Is it futile to try to slow down the ‘high-stakes parenting arms race’?


I don’t see any parent really backing off. We unfortunately have a culture that tells the parents that they have to push their children to go to college, and that failure to do so means that they’re guilty of poor parenting. Sad but true. So while we all may see other children as not college capable, we will never admit that about our own. And honestly, in some ways I’m no different with my son. I don’t go to extremes, but I do push his development.

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Cost of College

Wilma Bowers, president of an affluent Virginia suburban high school PTA, is on a quixotic crusade to get parents to slow down the ‘high-stakes parenting arms race’.

Bowers knows it’s a high-stakes parenting arms race in McLean and communities like it. The obsession with grades and college résumés can overwhelm everything. She wants people to back off — and is trying to get them to, with film screenings, workshops, lectures and meetings with clergy and mental health professionals.

In a twist on the NIMBY “Not in my Backyard” concept, many parents agree that although not every kid is destined for Harvard, they’re reluctant to be the first ones to ease off with their own children.

Many fellow parents think that disarming sounds good, in theory. The problem is, they’re reluctant to try it with their own kid.

Parents should encourage “authentic success” instead of pushing for perfection at any cost.

There are 3,000…

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