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Is Your Daughter a Supergirl?

By Liz Funk

“On the first day of class, I would already have my books and by the first weekend, I would do as much homework as I could for the semester; I would read the books that would be assigned in November. I felt like I had to be one step ahead because I thought I’d be overwhelmed doing the work at the regular pace… although, of course I wouldn’t be, because I was already doing it five times as fast as you were supposed to.” -- a senior at the George Washington University, September 2007.

On one morning in October of 2007, I sat in the Starbucks located in the smack-dab middle of the George Washington University campus, and I was struck by the way the female GW students balanced being both beautiful and ferociously busy. There were girls in runway-caliber outfits sitting in the faux velour chairs at nine in the morning, sipping designer coffee and brushing their purposefully straightened hair out of their faces. They were your standard beautiful college girls. Only, they were highlighting in and ferociously perusing their textbooks, copies of The Washington Post were scattered around the seating area, and students chattered manically about this meeting and that interview and those tests. The laptop cords on the ground mangling their way into outlets could trip even the most agile passerby, while the girls connected to the laptops made a chorus of click-clacking of fingernails on their laptop keyboards.

We all know a few Supergirls -- young women who are extremely motivated and want to be the best at everything they attempt. They make perfection and being impossibly well-rounded look as though it’s something that comes naturally to them. But these girls go really hard on themselves and don’t accept anything less than perfection from themselves. Sadly, their hyper-ambition is often a defense to cover up some emptiness that they’re feeling inside. A most curious dynamic is that it’s the Supergirls themselves who have been pushing themselves to be perfect from Day 1, and their parents are scratching their heads, wondering why their daughters are working so tirelessly! Although obviously there are still “helicopter parents” who push their children to overachieve, this is a rarity that occurs only enough to keep the stereotype alive.

If you’ve seen your daughter showing a ferocious work ethic and not giving herself any margin for making mistakes and being imperfect, you might have a Supergirl (or a Supergirl-in-training) on your hands. Here are a few pointers for parents to diagnose a Supergirl and help their daughters live happier, healthier lives.

  1. Look for warning signs. Is your daughter always exhausted? Is she frantic about her work? Is she drinking coffee in the morning or Red Bull after school? Does she wake up very early to straighten her hair before school? Does she appear completely put-together in front of others all the time? While it’s great to have charming children, stay cognizant so you notice if she develops other symptoms of teen overachieving.
  2. Be truly involved in your child’s life. Parents today do spend a lot of time parenting: they are constantly giving rides to school, to sports practices, and to the mall, and frequently they’re shelling out for Model UN conferences and ski club trips. Many parents send their children to therapists in the hopes of nipping adolescent pitfalls in the bud. But today’s girls need their parents to personally take an active interest in their lives. Take your daughter out for coffee or dessert, and odds are good that, if given the opportunity, she’ll start talking. She needs to know that you personally are there for her, and that she can have your full attention if she needs it.
  3. Ask your daughter questions! Make sure you know what’s going on in your daughter’s life! Do you know what time she goes to bed? Do you know what she does for the three hours after you go to bed? Do you know what she worries about, and how much she worries? Is your daughter happy? The only way to find out is to ask.
  4. Don’t make college admissions into a huge deal. Odds are good, if your daughter is in high school, she hears about college admissions countless times a day from countless people and she knows just how much competition there is to get into a college with name-recognition. When it comes to applying to college, stay out of it: Don’t sign up your child for SAT prep classes or, even worse, sessions with a college admissions coach. If anything, put less emphasis on getting into a good college, and make sure that your daughter doesn’t have her identity wrapped up in the reputation of the college she’ll attend.
  5. Encourage your daughter to have a sense of “intrinsic worth.” Although it doesn’t make sense that the smartest, most ambitious girls in this generation have low self-esteem, so many girls feel like losers from the moment they wake up in the morning! This is because they don’t have a sense of intrinsic worth -- why they matter outside of what they look like, what they accomplish, and how others perceive them. Encourage your daughter to spend solitary time by herself and listen to her thoughts, to have a relationship with herself, and to love herself! Then, she won’t feel compelled to be perfect or be a Supergirl, because she’ll understand that she matters and will be loved, just the way she is!

Liz Funk is a college student in New York and the author of the new book, "Supergilrs Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls." If you are interested in guest blogging for On Parenting, please e-mail parenting@washingtonpost.com.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  March 11, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs , Teens
Previous: What Kind of Parent Are You? | Next: Maintain Family ... At a Distance

Comments


What an interesting perspective. I probably went to high school with a bunch of these "supergirls" and just thought that I wasn't as ambitious or competitive as they were. The interesting thing is how many of them have scaled back what they are trying to accomplish as they reach the age of motherhood. I had kids earlier than most, but now feel I have more in common even as I am still getting started on my career at the same time as many of these girls are scaling back theirs.

Posted by: cqjudge | March 11, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

A lot of former Supergirls turn into uber moms. Why are they running so fast? What are they running from? Themselves? A traumatic childhood experience? What makes a Supergirl run?

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 11, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, mine's in training. And it's funny how, at 7, it's just so clear that it all springs from no. 5. She needs order and structure like oxygen, and she craves competence, wants to show all the adults that she knows what she needs to do and how to do it. But she also has ADHD tendencies, which means she tends to miss things (like, say, the back of the worksheet), or forget things. So she tries to clamp down and stay on top of everything all the time so she feels in control of the situation. And the more scared/intimidated she is, the more controlling and bossy and perfectionist she gets. But the flip side is that she doesn't like to try new, hard things and is easily intimidated; she'd rather just stay in her comfort zone so she can show how smart and competent she is.

So I'm now in a situation I never, ever anticipated before having kids: I am encouraging my daughter to not always have to do and be the best!! We encourage her to try new things even when it seems intimidating, praise effort instead of results, pick her up and brush her off when she falls, etc. I am also very open about my own imperfections; she sees me as setting the standard of perfection (which is just laughable, really), so I am pretty frank when I mess stuff up so that she realizes that even her beloved mommy can't do everything perfectly every time. And I try to create that structure that she craves at home (despite being NOT a structure person myself). Luckily, my slacker mom tendencies will probably provide some degree of protection; I just can't see myself signing her up for SAT prep and nagging her about college applications 6 months before they're due. I'll leave that to grandma. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | March 11, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I was pretty ambitious and motivated when in my teens, twenties and early thirties. Now? Burned out at 40.

Posted by: Billie_R | March 11, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting article - thanks for writing it, Liz; and for publishing it, Stacey.

From the perspective of one father - part of this is very good, part of it is more of a crock.

The good part is the "intrinsic worth" - we've always worked hard to make sure that all of our kids had that. And with girls it can be doubly hard, because sometimes it seems like the boys are trying to knock them down. I've never understood why.

The crock part? Among others, "Don’t sign up your child for SAT prep classes" - sorry, wrong for one of my daughters. My other kids didn't need it, but one daughter just doesn't test well on standardized tests, so the SAT prep class - which was mostly strategies for taking the test, and lots of practice tests - boosted her score by 300 points. This is probably more of a commentary on the SAT than anything else, but the bottom line is that the SAT is still important and a good prep class can help.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 11, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Separate comment - Liz, if you're reading this, can you comment (as a current college student) on "supergirls" vs. "superboys". I'm watching the differences in my kids as they go through this high school to college transition, and they're very, very different. I'm interested in opinions on how much of that is girls vs boys and how much is just the differences among the individuals.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 11, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"Sadly, their hyper-ambition is often a defense to cover up some emptiness that they’re feeling inside."

Happily, more often their hyper-ambition is misunderstood by others as a defense to cover up the others' jealousy or feelings of inadaquacy at not wanting to excel with the God (or natural) given gifts they do or don't posses.

I really despise these book promotion posts.

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Ask your daughter questions?
Be truly involved in her life?
Encourage her to have a sense of intrinsic value?

These are not suggestions for helping a "supergirl," they are essential parenting skills for all children. And as a general statement, so is "Don't make college admissions into a huge deal." I can see ArmyBrat's point, but I see that as separate from the main statement. You can provide your child with the help s/he needs to succeed without making it into a "huge deal."

Posted by: janedoe5 | March 11, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"And as a general statement, so is "Don't make college admissions into a huge deal.""

But I do think that it's a huge deal. College certainly isn't the only way to be a success in life, but kids need to understand the context.

My oldest daughter had a good idea of what she wanted to do with her life. Well, if that's what she wants to do, it's going to require college plus probably some graduate school. Further, she wanted to go to a small, liberal arts college - she'd be more comfortable there than at UMCP or UVA. As a practical matter, that means she'd better get a scholarship to pay part of the costs.

So - if that's what you want to do with your life, then college admissions IS a big honkin' deal.

Same daughter is looking at internships now (she's finishing sophomore year). In her career field, she's finding places that will pay 7 - 10 dollars per hour. Her boyfriend, a comp sci major who's actually fairly good at it, is looking at internships/part time jobs paying 20 - 25 dollars an hour. DD: "It's not fair!" Me: "Sorry, salaries are based on perceived supply and demand. Deal with it."

So if you want to maintain a certain standard of living, salary, career field, etc. IS a big honkin' deal. Kids don't have to go for a certain standard of living, but they have to understand what it takes.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 11, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Well, ArmyBrat, I don't disagree with you. I guess I was interpreting it as--don't overblow the importance. Yes, it is a big deal, but don't make it bigger than it is--keep to the facts. Which seems to be pretty much what you have described.

Posted by: janedoe5 | March 11, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes, college is a big deal. But once you graduate, you realize nobody really cares where you went or what your GPA was. What they care about is that you have the piece of paper that says you graduated.

The caveat is if you want to go to a competitive post-graduate program and then your GPA matters big time.

Posted by: dennis5 | March 11, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I know Supergirls of all ages, and most of them are products of supermoms and dads, so I am not quite sure how this advice is going to help families whose entire dynamic is based on being "the best."

The best I can do is not let the supergirl mentality corrupt my semi-slacker tweener girl. I can already see which friends are going to be a problem, so I try to minimize their impact by letting my daughter know that it is OK not to emmulate them.

College is a long way off, and given that most kids in college change majors or end up working in a completely unrelated field than their degree, I am not going to start the grooming process for a specific college now, I'd just like to get through middle school with a happy, healthy kid.

The "huge deal on college" point Janedoe points out is true, it is a big deal to the parents and the kids follow their lead.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 11, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

As to the importance of college - I think there is a difference between emphasizing the difficulties involved with getting into a good school and thinking that not getting into Harvard/Princeton/Yale (or Stanford or whatever school is THE school that year) means you are a failure. There are always was to strive for the best without setting standards that cause undue stress. A good education comes from more than the name of the school you are going to - especially if you have a daughter who thinks she knows the path she wants to take, a school with a lesser name and less competition might be a better fit (and better deal) in the long run.

I went to a high school where the college expectations were insane. I went to Cornell University and got the (meant-to-be) derogatory comment from some other students, "that's just a state school". Just because it wasn't a Harvard, Princeton, Yale or Stanford. The acceptable alternative if you couldn't get into those schools was to go to a highly selective small liberal arts school in the northeast (such as Amherst, Williams, etc - not a good fit for me since I wanted to get a degree in engineering (also not a highly valued degree path at my high school)).

I do agree that SAT prep classes are more helpful than not. I imagine the stress involved in those classes are more than offset by the increase in test scores for most students. But, again, such things can be taken too far. I was told I needed to retake my math Achievement Test because I scored a 780 (out of 800) because there were only 2 in our class that didn't score an 800 (incidentally we both retook it and scored 800 - and I still don't know what the point was).

I'll be very curious to see whether our daughter inherits my very uncompetitive spirit (oldest son certainly has) or my husband's perfectionist tendencies. So far, she seems to be leaning towards the perfectionist side, but she is only 3.

Posted by: cqjudge | March 11, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

dennis5 - your point is true several years after college, but not right after college. When we interview fresh college grads, we consider where you went to school, what your major was and what your GPA was. We're hiring engineers/comp sci folks. The first filter for new grads is major - is it the right one? The second filter is GPA - generally, if it's not over 3.0 in your major you're not even getting a phone call. The third filter is school - if the GPA is from what we know to be a VERY good engineering/comp sci department, lower is okay; you can get back into the queue. Or it will bump you up higher - 3.5 from MIT is better than 3.9 from UMCP. But 3.9 from UMCP DEFINITELY gets you an interview. :-)

Ten years after college, yes, you're absolutely right. I don't give a flip where you went to school or what your GPA was. I may or may not even care if you ever graduated from college. That's ancient history. What I care about is your work record.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 11, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Daughter a supergirl? No, not mine.
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
But Jezebel wishes she were Wonder Woman!

Posted by: anonymous_one | March 11, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Liz means well, but this article is pretty trite and the advice given at the end isn't really advice. It sounds more like Liz was pushed by her own parents and this is her response to them, what she wished they had done. How else would she know to say these things? I have a daughter who is an over-achiever to a point and she got so depressed that our doctor has given her medication. Fortunately, at the same time, she met a boy who is like her and they've bonded and he helps her a lot. What I don't see here is for parents to realize that sometimes they can't help their daughters the way they want so they should be available and supportive as best they can. Tell your daughter you love her, show her you love her and make sure you are there instead of other places when she has a recital or brings home her report card. Be interested in what she's doing but don't hover, encourage her to have friends over to the house, to have "down time." There's nothing wrong with being motivated but there is something wrong when your daughter's entire world-view is focused on how she appears to others instead of seeing herself as fallible and lovable.

Posted by: erathwomen | March 11, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

ARGH - the computer ate my original post.

As a GW grad (from the days when we had a coffee cart, not a Starbucks) I remember these girls. They had the appearance, and tried to make it look like they had the grades. Most of them didn't, based on the fact that not a single one I remember graduated cum laude, let alone magna or suma. Not saying those were their goals, just that they gave the appearance of being those super girls.

What I remember is that they were annoying, and pretentious. They spent a lot of time using new-ish technology, like powerpoint, to make their presentations look professional, but forgot about substance. And at last report (the 10 year reunion) many hadn't had the professional success they envisioned for themselves, because the real world requires substance more than appearance.

So from the same environment, albeit a different decade, I came away with the knowledge that the "super girls" weren't so super. And the women who worked hard on the real stuff have succeeded.

If you're kid is too focused on looking smart/put together/etc., sure, address the issue. But high school is a lot different from college. In high school, if you don't do your hair, you stand out. In college, if you do your hair for any class before noon (unless you're going straight from class to a job), you're the one who stands out. The "super-girls" described in this post are the people who are remembered as fake. At least that's my experience.

Posted by: JHBVA | March 11, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I am enjoying the Harvard Biz School ad banner at the top of this posting though...

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, Since the Engineering field is highly competitive, I think the problem comes in when you have a child that wants to be an Engineer and he/she doesn't have the grades and/or money to go to a top school. Are you going to apply undue stress on your child when they are doing the best they can and it is not good enough to be "the best"? Are you going to tell them since they won't get the top job because they dont' have the best education and grades, to give up on their goal of being an Engineer? That's the crux of the problem.

People grow into "the best" jobs, sometimes they don't happen right afer college, you said this yourself. I know a couple Engineers that went to "Crappy State Schools" or changed careers mid-life and got their Engineering Degrees from the school that was the closest. Their careers seem to be fine.

You don't have to be top dog to fulfill your goal of becoming anything, but if you are a parent do you beat your kid up if they don't get the top spot?

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 11, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

why are you certain that people who push themselves don't have intrinsic self worth?

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 11, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"Sadly, their hyper-ambition is often a defense to cover up some emptiness that they’re feeling inside."
--
That, or you're just jealous.

Posted by: Pantoufle | March 11, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Sadly, their hyper-ambition is often a defense to cover up some emptiness that they’re feeling inside."
--
That, or you're just jealous.

Posted by: Pantoufle | March 11, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse


Here we go with the High School Queen Bee thingy....

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 11, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hi "On Parenting" readers, and thank you for this lively--and heated!--discussion.

Stacey and I thought it would be interesting for me to respond to this comment:

"Separate comment - Liz, if you're reading this, can you comment (as a current college student) on "supergirls" vs. "superboys". I'm watching the differences in my kids as they go through this high school to college transition, and they're very, very different. I'm interested in opinions on how much of that is girls vs boys and how much is just the differences among the individuals."

Although I am a little hesitant to make sweeping generalizations about the relationship between gender and teen overachieving--because frequently it is simply differences between individuals--I've observed that while most young people in Generation Y are ambitious, the girls take it to a completely new level. Whereas boys are under pressure to get good grades and get into a good college, girls see good grades and getting into a good college as a huge part of their identity and value. A lot of girls expressed to me that they felt like they had to be perfect if they wanted to be loved... and that's not something I
see boys struggling with. I think this is why girls are willing to stay up all night studying, whereas high-achieving boys know where the line is between working hard in school and doing too much. I think that boys are raised to have a stronger sense of intrinsic worth, and they receive less complicated and demanding messages from the media about what their roles are and what they need to do to receive society's and their communities' approval.

One dynamic that I am noticing, that I think is difficult for boys, is that in previous years, the ideal role for guys in high school and college was to be a rebel. Channeling the image of "Fonzie" from the television show, "Happy Days" the coolest guy on campus was too-cool-for-school and didn't care about the rules. Today, there is a high premium put upon guys to please the teachers and write eloquent research papers, and I think many guys in high school and college--consciously or not--perceive this as emasculating. I would argue that this is why we're seeing a recent surge in more
chauvinistic and risky behavior from young men (a great resource to learn more about this is the new book "Guyland: the Perilous World Where Boys Become Men").

I think the bottom line is that we need to encourage young people to be who they want to be, and fulfill the roles that feel right for them! I think many teens who overachieve in school and change the way
they look to meet a certain ideal would rather live their lives differently... and they need to be encouraged to find a role that's right for them.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | March 11, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

" I think this is why girls are willing to stay up all night studying, whereas high-achieving boys know where the line is between working hard in school and doing too much. "

Rubbish!

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 11, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Stacey, I think it's also the case that boys are raised not to open up about their pressures and fears. It may look like they're handling stress better, but they may just be suppressing it more.

Posted by: tomtildrum | March 11, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jezebel3 | March 11, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"Although I am a little hesitant to make sweeping generalizations"...

Hahaha. Wow. Really? Isn't that sort of what your whole book/post is? One giant "this is the world as I see it through the tiny slice available for me to peak through" generalization?

I know you're in college and all, and kudos on the courage to write a book and the follow through to get it published - but I wouldn't pretend this is anything more than junk/pop psych. - perhaps entertaining, but wholly without substance.

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Interesting. While the girls I know don't tend to try to be perfect all the time, one thing I have noticed is that we all can't do anything part way. It's like you either don't do it or do it 100%. Like you can't go to the gym 2 or 3 days a week, you either don't go or go every day. Or you can't just a attend a church, you have to join everything and be on every committee, etc.

I wonder if it's somehow connected.

Posted by: kallieh | March 11, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I both have been teaching at the college level for a long time. It's worth noting that you will see very few college professors obsess over which college their own kids enter. A small state school can provide a very good education if the student is willing to take advantage of it.

Posted by: aallen1 | March 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

aallen1 - Amen.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | March 11, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: aallen1 | March 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Shoulda told that to my mom! As far back as I can remember, I knew aaaaallllll about what the good colleges were, and that I would be going to one, period.

Luckily, her work also gave her a lot of insight into the "good" colleges that weren't as well-known. She pointed me toward places like Williams and Wellesley, but also toward some of the smaller liberal arts schools that were just as good but didn't have the big name, and I did find a really good fit.

But I'm still not sure she's gotten over the fact that I chose a CSS for law school. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | March 11, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

How about a different way to read today's post: you should change your parenting style and technique based on a few anecdotes observed by one person, with little or no training, in one specific situation, who doesn't know you or your kid. Because that is basically what today's post said. A current undergraduate student (or is she a recent grad) who may or may not have studied developmental psychology while at school, watched a few members of her peer group, inferred their reasoning for acting the way the do, and is now trying to tell others that if your kid behaves this way, you have a problem.

Sorry - I'm not buying it. I'm not saying that young people don't have valid contributions to the debate. I'm not saying you need extensive training and experience in developmental psychology. But if you're going to write a book, or post on a newspaper's blog as an expert, you should have more to offer than very little anecdotal evidence from a very small sample population.

That is all.

Posted by: JHBVA | March 11, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

All this "is my daughter a supergirl" "worrying" reminds of people that post to dcurbanmoms fretting about whether their toddler is a genius. If the biggest problem you are experiencing in parenting is that your daughter is really pushing herself hard to accomplish worthwhile ambitions then I have zero sympathy for you. Is admiration an acceptable substitute?

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 11, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I went to a very selective all girls high school, and then a women's college, and have see a lot of supergirls in my time. And I will say that the drive to achieve can have some drawbacks. Anorexia and bulimia were common in my high school and college. I remember one girl who in high school threatened to commit suicide because she did not get the project partner of her choice for a history assignment. I had a friend who was on an early release program because she danced ballet in the afternoon. So she went to class until 1 pm, danced until 6, and then did homework until midnight. And at about 100 lbs, she thought she was fat.

So do I want my daughter to be a supergirl or uber anything? Not at that price.

Posted by: emily8 | March 11, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

capitolhillmom, meet emily.

I do get the "reverse-bragging" thing -- the "I'm soooooo worried about my daughter, just don't know how she's going to fit in being homecoming queen on top of the National Merit Scholarship, being president of the Chess club, maintaining her straight-A+ average, and of course, all of her volunteering and church commitments."

But I think emily has voiced my real concern here: that maybe the things your daughter is pushing herself to achieve look "worthwhile" on the outside, but behind closed doors are destructive. At least, that's what I worry about with my daughter -- which is why the blog today struck a chord with me. I'm glad my girl is focused on healthy eating and exercise and takes pride in her appearance; but is her perfectionist streak going to subvert that into anorexia? I love how she loves doing well in school now; but when she gets to high school, is her need to always have to be the "best" going to push her so far that she stops taking care of herself? Etc.

It all comes down to the old cartoon ending: "If only she'd used her powers for good." I just want to make sure that my girl defines that "good" as both external and internal.

Posted by: laura33 | March 11, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I work with a lot of these 'supergirls/superwomen' in a professional office. They might look like they're super and high-schievers but some of them can't find their way across the street by themselves.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | March 11, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Supergilrs Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls."

Is the 'misspelling' irony, sarcasm, or driving home a point?

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Laura, meet my admiration.

Sounds like everything is great with your daughter. Relax.

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 11, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

capitolhillmom -- ok, touche. :-) And really not asking for sympathy. But also wouldn't be posting if everything was just hunky-dory; the last two years have been full of regular meltdowns, headaches, stomachaches, etc. So, yeah, I worry that if this is what 7 looks like, what's 16 going to be? But I think the best way to address that is to pay attention to the problem, help teach her how to manage her own perfectionist tendencies -- and make sure I've got her back when things get tough.

The weird thing is, I'm Type B. The whole "relax"
thing comes naturally to me. But I somehow had a kid who truly doesn't know how. So ironically, I have to actually work to teach her how to relax and go a little easier on herself. Go figure, eh?

Posted by: laura33 | March 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with Supergirls. They tend to break glass ceilings, invent, and find cures to diseases. Some people and kids absolutely thrive on having loads to do and doing it all well. I'm not saying let your daughter work herself into exhaustion if you've birthed a Supergirl, but I wouldn't harness her too much, that's for sure.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 11, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, maybe things are different now than when I graduated 15 years ago. When I was looking for my first job out of school, nobody asked for my GPA. They obviously knew where I went to school since it was on my resume so I don't know how much that mattered.

Posted by: dennis5 | March 11, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

My husband and I both have been teaching at the college level for a long time. It's worth noting that you will see very few college professors obsess over which college their own kids enter. A small state school can provide a very good education if the student is willing to take advantage of it.

Posted by: aallen1 | March 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Heck, you can get a very good education at a community college for your first two years. It's all what you make of it.

Posted by: dennis5 | March 11, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Heck, you can get a very good education at a community college for your first two years. It's all what you make of it."

You can get a very good education reading books and teaching yourself on your own too. Doesn't look good on a resume though.

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

06902, once you graduate from a four year school, there is no requirement that you divulge you attended a community college first. Same with attending a "lesser" school before transfering at some point to the better school.

Posted by: captiolhillmom | March 11, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, quite clever marketing by the "better" schools to make potential customers (err, students) feel like they can showcase a fully earned pedigree on a CV by accepting transfer credits from a "lesser" school and freeing one from the burdens of the nasty business of divulgence.

My point, CHmom was not to belittle the CCs - quite the opposite - but to lament the fact sometimes (most times) it is not actual education that counts.

Posted by: 06902 | March 11, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

A little aside: given that penn state used to be made up of many 2 yr schools and the one big state school - yes I *did* get the question of whether I spent ALL FOUR YEARS at the 'big' school.

And we had plenty of the 'supergirls' at my high school.

Laura: here's my advice: it's better for your daughter to stress/fret about school/etc than to do it about boys. Way better.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | March 11, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Folks:

Just realized that I forgot to add a line to the comment I posted earlier today. That comment was a response from Liz.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | March 11, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

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