Parenting is, undoubtedly, one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences you can have. As a parent, you want the best for your child and you do everything in your power to give them fair chances and opportunities to be successful in life. But, in the pursuit to do the best for your kid, you might unknowingly put undue pressure on them. Without realizing it, the parental pressure your child experiences could have negative consequences on their mental health.
I’ve seen parents treat their children as an extension of themselves and not the individual entity they are supposed to be. As a parent, you might think that what you decide for your child’s future is best and if your kid listens to you, then they’ll be more successful, and more admirable.
There’s nothing wrong with aiding your child from time to time or lending a guiding hand when you see them falter in their steps, but putting parental pressure on your child can have adverse effects on your child.
What are the effects of parental pressure on children, what causes parental pressure, and what can you, a parent, do to encourage your child without the added burden of parental pressure?
What is Parental Pressure?
Parental pressure is the expectations that parents put on their children to achieve success. This pressure is often driven by the desire for academic success or artistic achievement. Parental pressure involves setting high expectations, and strict rules, and placing high importance on performance.
While the intention behind such might be good, the way this pressure is taken can have consequences on a child’s mental well-being as well as their academic performance.
If I talk about the types of parental pressure, there are different types of pressure parents often put on their children. Some of the common ones a child can experience include;
Indirect pressure: Where guilt-tripping or other indirect ways of reminding the child of the unrealistic expectations can be included.
Direct pressure: Where yelling, forcing your child to submit, or complaining about their lack of success can be included.
Effects of Parental Pressure on Children And Their Mental Health
The effects of parental pressure on children can be long-lasting and can leave severe wounds on the child’s mental health. The constant fear of being unable to meet parents’ expectations can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression in children. Your child may even develop a fear of failure and may experience low self-esteem.
Criticism from parents, often through indirect or direct insults, can lead to negative self-talk in children and they might even begin to be frugal with their affection and attention.
Another effect of parental pressure on children’s mental health can include burnout. When a child is subjected to a relentless chase towards success, they may feel physically and emotionally exhausted. This can cause feelings of disinterest, low motivation, and even physical health issues in a child.
Teens, when taunted or mocked by their parents or other family members about their weight, might also have a risk of developing eating disorders. In a 2021 study, it was found that kids, when monitored by their parents about their weight, tend to have a high BMI.
According to a Study by Albert Bandura, Too much pressure from the parents would lead to stressful life of the student’s worst, it might lead to depression. Parents must observe their children’s capacity and capability first than expecting too much from their children to attain high academic performance.
Excessive pressure from parents can also cause a strain on the parent-child bond, leading to feelings of resentment, anger, and isolation. Constant criticism and negative parenting – especially when parents use guilt – can trigger poor academic performance.
What Are The Causes of Parental Pressure?
Parental pressure often has causes and understanding the causes of parental pressure can help you, a parent, address the problem. Some of the common causes of parental pressure can be;
Having unrealistic expectations for your children. You expect them to excel in every aspect of their lives and relationships. Such unrealistic expectations can become overwhelming for the child and can affect their self-esteem.
You may also resort to parental pressure because of societal expectations. You may begin to compare your child’s performance to those of their peers. This can cause high pressure to outperform their peers to win your attention.
If you have some unfulfilled expectations or ambitions, then you may be unconsciously projecting them onto your children, hoping that they will achieve and succeed where you couldn’t.
Tips to Encourage Children Without Parental Pressure
Encouraging your children to do good from time to time is good, but not when it comes with parental pressure. So, how can you encourage your child without putting pressure on them? I have some tips for you!
1. Keep Communication Open
Try to create an environment where your child feels safe to communicate with you about their desires, interests, and expectations. Try to listen to them well and support them without making them feel guilty for not choosing the path you want them to.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Do not underestimate or overestimate your child’s talents and capabilities. Try to keep your expectations realistic. Set achievable goals for your child considering their strengths, interests, and abilities. Instead of seeking to control their actions, acknowledge that they are their own person and might have their own desires that are different from yours.
3. Encourage a Balanced Life
As a parent, you need to encourage your child to have a balanced life that includes not only academics but also activities where they can relax, de-stress, and play. Make room for their hobbies and interests along with their studies.
4. Celebrate Their Efforts
Learn to praise your child for their efforts and hard work rather than focusing on the outcome of their efforts. The results can’t be ignored but they can be overlooked in the face of your child’s hard work and dedication. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts and accomplishments in any way they can achieve. This can boost their confidence and improve their self-esteem.
5. Become a Model Example
Children imitate their parents, so make sure you become a model example for them. Show them a healthy approach to reaching goals by being resilient in the face of failures. If you allow yourself to succumb to guilt and pressure, then this is what your child will adopt too. Try to show your child a healthy approach to address failures and setbacks to help them become confident and resilient too.
Parental pressure can negatively affect a child’s mental health and well-being, and can even leave long-lasting consequences. As a parent, it’s important to spot the signs of parental pressure and take a step back to create a safe, encouraging, and supportive environment for your child. You can do this by encouraging open communication, validating your child’s feelings, setting realistic expectations, and celebrating their hard work and dedication with them.
As a parent, you want to do your best for your child, but you might inadvertently end up putting extra pressure on your child. Know that your goal as a parent is to raise a happy and well-adjusted child who can reach their full potential in a loving and encouraging environment.
I hope this blog helped you understand the effects of parental pressure on children and their mental health. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
The post How Parental Pressure Affects Children’s Mental Health (And What to Do) appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.