“I appeal to parents: never, never say, “Hurry up,” to a child.”
― Vladimir Nabokov
If life is a race, we are all running to bag the first position. Since childhood, we are taught that no one remembers the person who landed second on the moon. And we often succumb to this pressure of being the first, the best. As parents we, naturally, want our children to live the best life possible but sometimes these expectations can put an unimaginable pressure on little ones which may result in a never ending downward spiral of dissatisfaction, anger, anxiety, depression and in some cases suicide.
This brings the need to answer THE MOST IMPORTANT Question—what matters more—happiness or satisfaction or who came first? It is rightly said that when one begins to do what they truly enjoy or gives them happiness, success soon follows. However, the reverse is never true.
Though it is a universal fact, that success never brings happiness, yet let’s take a close look at what, makes some push themselves and their children into this so called ‘mad race’.
What makes parents unconsciously put pressure on their kids to succeed at all costs?
- All I want is the best, nothing else syndrome
One reason behind this could be that the perception that most of us carry that present society that we live in has zero tolerance for what is not called the best. Hence, the fear of not getting into the best college, university, job etc may force them to do so.
- It’s a competitive world, after all syndrome
The fear of losing in competition may make parents feel that they need to make children competitive whether it is called or not called for.
- I will do EVERYTHING for you syndrome
Parents who felt uncared for in their childhood, may try to compensate for it by over-caring or getting too involved in the lives of their children. They take all important decisions on the behalf of their children, not knowing that this will make their children underconfident, dependent and insecure.
- I want you to have it all, syndrome
Parents who have struggled in their life, often, do not want their children to go through the same. In doing so they unconsciously try and give all the most materialistic things to them and deep down may want the children to fulfil their parent’s aspirations as a way for returning the favour.
- Result reflects my worth, syndrome
Often parents make children associate their worth based on the outcomes of results of the efforts put in achieving a task. Implying that are valued and respected by others as long as they give results par excellence.
Negative impact of such a parenting style:
- Increased stress/anxiety in Children
- Increased anger and frustration
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Extreme dependence on Parents
- Inability to take decisions
- Under developed coping skills
- Ineffective life skills
- Hampered emotional and psychological growth
- And in extreme cases, suicide
What needs to be done?
According to our expert Ms. Gagandeep Kaur, RCI certified child and clinical psychology at Unique Psychological Services
- Let each child blossom based on their potential and capacity
- Lets’ not over burden them by forcing them to engage in each and every possible curricular and co-curricular activity
- Go slow matching your pace with the child’s pace
- Focus more on fun-based learning than a learning based on pressure to compete and excel.
- Talk to children, sometimes they can teach us one of the biggest and most valuable lessons of both parenting and life
- Try to figure out what disturbs them the most and provide comfort and assistance and not just solutions.
- Spend quality time with your children, it is very important for their emotional growth.
- Give them enough space and allow them to decide for themselves as this would make them more self-reliant and confident in life, which is one of the most essential skill in life no matter what you do later
- Lay your trust, appreciate and reward children and encourage them to be their best and not THE BEST.