Discussion Guide for Parents


When you think about the causes of stress and anxiety for your daughter, what are the main culprits? How, in the past, have you tried to help her manage feelings of stress and anxiety? What has worked? What hasn’t?

Chapter One: Coming to Terms with Stress and Anxiety

  • In your own life, can you identify examples of healthy stress (the type that fosters growth and builds resilience) that you can draw on to help your daughter appreciate the positive aspects of stress?
  • When your daughter becomes anxious, is she frightened by her anxiety? Or can she regard it as a useful sign that something might be amiss?

Chapter Two: Girls at Home

  • How, in the past, have you usually reacted when your daughter:
    • wishes to avoid something that makes her uneasy,
    • has an emotional meltdown, or
    • has a dramatic overreaction.
  • When you think about the causes of stress and anxiety for you, what are the main culprits? Are there steps you can take to reduce your own tension in order to take better care of both yourself and your daughter?

Chapter Three: Girls among Girls

  • How well does your daughter get along with her friends? When your daughter runs into social conflicts, how does she tend to handle them?
  • Would you describe your daughter’s relationship with social media as healthy, unhealthy, or a bit of both?
  • How does your daughter feel about competing with her female peers? Can she draw on competition as a positive source of motivation, or does competition become uncomfortably fraught with emotion?

Chapter Four: Girls among Boys

  • Do you have reason to suspect—or do you already know—that your daughter has been on the receiving end of sexual harassment? If so, what conversations have you had (or do you hope to have) with her about it.
  • Well-meaning adults may unwittingly reinforce the harmful boys-on-offense-girls-on-defense framework when talking with both our daughters and sons about their romantic lives. How have you tended to approach these conversations in your home?

Chapter Five: Girls at School

  • How does your daughter typically react to the expectable stresses of school? Does she have reliable ways to restore herself after a hard day?
  • How efficient is your daughter when it comes to school? Does she “floor it” in all of her classes, or does she make tactical decisions about when to coast?
  • When thinking about her future, does your daughter operate with a “projectiles” or a “pathways” model? And which model comes to mind for you when you look at what’s ahead for your girl?

Chapter Six: Girls in the Culture

  • Some girls can turn people down without harming their relationships; other girls say “no” rudely, and still others acquiesce to requests far too often and easily. How does your daughter fare when it comes to sticking up for her own wishes while being respectful of others?
  • How have you talked with your daughter about our culture’s heavy emphasis on female appearance? And when the topic arises, how do you talk with your girl about her looks?
  • What conversations are you having at home on the topics of privilege, prejudice, racism, equity, and inclusion?


How was Under Pressure of help to you personally, or in your role as a parent? What questions remain unanswered for you? What topics related to stress, anxiety, or parenting would you like to learn more about?