Guest blogger Kate Meyers: I am standing up here for teenagers everywhere when I say: Ease up on the educational pressure! Last year, I made the mistake of allowing my daughter to get swept up in the super-competitive vibe at her new high school and let her sign up for a roster of all advanced classes. I was so wrong -- and we paid the price in tears, pressure and long hours of homework. "Mom," she said, one bleak day. "I got a C in science, so I'm not going to get into any good colleges." I didn't need to ask her where she'd gotten that impression ....
The previous weekend, we had gone to the mountains with some dear friends. Unfortunately, they are also manic overachievers. They immediately asked what colleges Annie was thinking about (she's in ninth grade!), and then my mom-friend proceeded to say that she refused to let her son get anything lower than a B, even if she had to stay up all night with him.
Please: Stop the Insanity! We don't have to buy into this bunk. This year, I am happy to report, my daughter has dropped several advanced classes from her schedule -- with my ecstatic blessing. After two weeks of school, she is laughing at dinner, has time to read at night (a favorite activity), has yet to use the word "stressed" and started a club to raise funds for a girls' school in Africa that a friend of ours helped build.
For what it's worth, I'm fighting hard to give her time and space to live and experience life outside of academia. I'm sure she'll end up saner, more well-rounded and smarter because of it!