Are Your Children on a "Race to Nowhere"

Comments 5

School just started and I’m wondering if your children are already complaining about headaches or stomachaches in the morning? Maybe you are even hearing those horrible words, “I don’t want to go to school, or I hate school!” As a parent hearing

these things from our children can make us feel worried, concerned, challenged and often powerless. We want children to enjoy school. The majority of all parents I work with want their children to have a lifelong love of learning, yet their children, many at very young ages, are already complaining of psychological and somatic symptoms due to the pressure to perform in school.

Our family has certainly experienced this stress. At various times throughout their youth both of my daughters have complained of physical symptoms, and often times there have been tears shed over the shear amount of homework. Family vacations and holidays have had the added stress of hours and hours of homework, not too mention lugging the pounds of textbooks and school supplies on airplanes and road trips. My husband and I have struggled with the desire to rescue our children knowing that by doing this we weren’t helping anyone.

My daughters struggle to find a healthy balance between the things they love to do, such as sports, visual and performing arts, socializing with their slots online spielen friends, and the desire to do well in school. As a parent coach, educator and family consultant I intellectually know that this struggle to manage ones time between the things we want to do and the things we need to do is something we must all learn. It’s a skill most commonly referred to as time management.

Can our students really learn about time management when they are in school for 7 hours a day and then come home to 4 to 6 hours of additional homework? Are we sending a message to our young people that they should be well-rounded human beings with a love of learning and a variety of healthy interests, or are we telling them that in order to be successful they must be workaholics and perform to the standards set forth by someone else?

A powerful documentary Race to Nowhere by Vicki Abeles shares with us the latest research and first hand stories of children, teens and families who have been pushed to and over the edge by the overwhelming need to perform in our current education system. This movie is beautifully done. It is poignant and masterfully created. Not only does the movie define the problem, but at the end actually gives everyone ways to get involved and help change the state of our education system. Whether you are a parent, student, educator, administrator or simply a concerned individual about the future of our nation—you must see this.

I invite you to take a look at their website and join the movement.

Categories ,


  1. Susan Sinjur

    Thanks for the wisdom, Marni! Out of sight, but not out of mind. I really appreciate the info. you share. It reminds me to be present and to try to remain balanced and focused on the priority of raising my child. The drive to succeed seems to pose a real threat to the balance and joy we want for our kids and for ourselves!
  2. Mike King

    This is a very interesting topic. I sometimes wonder if our generation of Parents have set our children up for failure (or the feeling of stress) because from the time they were little we have given them everything. All kids deserve a trophy for just showing up to the game? When was the last time you saw a teenager mowing their parents lawn? Or cleaning the car?. I believe they feel overwhelmed because we\'ve underwhelmed them?
  3. Claire Chapman

    Thank you, Marni!!!

    Such an important and overlooked issue! I agree that something really has to change and I\'m glad you are sharing this.

  4. Coach Marni

    Interesting point, Mike. Parents are asking less and less of their kids at home, I believe, because the demands of school and extra curricular activities are so outrageous. Kids don\'t have time to help out around the house, mow the lawn, or wash the car because they spend every waking minute doing homework, being tutored, volunteering, playing soccer, or in private lessons for one thing or another.

    I encourage parents to look at what is important to their family. What type of adult do you want to raise and does what we are doing support that?

    Wishing you more joy in parenting,
  5. Coach Marni

    Exactly, Susan! What does success mean to your family? I encourage you to define that and make decisions for your family based on your idea of success.

    Take care,

Commenting has expired for this article.