The Flint Hill Alumni Office and Parents’ Association are proud to co-host this special evening with our very own Caralena Peterson ’10, author of The Effortless Perfection Myth.  

Wednesday, April 26

Flint Hill School
Upper School Learning Commons
3320 Jermantown Road
Oakton, VA  22124

  • 6:00 p.m. Meet the Author
  • 6:30 p.m. Book Talk: “Beneath the Surface:  What Your Seemingly Self-sufficient Child Secretly Wants From You”
  • Q/A moderated by Tracy Peterson, Upper School English Teacher
  • 7:15 p.m. Mix & Mingle



Do you ever worry about your type-A, straight-edge, perfectionist child who seems to have everything going for them? Perhaps you should. They may secretly be feeling the need to earn the love they receive by making themselves smart enough, attractive enough, athletic enough. They may be attempting to create a sense of identity based on impossible standards and expectations, and be headed toward a breakdown as a result. College in particular is a very intense period wherein your child is likely to experience their highest highs and lowest lows to date. Caralena informs parents on the red flags to look out for and the sneaky strategies their children may be using to hide all that is going on beneath the surface, while providing pointers for engaging them in conversation about how it’s okay to not always be okay.

Audiences Will Learn:

  • How your child might be using accomplishment as a cure-all
  • Underlying problems with the coping mechanisms he/she/they use(s) to project a flawless, unbreakable exterior
  • Advice on how to plant seeds and effectively engage your child in conversation on this topic instead of staging a big, overwhelming intervention

“We like to believe that if we can make our lives look perfect, then they will start to feel perfect too.”
Caralena Peterson ’10

Caralena Peterson is an expert on “Effortless Perfection” and the mental health crisis it has helped to create on college campuses across the United States, especially amongst women. Her book The Effortless Perfection Myth hit shelves on September 20, 2022. She graduated from Duke University in 2015 with majors in Women’s Studies and Public Policy. Caralena has spoken to audiences at TEDx, Duke, Cornell, Harvard, Tulane, and the National Women's History Museum, and will be speaking at Stanford and Amazon GoodReads later this Spring. She's also had the honor of appearing on news programs like Good Morning Washington and PIX11 and has published articles with Inside Higher Ed, The Week, Ms. Magazine, and Teen Vogue, among others. Caralena’s main topics of focus include mental health, hookup culture and sexual power dynamics, and disordered eating. She is also a mixed-media artist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Washington Life Magazine. To learn more about her work, visit www.caralenapeterson.com.