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Parental Pressure on Children

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

Between school, homework, extracurricular activities, family functions and friends, your children might not have a lot of downtime. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a holistic medical provider who is director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, your child needs time to be a kid without facing the pressures of adult life. Behaving like a child is what helps your child foster creativity and imagination, and facing too much parental pressure can have lasting negative effects on your child.

How Parental Pressure Affects Your Children Emotionally

According to Northern Illinois University’s Department of Education, your children are more likely to suffer from self-esteem issues and confidence problems if they feel that your parental pressure is too strong. Your child might become withdrawn and sullen, which could lead to her lack of satisfaction as an adult. Furthermore, too much pressure from you can make her question her own intelligence and her own abilities, which will further hinder her ability to learn and grow.

How Parental Pressure Affects Your Children Physically

Your child’s emotional well-being is not all that is affected by your parental pressure. He might begin to show physical symptoms of pressure. For example, if you spend too much time pressuring him to perform well in school and sports, he might not get adequate sleep, which could affect his mood, his learning comprehension and his attitude. Additionally, he might feel pressured to cheat, whether on a test at school or by using too many caffeinated substances to help him stay awake and alert, which is not healthy, according to Northern Illinois University’s Department of Education.

Aim for Learning Goals Rather than Performance Goals

It is natural for you to want your child to perform well in sports, school and life, but when he feels pressured to always perform with perfection, he will suffer. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, you should aim for learning goals rather than performance goals. For example, rather than pressuring your child to perform well on a major test, encourage him to learn from the test. If he does not do well on the test, encourage him to tell you what he learned from this experience, such as needing to study more for the next test or needing to get more sleep before the next test. This helps him learn from not only his performance, but from his mistakes, which is far more productive than pressuring him to always perform well.

Limit Life’s Pressures

Your child’s life might be full to overflowing, and you might think that she enjoys that. However, you should talk to her about her schedule and ask whether she feels stressed, pressured or overworked. If she feels she doesn’t have enough time to enjoy her life, she might need to limit her pressures by removing them from her life. Your child is not likely to tell you that she feels pressured for fear of disappointing you, which means you need to be attuned to her moods, according to Drweil.com. If she feels that taking both piano lessons and playing softball do not allow her enough time to study and to be a kid, she might need to forgo one next year.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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