How Achievement is Stressing our Kids

I am too excited for tonight. Not only am I going on a much anticipated date-night-out with my honey, we are going to see a great document to which I received FREE tickets. Woot. Always a nice thing. Thank you MO History Museum for giving me and two other couples in my St. Louis Mom’s Meetup group tickets. We are all looking forward to seeing “Race to Nowhere”. I’m bringing tissue as my friend Kim, mom of two teen boys, told me she saw it and it made her cry.

This documentary won like four different film festival awards. The flier for it explains the film as follows:

“A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the high-stakes, high-pressure culture that has invaded our schools and our children’s lives, creating unhealthy disengaged, unprepared and stressed-out youth.

I was talking to my tween about this very thing last night. She had fallen asleep doing her homework the night before only to wake up at 3am to a sheet of unwritten spelling word sentences. Twenty four left to write. She woke me up at 3:58 am, disoriented and confused… and then got to work on that unfinished homework.

She told me about all this the next morning. It had taken her an hour to finish the work, so at 5:00am she tucked herself back into bed to sleep for another 90 minutes before her day began. She told me how GLAD she was to have woken up and finished her work as five other kids at school that day had not finished their spelling word sentences and had to stay in at recess.

None of what my daughter shared with me is out of bounds. If she had completed her work at 5pm instead of working on it at 9pm, none of it would have even happen. But I mention it because I think it speaks to the normal amount of stress kids feels in middle school. Add to that sports or a demanding parent and/or teacher and the stress levels rise way beyond what our tweens and teens need to be dealing with.

I hope you’ll join me in re-committing to avoid OVERSCHEDULING. Less is more. I’ll let you know what I thought of the movie tomorrow!

Followup: Okay – it’s tomorrow and I’m telling you, you HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! Sign up for it on Netflix or where ever as soon as you can. See it if it comes to your city. IT is that important. Talk about a great conversation starter as well. My husband and I stayed up and talked about it for hours after seeing the film.


Suzanne Tucker is publisher of and co-creator of YogaParenting, an online course helping parents create more joyful, less stressful parenting. If you liked what you read here, she hopes you’ll JOIN My Mommy Manual for more inspiring (and free) parenting tips, delivered regularly right to your Inbox.


  1. Cool stuff, found your videos on youtube!

  2. For sure our kids schedule is heavier that the one that we used to have when we was kids. I don’t think that there is too much stress in the middle school, I believe this problem happen during high-school.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Added the video to our Netflix list. Thanks for the tip.

  4. After evaluating the lifestyle of children today and what they have to contend with, I do not think their achievements are easily obtained at all.Thanks for great article!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I agree that there needs to be a balance of lifeskills and academic skills development. Those who can intricately weave the two (parents or educators) create winners in life and academic scholars!

  6. Children today doesn’t have an easy life and lifestyle, I think we used to have better times when we were kids.

  7. Great Post! More is not more…thanks for the reminder:)

  8. Thank you Russelle. Too true. More is not always “more”. Thanks for stopping by MMM. 🙂