As adults we forget that we've made mistakes and are hard on kids because we wish we were harder on ourselves. We want to try and prevent the missteps we made growing up. Here's the problem and the main, most persuasive, argument against both of these articles: The world won't go easy. Life is hard and it won't get easier by doing and demanding less. Going easy on our kids by giving them fewer chores, encouraging them to do fewer activities, and downplaying the importance of grades and scores may be a short term way of easing stress, but we have to make sure we don't sacrifice the future of our students in favor making them smile a little more in their formative years.
The use of stress related suicide in Palo Alto, CA as an example of where it can all go wrong is heart wrenching, but I think it hides the real core of the issue. The dichotomy isn't between pressure and being completely lax on our kids. The problem is that we don't talk to our students. This is all very adult focused.
We need to help our kids understand how to manage stress and responsibilities. How many times have you had more bills than money so you picked one to let roll over to the next check when you could afford it? Our kids need help seeing the big picture. How do GPA and grading categories work? Which extracurricular activities to colleges actually care about / how do you make your passion marketable? When is it ok to let a few activities go and how do you do that? Why is deciding to focus on one activity isn't the same as being a quitter?
Yes, admitting you were young and made mistakes is a good first step, but it can't stop there. Let them breathe but don't let them fail themselves. It would also be helpful to help them figure out for themselves what success really means.
Talking to Dallas Students
Breaking down cheating in Dallas Schools
DMN Let kids breathe
Gillian Barth - Take it easy on kids