Parental Expectations and Stress on Children

Posted by Thelma Maria Simon on Tue, Nov 20, 2012  
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I have always thought “Why is that parents want to instill their ideologies and expectations into their children and not give way for their kids to think and grow on their own?” It’s a very common fact that is happening in almost every family these days, especially among the middle and upper class society.


Parents these days are so much concerned about the society and its reaction towards them, that they want their children to grow and do things in a way that the society wants and not the way they want. Children during their developmental stage become so confused on what to follow, how to react and what is right for them. This is because, parents say, “don’t follow him/her”, and at some point of time they say “Have you not seen that fellow, why don’t you do like him?” So finally what are they expecting, to do or not to do. This invariably puts in a lot of stress and pressure on the child leading to confusing and hampering the growth and development.


During my posting in the child psychiatry unit, I still remember a child (15yrs) who was admitted for anti social behaviors. I was wondering what would have made this boy to get into these habits? Then, I went ahead and started building up rapport with that child. Initially it was too hard, as he would never open up his feelings or thoughts. After say about three days, that little boy came up to me and said “why are you so interested in talking to me, when my parents themselves were never interested to listen to what I say.” Now I thought would be the best time to talk to him and then he told me something and I was so devastated.


He said, right from my young age I did everything just the way my parents told me. I was sent to mathematics class when I wanted to go for arts class. I was sent for other educational classes when I wanted to join the cricket club and specialize in cricket. My father was too strict that he never allowed me to do anything creative as he thought it was waste of time. My mother told me only science and mathematics would yield you future and not arts and cricket. The pressure for my board exam was too much from my parents that I eventually failed and that led me to get into these habits as I found these helped me feel at ease.


This is just one of the many patients I have dealt with. Parents who are supposed to be the reason for the growth and all round development of a child finally end up being the cause of stress for them. Everyday papers carry the news saying student-committed suicide after class 10 or class 12 results. The reason being parent’s pressure over their children for obtaining high marks for a better societal status.


My question is – why are you parents so much worried about the society when you actually have to worry about your family. Being a part of the society is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to only live for the society. Every individual is unique. The DNA model of your own kid is different from that of yours, so how can you expect the kid to be similar like the society.


Not just the case of studies. I have come across parents who put stress on their children when it comes to the career they want to pursue, or the job they want to do, or the life partner they want to choose, or going out with friends and colleagues, or even in extreme cases some parents even control the friends that their kids choose.


Expectations from parents are natural, but when the same crosses the limits over their children it becomes too difficult to handle finally landing up in stress and pressure for the children. Parents need to accept the fact that the world that their children are growing up now is way too different from what they lived in or they grew up. So do not try to push your thought and ideologies into the child there by not just hampering the growth and development of the child but also spoiling the beautiful parent child relationship.


“Live and let live” has lots of meaning in it. So parents please don’t just focus on what you need but focus on your child and their need without instilling pressure on them for a brighter future.


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