'You'll never be good enough' — how anxiety lies to our girls and what you can do about it

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  • Mr. Bean Springville, UT
    Aug. 20, 2018 11:49 p.m.

    @I M LDS 2:

    "Mr Bean, that is extremely sexist and wrong."

    You could be right... but, could you elaborate? What I posted is the way I see it.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 20, 2018 8:19 a.m.

    To "Dennis" if you read the article, you would see that it is not a church issue. The problem is a societal problem. As proof, look at the LDS church. They have said "Be ye therefore Perfect" for over 100 years, yet this problem is just now coming around, so it can't be the doctrine. If that isn't enough, look at what is causing the anxiety, it isn't church. The problems are all societal. From being perfect at school, to having perfect friends, to perfect everything.

    Also look at the timeframe that it has gotten worse. Don't you find that it is interesting that it has occurred during the same time that the pressures to be the top in any extracurricular activity have increased? You can't just sign little Suzy up for ballet. You now have to put her in ballet at age 3, so that she can get into the top tier ballet school by the time she is 12.

    To "Nuschler121" what are you talking about. The YM in the LDS church can do whatever they want. The problem isn't the church, but the YM leaders that don't plan out the activities like what the boys do.

    I am not sure you understood LDS doctrine. Husbands and wives are equal partners who each have different responsibilities.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 20, 2018 8:17 a.m.

    Mr Bean, that is extremely sexist and wrong.

  • Mr. Bean Springville, UT
    Aug. 19, 2018 11:49 p.m.

    "Many women felt insulted by being homemakers and caring for their children. IMO this is a natural instinct."

    I think it was Mother Nature who assigned the female to bear and raise children. That would seem to be their job in any society. But, today's females are abandoning that assignment in exchange for jobs and careers.

    "For whatever reason, many women left the home and traditional family structure to work on a career."

    Women are essentially saying... why should I go through the agony of bearing children then giving up my freedom to nurture and raise them? This is evidenced by the birth rate in the US (and many European countries) below replacement (on average, 2.1 children per female). There remains one society today whose birth rate far exceeds replacement... Muslims. There women are not allowed to get out of the house, find jobs, and go to work.

    "The revival of the traditional family would cure much of the anxiety in girls."

    Those days are gone forever... at least in the US. This country's growth rate would be declining if it wasn't for unprecedented immigration.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Aug. 18, 2018 11:16 a.m.

    Many women felt insulted by being homemakers and caring for their children. IMO this is a natural instinct.

    For whatever reason, many women left the home and traditional family structure to work on a career. Often because men are not being responsible or faithful to their family.

    IMO. The revival of the traditional family would cure much of the anxiety in girls.

  • Nuschler121 Villa Rica, GA
    Aug. 17, 2018 2:27 p.m.

    You folks need to read each other’s stories.

    The new prophet President Russell Nelson has said that girls cannot be ensconced in the Aaronic Priesthood.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints STILL has more activities for boys while girls are mainly told to be good wives and mothers.

    And you wonder why girls are anxious?

    I left the church (I can’t write it out again!) because I saw that I had no future as a woman in the upper echelons. As an MD I fail to see how men are superior...for women and men seem to be great partners and EQUAL in all respects.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 10:01 a.m.

    The youngest two of my seven daughters seem especially to suffer from anxiety. And girls often seem to at least display anxiety than do males (not saying they are any more anxious, but boys likely try to hide it more).

    I don't wonder that the 'world' demanding that they both perform high in 'worldly' ways (school, and work to make money) take a toll in terms of anxiety on them.

    I know that while we've always encouraged our children to do their 'best', that has never meant to get straight 'A's' or other things. That has always meant, and has always been clearly conveyed, as just, literally, doing your best. (And, we often point out our own shortcomings, and those of everyone in the world).

    I've often felt that girls seem to internalize that 'perfection' of them is required, when that has neither been iterated, or even hinted at, in our family.

    These two youngest daughters are now 25 and 18. The younger one now seems to be doing better than her next older sister. Both are bright, beautiful, fun people to be around.

    I sometimes think we suppose expectations of ourselves that no one else expects or requires. And I wonder how to help them get out of doing that.

  • Neanderthal Springville, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:31 p.m.

    "Boys really are having the same kind of anxiety and are also told they have to be perfect."

    I think you've hit on something... requirement to be 'perfect.' Utah has a relatively high incidence of suicide among the young compared to the rest of the nation. Perhaps it has to do with church teachings that require being perfect... which is a near impossibility. This could bring about discouragement and anxiety. Unfortunately, the payment that Christ made for sins may not be emphasized strongly enough or understood completely.

  • Miss Piggie Springville, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 7:32 p.m.

    Could be an issue of female hormones as girls advance into adulthood. We know that females are supposed to be sexy, the purpose of which is to attract. This assignment, made by mother nature, could create some degree of anxiety. Am I sexy enough? Umm, maybe not. Dang. I wish I was not so skinny.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 7:14 p.m.


    If by "the church" you mean the "Mormon Church" or the "LDS Church" (not-really-breaking news aside); I really hear you. I was debating including in my first post a focus on "Be Ye Therefore Perfect" (as also mentioned by Dennis) as having a significant impact on anxiety.

    Within the (dare I say it) Mormon culture there is a huge problem with perspective of perfection. It is preached that we should only strive for perfection; but the culture itself is a push toward being perfect here and now.

    I have suggested (though I am sure the Prophet would never accept such a suggestion); that we change the entire culture in the LDS church; to one of instead of focusing on a persons' "worthiness" to participate in church activities; instead to turn that on its head and focus on whether or not a person finds Jesus Christ worthy of our worship (e.g. participation in church activities).

    Only Christ was perfect; only He was "worthy."

    The rest of us are and will always be "unworthy" - but loved by Him just the same. When we understand that we cannot make ourselves "worthy" and instead focus on Christ's truly unconditional love for all; the anxiety of perfectionism disappears!

  • rlbennion San Diego, CA
    Aug. 16, 2018 4:58 p.m.

    There are not enough characters to talk about how and why we feel we cannot measure up. Sadly, in the church its much harder to feel "good enough".

  • The Final Word Alpine, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 4:19 p.m.

    Where do kids get the message they are inadequate? It sure doesn't help that kids perpetually stream social media perfect-life snapshots into their brains (via smartphones) all day every day and there is little doubt that is having a substantial negative effect. Go figure.

    I look at my wife/kids social media feeds from time to time or I hear them talk about them. Its 95% fantasy/phony/or just flat bogus. Kids see only the best that people want others to think of them. They rarely see all the normal problems people have everyday and they think it is only them with all the challenges.

    Sure, social media can be beneficial for certain things but when you think about how it actually works it is often anti-social. All these kids sit at home scrolling through fake lives on their screens when they should be out actually socializing face to face. Lots of them feel so alone even when they are surrounded by others...with their faces glued to their screens instead of actually talking/doing something fun. All contributes to abnormal relationships and perceptions....causing anxiety.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 3:58 p.m.

    Why does the current generation of both girls and boys seem so fragile and unable to cope with normal daily life, even though they live in the free-est and most prosperous country in human history ?
    As the psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson points out: No one really needs an excuse to be mentally ill. Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are very easy to slip into. What we need is meaning to withstand the anxieties, and meaning comes through accepting responsibility. We have created a culture in which a large fraction blames everyone else in society for the lack of perfection in. They do not accepts the responsibility for functioning in human life in spite of its imperfect nature.

  • NeifyT Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 12:45 p.m.

    This article (and nearly the whole series) seems to focus solely on girls. I got news for you. Boys really are having the same kind of anxiety and are also told they have to be perfect. The charts in this article skew the statistics to paint the picture that only girls are affected by anxiety.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Aug. 16, 2018 11:24 a.m.

    I wonder if the number for boys taking anti-depressants is low because they are less likely to be diagnosed.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    "Feminism isn't working?"


    What simpleton thinks feminism was/is ever about reducing women's anxiety?!

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 9:48 a.m.

    Comparing is the root of all anxiety.

    Make simple choices that you like and stick with them no matter what others think. Start small and grow your confidence.

    Don't forget that we are not here to only do what we feel like. There is a bigger plan.

    "Sorry, God, this is just the way I am" isn't the right answer. We can always do better. Don't let that cripple you though.

  • aghast SYRACUSE, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:37 a.m.

    I have to admit, having a daughter entering the 7th grade this next Monday, that anxiety is a problem. This is the 6th time I have had the same experience at the same school. It doesn't get any easier, it in fact, is worse. I agree the problem is worse with girls, but it is indeed prevalent with boys too.

    Speaking from anxieties experience, now is the time to get with your teenagers folks. Don't leave it up to somebody else.

  • Zzzptm Dallas, TX
    Aug. 16, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    I remember similar anxiety when I found myself delivering pizza after graduating college. I had loads of honors and tons of people telling me I could be anything I wanted to be. I knew I did *not* want to be a pizza delivery guy, hence the anxiety.

    What the article says about the social pressures of what we mistakenly think are encouraging messages rings true. Just as we say we don't want a person to be defined by one's misdeeds, we also don't want a person to be defined by one's successes. If my daughter drives the car over a curb, she's not a bad person. If she completes her driver's test, that doesn't make her a good person.

    Within the LDS community, this can also help address some of the pressures that face new parents, returned missionaries, and a lot of other situations in which we superficially assume that all is well based upon appearances. We need to let people be comfortable with who they are, no matter who they are. When there's a reduction in mental pressure, all kinds of good things can happen in a person's life.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 7:35 a.m.

    Why is it that it is only girls who seem to be so upset? There never has been a time that so much praise is heaped upon the fair sex but that doesn't seem to work. So what is the cure? More of what doesn't work I suppose.

    Actually what the article seems to be based on is its statement that more girls than boys get so very anxious 36 to 26 percent. There are differences between the personalities of boys and girls? Feminism isn't working?

  • Million Riverton, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 6:54 a.m.

    Such beautiful, talented children and then come the social curve balls that are thrown at them. It was tough for the older generation but throw in social media and things can be a lot tougher now days with bombardment from a million directions. Best advice I could offer is to tell them "and this too shall pass" when things seem overwhelming. Good article.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 16, 2018 6:20 a.m.

    "Be ye therefore Perfect" How many times have we heard this. Yet, when kids work hard at something and don't quite make the grade what's the first thing an adult will say. "Nobody's Perfect". And we wonder why kids have such a mixed up feeling about the world.

  • DarthMaul Vernal, UT
    Aug. 16, 2018 1:54 a.m.

    I remember seeing this with my sister, minus the actual physical pain experience of anxiety but expressed in her temperament that we the boys, her brothers allowed her to verbally lash out at us so she could vent. She was a straight A-plus student, could have skipped her senior year in high school but she didn't want to (thankfully) because she wanted to be with her friends, went on to complete undergraduate studies early then onward to graduate school. Our parents stressed the importance of staying in school but never really forced it down our throats. She seems to be doing just fine now and we learned very early on with her, when to back off when she is not happy with something and when to speak up when all is well and of course she will always be our precious baby sister.