This issue was mentioned as part of last night’s Roundtable presentation on millennials.
“In October, two professors, one at the University of Chicago and the other at the University of Memphis, released a paper in the American Sociological Review showing how tightly knit cultures can increase suicide risk among teenagers. The study focused on a homogenous, upper middle class community that experienced several suicide clusters and found that teenagers there faced intense pressure to succeed academically and conform to very narrowly defined standards of success.”
“Luthar has collected data from schools around the country, and in one study she asked kids to rank their parents’ top five values from a list of 10. Half of the values were linked to achievement (attend a good college, get good grades) and half were linked to character (be honest, be kind to others). She found that the higher the emphasis parents put on achievement-related goals, the more likely kids were to be troubled. `I tell parents to take a good hard look at themselves. What are your priorities, what are your values? It’s often not what we think they are. And it’s not just in what you say to your kids, it’s what you do. If I tell my son to not worry about grades, but I’m acting like my world will fall apart if I don’t get a certain grant, or a promotion, that sends them a different message about my values,’ Luthar said.”