There was an article in The Times last week entitled “Girls unhappy, stressed and addicted to web” which I am puzzled about and I think it should have been titled “British girls are the most ambitious and driven girls in the world”. So I am redressing the balance. The report castigated Britain for it’s mental health problems among girls suggesting that social media and the stress of school tests were partly to blame. However, the last paragraph provided a quote from a spokesperson from the Department of Education that said “These findings show young people have the motivation and desire to go as far as their talents can take them and that their parents are supporting them throughout their time at school.”
Sometimes I think our hard working, highly driven girls are given a bad press. There is no doubt that mental health support in Britain should be better for everyone, but British 15 year old girls were far more motivated at 90% to do the best that they could compared to the average of 65% and wanted top grades in most or all of their courses. This obviously causes them more stress, but in a good way surely? Of course they’re anxious before exams because they tend to take things seriously but on the whole and trust me, living with daughters during exams is horrendous for parents and siblings, but they come out the other side knowing that they have done the best that they can. They process things differently. With my son I barely knew he was having exams, such was his very low stress levels whereas girls tend to talk and worry about it all more, putting higher standards in place for themselves.
Of course, the amount of internet use is a concern with British girls coming out second highest in the global average with 3 hours a day – but maybe this included homework as well as time to relax and chat with friends?
Our girls had the highest proportion in any OECD country at 90% for both statements: “I want to be able to select from among the best opportunities available when I graduate” and “I want to be the best, whatever I do” – and we should be extremely proud of that. That article should have been titled “BRITISH GIRLS ARE THE MOST AMBITIOUS AND DRIVEN GIRLS IN THE WORLD.