Parental Pressure – Care But Not Too Much!

6 minute read
Parental Pressure

We live in a world that constantly pushes individuals to strive for excellence and keep up with the fast-paced world, in a world smitten by the success of moguls, there is an environment of persistent stress. A generation clouted with the idea of the hustle and shamed for having unproductive days, the pressure can seem exhaustive. To add to this is the pressure children tend to feel from their parents. Yes, parental pressure. Children are occupied with the stress of not letting their parents down, this stress transcends into a continuous loop of mental strain on them. 

Parental Pressure- Where Does it Come From?

Parental pressure arises from a well-intended place of concern for the child and their future, but it is a natural human instinct to pin one’s hopes and dreams on someone else. Parents tend to pin their unfulfilled dreams on their children and thus push them to pursue courses and careers they might not want to or do not have the ability for. Being pressurized into a certain field you lack the passion for can make you feel frustrated and anxious. Merely pursuing a course to make your parents happy can make one feel anxious and feel like a failure especially if they lack the skills for that field. 

Consequences of Parental Pressure

Parents are one of the first socializing agents in our lives and form the most intimate relationships with their children, experiencing discontent from that relationship in the form of parental pressure can result in emotional trauma and can take years of healing.

Many students burdened by the parental pressure, many of them develop eating disorders, sleep deprivation, losing interest in things they previously enjoyed, withdrawal from close interpersonal relationships like family and friends, burnout and excessive worrying. A study found that parental pressure leads to students experiencing massive stress and anxiety for academic performance. It may even lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, diarrhoea and stomach aches, etc. Kids who are much younger may also complain of nightmares and refuse to go to school regularly.

Potential of students in the 21st century is measured with standardized tests, their ability to reproduce what they’ve learnt and their quantitative & scientific knowledge. The school and higher education institutions too burden children with a lot of home assignments, in such an environment parents feel compelled to check up on their children and monitor their academic performance. But unfortunately, this care often turns into too much care leading to parental pressure for the children.

We also live in a society where the field of education is also experiencing the modernization and technological advancements, parents can now track their children’s performance through online portals designed by schools as well as compare their scores to their peers. This has negatively impacted students and the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology even states that school children typically experience more parental pressure today than 1950’s patients in the child psychiatric wards.

The monitoring of academic performance has created a system of stress and poor self-image where school children experience low self-esteem, dissatisfaction with life, depression and feelings of having no autonomy over their lives. 

In some instances, parents might feel like they are being supportive and pushing their children to realize their maximum potential, but this can negatively impact them into undermining their worth and developing a negative sense of self and no confidence, leading to parental pressure. 

Signs Reflecting Parental Pressure on Child 

Mentioned below are the telltale signs that a child exhibits when there is undue parental pressure on him or her.

  • Bad Temperament  – When as a parent you come to notice that your usually well-behaved child is having mood swings or gets upset at the slightest of things, it is time to give his/her stress levels a check. There can be varying reasons for your child to have a bad temper, it is here when you should encourage your child in things he/ she likes to do and reduce parental pressure you are putting on him/her unknowingly.
  • Nightmares – If your child suddenly starts waking up in the middle of the night due to nightmares, you must act actively on it as it is a sign of parental pressure. Children mostly exhibit their insecurities and worries through their dreams. Giving your child extra attention or listening to what he/she has to say helps the child confide in you.
  • Loss of Interest – When a child feels excessive parental pressure or feels that he/she is unable to live up to the high expectations of his /her parents, he/she gets lethargic, sad and even begins to lose interest in things and activities around him/her. Many children also exhibit psychological symptoms when exposed to too much parental pressure. The symptoms include stomach ache, nausea, headache, etc. It is best to have clear communication with your child and unburden him/her from the pressures by you and of the society.

Here’s What Parents Can Do

As a parent, it is your responsibility to help your child feel secure mentally and emotionally and develop their self-confidence and worth. You must regularly interact with your child and build a friendly relationship with them so that they can seek refuge in you.

Also, you must regularly engage in fun trust-building exercises with them so that they can confide in you, you need to provide a safe space for them to grow. Your child needs to feel encouragement from you so that they develop confidence and are not petrified to fail, this way they will take risks and engage with things they genuinely enjoy.

You must also recognize your child’s strengths and encourage them to hone their skills, even if they may seem unconventional. As a parent, it is important for you to understand that likes adults’ children too can experience difficulties and stresses and they in no way lack seriousness and must be treated the same. You need to give them time and space to alleviate their stress and check out for a while, also if you feel like your child is struggling with parental pressure and you can provide them the required help, take them to a professional counselor.

Tips for Positive Parenting

We have gathered together a few tips which will help parents or parents to be with positive parenting. They are mentioned below.

  • Interact: One of the best ways and also time to interact with your child is when he/she is playing. It is even better when as a parent you make the effort to play with your child. Laughing, playing or doing fun activities together are a great way to build a good friendship or camaraderie with your child. Once your child feels that he/ she can trust you and trusts the relationship you share, he/she will share all his/her worries, dreams and aspirations with you. Interaction is the key to great parenting and reduces the chances of you putting any undue parental pressure on your child. 
  • Introspection: Once you start interacting with your child and build a good relationship with him/her, it is important to end each day with introspection. By no means are we suggesting that you should be hard on yourself as a parent but it is always good to reflect on the happenings of the day. Asking yourself questions like, “Has my behaviour been inspiring?”, “Was I approachable as a parent to my child?”, these questions help you understand what your child is trying to convey to you and whether intentionally or unintentionally you are putting parental pressure on him/her.
  • Encourage: A parent is the most important person in a child’s life. No matter what ae he/she is, a child always looks up to his/her parents in every situation. Encouragement from a parent can be a stepping stone in a child’s life and prepare them to face the various challenges life has to offer without shying away from them. Another important feature of encouragement is that it helps the child accept and understand failure without giving up hope. Encouraging your child helps reduce undue parental pressure and acts like positive motivation in his/her life. 

We at Leverage Edu understand that sometimes children just need someone to talk to and confide in and hence our counselors provide them with a safe space where they can discuss their career drive and true interests and come to happy conclusions with their help.

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