Being Perfect

The New York Times has a recent article talking about “amazing girls.” These are the girls who are padding their college resumes beginning in 7th grade. They volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, Amnesty International, and their church, they take advanced classes in foreign language, science, English, and history throughout high school, they are in theater, band, student government, and participate in a rotating sports team as the season changes.

I am horrified by this. At the same time, I admit, I probably could have been classified as an over-achieving, resume-padder when I was in high school too. It’s hard to buck the trend, when college admissions (which, it seems at the time, will determine your successes and failures for the rest of your life) is looming.

I’m ready to slow my life down. And, as the article points out, so are many parents of amazing girls. So why are the teenagers pushing, pushing, pushing? I can only believe that this wouldn’t be as it is if adults weren’t pushing it in some way or another. So what I can do to slow teenage girls’ lives down? What can you do to slow teenage girls’ lives down?

And as long as I’m asking questions, what about the boys?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.

1 Comment

  1. I read this article yesterday, too (and thought about e-mailing it to you, Karen!).

    I think so much of the relentless pressure comes from the commercialization that we live with, the basic consumption-oriented, materialistic bent of our culture. It is very difficult to takes oneself out of that stream — the same one that propels so many of the adults in the US today into busy, busy, busy, stressful, overwhelming lives.

    A good book for everyone to read is: “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

    I was also particularly saddened by one quote:

    “You still have to be pretty, thin and, as one of Esther’s classmates, Kat Jiang, a go-to stage manager for student theater who has a perfect 2400 score on her SATs, wrote in an e-mail message, “It’s out of style to admit it, but it is more important to be hot than smart.” “

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