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Wellbeing/Mental HealthRelationships/Communication

Jennifer B. Wallace

Never Enough: Inspiring Balanced Achievement, Self-Confidence and The Power of Mattering

Virtual Event

How can we teach our kids to strive towards excellence without crushing them?

In the ever more competitive race to secure the best possible future, today’s students face unprecedented pressure to succeed. They jam-pack their schedules with AP classes, fill every waking hour with resume-padding activities, and even sabotage relationships with friends to “get ahead.” Family incomes and schedules are stretched to the breaking point by tutoring fees and athletic schedules. Yet this drive to optimize performance has only resulted in skyrocketing rates of anxiety, depression, and even self-harm in America’s highest achieving schools.

In Never Enough, award-winning reporter Jennifer Breheny Wallace investigates the deep roots of toxic achievement culture, and finds out what we must do to fight back. Drawing on interviews with families, educators, and an original survey of nearly 6,000 parents, she exposes how the pressure to perform is not a matter of parental choice but baked in to our larger society and spurred by increasing income inequality and dwindling opportunities. As a result, children are increasingly absorbing the message that they have no value outside of their accomplishments, a message that is reinforced by the media and greater culture at large.

Wallace shows what kids need from the adults in the room is not more pressure, but to feel like they matter and have intrinsic self-worth not contingent upon external achievements. Parents and educators who adopt the language and values of mattering help children see themselves as a valuable contributor to a larger community. And in an ironic twist, kids who receive consistent feedback that they matter no matter what are more likely to have the resilience, self-confidence, and psychological security to thrive.

Jennifer Wallace is an award-winning journalist and author of the book “Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic – and What We Can Do About It.” She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and appears on national television to discuss her articles and relevant topics in the news.  After graduating from Harvard College, Wallace began her journalism career at CBS “60 Minutes,” where she was part of a team that won The Robert F. Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism. She is a Journalism Fellow at the The Center for Parent and Teen Communication at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Jennifer serves on the board of the Coalition for the Homeless in New York City, where she lives with her husband and their three children.

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In Conversation With…

Jennifer will be in conversation with Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” and “Your Turn: How to Be an Adult.”

 


Speaker Resources

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