I have been passionate about speaking and writing on the overachievement culture here in the U.S. for almost 10 years. I find it abhorrent that our educational system does not recognize the undo pressures placed on children from the moment they enter the public school system. Pair this with parents who may unconsciously or consciously live vicariously through their children and/or find all their esteem from their high-achieving children and you have a recipe for children with high anxiety and stress and at a high risk for depression, self-injury, and even suicide. Children need free time, time spent reading alone or with their parents for pleasure, time spent walking or playing out of doors, time away from all pressures and all electronics. They can and should be encouraged to do their best. The do not need to be harangued with unobtainable (for many) standards and expectations every moment of every day of their lives.
I will admit that I had not thought about this same problem occurring across the Atlantic. Click this link to read a timely blog post by a teacher from the UK. Please take the time to read this and share it with others. Awareness must occur before change- please join me in spreading that awareness!