it's not surprising that they haven't much considered this. It's only been discussed within the last decade or so.


Again, I am not being sarcastic. A layman's essay in a blog setting would be valuable... especially for teachers who have never been boys or raised them. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@popacorn @Quidocetdiscit


@popacorn @Quidocetdiscit  


I was "clueless" to boy's innate ability in math?

That's quite a stretch from the original discussion, which as I recall, was about SAT scores.

You took the fact that boys tend to score higher in the math portion of the SAT than girls to suggest that males have some innate superiority over females, even going so far as to say, “As a rule, guys are more intelligent than gals.”Which is not true.More males tend to score at the extremes on the IQ bell curve, which means more males fall at both the higher and lower end of the curve – which is certainly not the same as “As a rule, guys are more intelligent than girls.”

I then posted a lot of information concerning the possible effect of cultural expectations, nature verses nurture, girls performance in other countries and the fact that girls do better in math classes, but worse overall on standardized math tests, etc. raising the question as to why this might be the case.

None of which you addressed, deciding rather to continue to attack teachers as being bigoted against boys and turning them into little girls. Along with saying, “No one could respond to everything you post on here.”

In other words, you don’t want to actually discuss anything of import, you just want to fling mud and move on.

I even included the following:“If anything, I am less concerned about the SAT gender gap in math than I am about the overall trend towards males falling behind females across the board in academics - at least here in the US.  Too many boys do not seem to take education at all seriously, and a female dominated elementary teaching staff may not always know the best way to motivate them.  I would love for more men to enter the teaching force in elementary schools - to serve as mentors for both other teachers and students. (I also think this would help the teaching force overall - because - as pathetic as it is, I believe our profession suffers from being so female dominated due to public biases.  You only have to read this blog to see how often we get dismissed as a "girl's club" all about the pink fluffy stuffed animals and feely-goody stuff... this marginalization leads to lack of respect and at a more insidious level - lower pay scales than other comparable professions.)”

But did you choose to address this important issue and discuss the possible difficulties boys face in school? Did you choose to do anything to further the discussion?

No, instead you posted, “Perhaps brazier sizes should be diverse also.”

So forgive me if I take your whole, “ I am so concerned about the treatment of boys in school!” shtick with a pound of salt.What you seem to be concerned with, is insulting women and trying to silence them, period.

If I am wrong, then take Original Prof’s offer and compose a post outlining your concerns…rather than taking the easy way out and just posting, “Not. Screw your silly research, or do it yourself.”

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OriginalProf @popacorn 

"It's only been discussed within the last decade or so."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Actually, the concept that female teachers may inadvertently teach more to the learning styles of girls than of boys was very much discussed in the mid-1970s by the former Associate Superintendent of Schools who became my principal. His multi-aged groupings of students in reading and math levels based on mastery learning and varied rates of learning (instead of strict grade level curriculum) in his model school well accommodated the learning style of boys.  The elementary/middle school's building design had been built to incorporate open walls among 5 classrooms, with 5 teachers in one large pod - housing either 1, 2, 3 grade students together, or another pod housing 2, 3, 4th grade students together, or 4, 5, 6th together or 5, 6, 7th grades together.  The model children were the oldest in each pod.  They became the leaders within their pod.

Boys, as well as girls, became leaders and there was much movement between areas of the pod, which accommodates the energy level of boys and the need they have for periodic movement.  This outstanding principal often held workshops with his teaching staff to inform them of how that model was efficacious for boys, who often were required to sit still for too long a period of time under some female teachers.  This was in 1975 - 1983.  The pods were open in space for movement between levels as different students advanced at their own rates and could easily find another instruction grouping, if necessary, in the same multi-aged pod, if they were faster or slower than their assigned groups of about 7 or 8 children. My principal was way ahead of his time regarding instruction.  I was blessed that he promoted me to be his ILT for I learned much working with him.  He had studied the educational theories and works of Dr. John Goodlad, who was still working into the 21st century.  I prefer to write on an ongoing basis on blogs rather than attempt a one-time editorial because I believe that, over the years, my repetitive postings of what I had experienced for a decade under this educationally erudite principal will have greater impact on more educators.  Also, the blogging and posting to inform suits my personal style at this late stage in my life better than more formal writings.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I think this column is very much on target, Maureen.  I must go now, but I would like to post from my blog, "How Women Are Viewed in This World: 2012," especially for young women of today who may have to choose their individual directions and purposes from among many options.  Most of us have to choose.  We cannot be all things to all people, and young women of today have more options from which to choose than in previous decades.


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/how-women-are-viewed-in-this-world-2012-2/

gapeach101
gapeach101

As for having to do it all to get into these exceptional schools, perhaps some parents woke up this weekend after reading Martin O'Malley and his wife have $340,000 of debt for their first two snowflakes to go to college. And he has two more to go.  I guess no one told him you can't have it all either.

gapeach101
gapeach101

The schools cited are not easy to get into.  No doubt these students were encouraged by their families to get good grades, participate in extracurricular activities and excel in some sport.  How were they suppose to figure out, once in college, they could slack off a little bit?  Concentrate on academics and let the other stuff slide.

Once again, I place the blame at the feet of the parents.  They should have curtailed their children's activities, starting in grade school.  You don't get to do it all.  That's life.  Figure it out.

MannyThinks
MannyThinks

@gapeach101 Most of the students that go to those schools handle all of those responsibilities. The limits of how much you participate or how good the grades are will vary by individual even within the same family.


Some individuals may see the curtailing of activity as a trigger for mental health issues. (You don't have faith in me. I get depressed.) It isn't as quick and clear to understand mental health issues.


http://www.collegedegreesearch.net/student-suicides/

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"parents wanted too much — they wanted their daughters to make honor roll, homecoming court and varsity soccer. And they wanted them to be happy and smiling while they did it."

Time management is one thing that teens struggle with.  Choose a priority and go with it. 


Honor roll? That takes a lot of study time. 

Homecoming? That takes a lot of social interaction time. 

Soccer? That takes a lot of practice time. 


Some of this time can overlap, but much of it cannot. Parents need to be realistic about how much homeworks is required for the level of class their teens are in.  If they are in AP classes, then that pretty much rules out any sport or other outside activity.  If they are in soccer, and have a fitness routine along with practice, then that rules out a lot of homework time, so grades will suffer.

Now, if a girl was blessed with brains (can do homework faster) and fitness (barely needs to practice), then perhaps they can do all three - social interaction can happen at any time, but usually joining friends after school or weekend events.  But that should not be the expectation by the parents.  It should be a communication in the family to try to see if the work load balances with teen life. 

redweather
redweather

According to the CDC, adults aged 45-64 account for almost 20% of all suicides nationwide. Adults 65-84 account for 16%, and adults 85 and older account for slightly more than 18%. Young people 15-24 account for 11%.


While I don't wish to minimize the deaths of young people who feel pressure to be perfect, their parents and grandparents in these age groups are almost twice as likely to take their own lives. 

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@redweather Good insight in those numbers, but lost potential is always a bit sadder though.