Barb Steinberg, LMSW is a teen life coach, workshop facilitator and Westlake Speaker Series presenter who transforms the lives of adolescent girls and the adults who care about them through practical strategies, insight, compassion and humor.
We asked Barb what questions she routinely fields from parents of the girls she coaches, and, in turn, what advice she gives them. We’d like to share her insights with you, in the hopes you find this helpful in raising your daughters.
Question: My daughter wants to do it all -- play a sport, take challenging classes, make all As, volunteer and have a lot of time to hang out with friends. I’m concerned that she is spreading herself too thin. She already seems stressed and anxious, and school practically just started. As a parent, what can I do to help her manage her time?
Answer: Recent studies confirm what I’ve seen in my coaching practice -- that “wanting to do it all” is not a phenomenon restricted to working women. As Stephen Hinshaw outlines so well in his book, The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures and Conflicting Expectations, girls put a lot of pressure on themselves to:
- Be good at all the traditional “girl” stuff (relationships: being a good friend, pleasing teachers and other adults and being “nice”)
- Be good at most of the traditional “guy” stuff (be assertive, ambitious and play to win)
- Conform to a narrow, unrealistic set of standards for being female (be sexy and ultra-feminine)
Thankfully, we parents can help lighten their load and help them prioritize their time so they have more time to have fun and just be the kids that they are.
If you haven’t already, schedule some time to sit down with your daughter to review how she is spending her time and make adjustments as necessary for the coming school year.
Once you get a plan in motion, keep in mind that things change. You may need to revisit her activities if some require more time than advertised. You might need to have her delay an activity for a semester if Calculus is proving particularly difficult. Check in with her monthly, if not more often, to see how she is feeling about her load.
This parenting stuff is hard work, but when you see your daughter less stressed and thriving at home and in school, it will all be worth it…for both of you! :)
Barb will be going into more detail about how to ease your daughter’s stress level at her upcoming Empowering Your Daughter workshop in south central Austin on Friday, September 19th from 11:45am-1pm. Pre-registration is required at barbsteinberg.com.