The connection between a parent and a child is integral to the development of a person and has been examined and studied throughout time. The main role of a parent is to ensure the safety and prosperity of their children, yet sometimes, their means of motivation can be less helpful and more discouraging.
When children are young and inexperienced, parental guidance and direction are much appreciated, but as children grow and become more independent, too much parental involvement can be detrimental to the mental health and ambitions of their children.
A study done by Arizona State University found that children whose parents constantly pressured them to succeed were twice as likely to experience anxiety and depression. Anne Robinson, a psychologist from the University of Windsor, also observed that as a student’s perception of their parent’s expectations increased, their interest in school decreased. This demonstrates that although well-meaning parents may think that they are motivating their children, it is actually leading to poor mental health and disinterest in academics.
One issue is that some parents will force children to get involved in activities such as sports, music, clubs, and classes, even though the child may view the task as undesirable or boring. Children are not game pieces that are waiting to be played. They are people with their own likes and dislikes and, for the most part, are capable of directing themselves.
When children are enabled to decide which obligations they undertake, they learn not only independence but also commitment and responsibility.
Another danger of parental pressure is that children begin to focus more on what they have not accomplished than what they have. This can extremely destructive and alters the way that the child views themself, and is most dangerous during a child’s time in late elementary school and middle school when their identity and self-perception is quickly developing.
As the child fails to accomplish all that their parents expect of them, they begin to base how they see themselves off of their failures rather than their achievements.
In addition to this, parent-child relationships can become based on all the wrong things. A parent’s purpose is to care for their child and ensure their well-being, but sometimes it may seem that a parent is more focused on the child’s success rather than the child’s happiness.
To an extent, pressure can be extremely beneficial and motivational to a child, and many young students flourish from lofty expectations. Some also discover new talents and interests when pushed into a new sport, instrument, or hobby. Without constant encouragement, many children would stop trying difficult things and feel unmotivated to be successful. Despite this, it is important to remember that a surplus of force and pressure can be damaging to a young student.
Parents should prioritize growth and learning rather than accomplishments and punishment.