UW System Reports Hundreds Of Cases Of Sexual Harassment By Teachers, Birth Rate History In Wisconsin, College Students Majoring In Perfectionism

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One psychologist writes about increasing concern from parents about their college students’ desires to perfect themselves inside and outside of social media. We’ll hear firsthand from a psychologist about the growing desire for perfectionism. We also take a look at birthrate history in our state and allegations of sexual harassment on UW campuses.

Featured in this Show

  • UW System Reports Hundreds Of Cases Of Sexual Harassment By Teachers

    A new investigation from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that complaints against teachers for sexual harassment have been filed on more than half of the University of Wisconsin system schools. We speak with Karen Herzog, higher education reporter for the Journal Sentinel, about the news.

  • Birth Rate History in Wisconsin

    Wisconsin birth rates fell by 8 percent between 2007 and 2015. Our guest says the rises and falls of the fertility rate here tell a story of demographic trends in the region.

  • Struggling To Be Perfect: More Students Strive For Perfection Now Than In Previous Decades

    A new study has found that perfectionism has increased by 33 percent when comparing today’s college students to their counterparts in 1989.

    The study claims that’s in part due to tougher economic conditions and that social media may also play a part. Social psychologist Jane Adams agrees.

    “Social media imposes its own kind of perfectionism if you allow it to. Socially oriented perfectionism has risen most sharply in the past 10 years,” Adams told WPR’s “Central Time.”

    Socially oriented or socially prescribed perfectionism is perfectionism driven by external standards: what your parents, teachers, friends and other people and entities expect of you. That’s opposed to self-oriented perfectionism, which involves setting your own high standards and feeling like you fall short no matter what, she said.

    Adams has noticed a trend among her clients: parents will come to her after seeing their college freshman home for winter break for the first time since August or September, disturbed by their children’s stress. They’ll talk about their kids’ depression, anxiety and general short temper, all driven by perfectionism, she said.

    So how’s a parent to respond?

    Adams recommended pointing out times in the past when your child’s perfectionistic logic has been incorrect.

    “Keep reminding them that things they thought weren’t good enough before were plenty good enough. ‘Remember the SAT scores you were sure you were bombing on? They got you into college,’” she said.

    She also suggested asking them how they feel.

    So, when your child tells you they got an “A” on a test, instead of just saying, “That’s great,” say, “That’s great! How do you feel about it?” Then, if they respond, “I could have done better,” you can tell them that if they did the best they did in the time they had, they did well enough.

    “What we as parents can do is offer another perspective and to suggest that they step back and take another perspective,” she said.

    Ask your child whether this will really matter in the long run, and play a game of “what if,” she suggested.

    What if you don’t get into your dream school?

    What if you don’t get a dream job?

    It may be scary at first, but it can encourage your child to start recognizing that things will be OK even if they don’t meet whatever standards of perfection they have in their head.

    “A certain amount of self-oriented perfectionism (is) generally associated with success and conscientiousness. So perfectionism to that degree is a positive thing. It’s negative when it interferes with the rest of your life and causes you unhappiness,” Adams said. “What we lose in over-focus on perfectionism is self-compassion, and humility to a certain extent.”

  • College Students Majoring In Perfectionism

    New data that takes a look at college students from the U.S., Canada, and Britain shows that perfectionism has increased by 33 percent since 1989. We take a look at factors like social media and technology to examine perfectionism and why its becoming ever-present.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Gretchen Brown Producer
  • Dean Knetter Producer
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • Karen Herzog Guest
  • Malia Jones Guest
  • Jane Adams Guest

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