Academic excellence has always been a sign of pride and prestige in our society. However, it is an adult-driven class-division among children. It’s bad enough that their future holds a cut-throat world in which achievement is calculated by how much money they earn, on top of that, constant parental pressure on children to score high marks and display perfection in any subject makes their brain a boiling pot ready to explode.
Parents, of course, want their children to have a bright and prosperous future, and the knowledge of how competitive it is out there, makes them drive their wards to do well in every region. Yet rising parental emphasis on academic achievement for children has become an area of serious concern. In recent years, the number of suicides among children and youth has risen exponentially. While, unlike in the West, Indian children are spared from peer pressure, most of these suicides result from falling short of their parents ‘academic expectations.
Signs Of Parental Pressure on Children
Parental pressure is often misunderstood as care, though it is based on good intentions, and can have significant implications for children. A bit of extra attention may show disturbing signs of behavior:
1. Loss of Interest
A constant fear of failure short of parental expectations can be agonizing, leaving a lethargic and disinterested child. It is certainly a red flag if your child loses interest in an extracurricular activity that he/she has enjoyed previously. This may also cause physiological symptoms including, among others, stomach pain, headaches, diarrhea.
Kids under stress have a better risk of shutting everyone out. When a child avoids talking about school or refuses to share vital details such as mark sheets, test schedules, or grades at school, it may be because they are afraid to let their parents down. This apprehension will make kids succumb to risky behaviors such as cheating in exams.
3. Bad Temper
When a well-behaved child unexpectedly begins to fly off the handle at the slightest instigation, the time has come to pay attention to the stress levels. Stress triggers frustration, and it is true for adults as it is for children. When the child thinks his actions are not good enough for his parents, this may trigger a lot of tension leading to a bad temper.
In sleep, children also show their fears. Exam fever or inability to get good sleep may be indications of parental pressure.
Effects of Parental Pressure on Children
The signs your child may be under parental strain aren’t as conspicuous as signs of adult stress. Unlike adults, children aren’t articulate about these symptoms mainly because they are programmed to believe that the stress is triggered by their failure. Children’s long-term subjugation to parental pressure will drive them beyond recovery.
Here are a few harmful effects on children from parental pressure:
1. Low self-esteem
For the most part, children look to their parents for affirmation on everything they do. If they deal with relentless disapproval from the other hand, it will most likely generate a negative self-image. This negative experience can turn into self-hate and hinder the development of children into well-adjusted adults.
2. Permanent injuries risks
Children, who are made to bear the burden of excessive parental pressure while dealing with the physically and mentally taxing requirements of professional sports, are more likely to push themselves over the threshold. They tend to ignore the pain and hurt, causing permanent injuries.
3. Defensive attitude
Constant parental pressure may make children feel defensive. Fear of failure will stop them from embarking on new projects or completing on-going ones. This can create toxic anger in them which can lead to unhappy adulthood.
4. Prone to mental disorder
Kids who go unnoticed when having to cope with an internal tussle between desires and abilities are more likely to succumb to mental illness. Students often fall into depression or other mental-related disorders because of their parents ‘relentless setting of targets, not understanding how to cope with it.
Children often resort to self-harming behaviors to deal with parental pressure, particularly during their teenage years. Studies indicate that children contemplate suicide as a response to parental manipulation due to low scores in exams. Especially in India, deaths caused by suicide are unnaturally frequent among students. To understand this reality, no one needs to look beyond the news reports obtained right after the examination results.
Why do parents put their children under pressure?
To most parents, the dismal state of our educational system and the growing number of applicants each year is a stress point. Educational institutes are often on the lookout for the students ‘best and brightest to retain their rankings, which inevitably percolates in the form of parental pressure on children. Protecting your child from a lifetime of regrets and crushing rejections is a parent’s prerogative but often they lift the stakes too high for kids to cope with. Social status is a significant cause of parental pressure.
Caring more about how the world perceives them, will make parents unaware of their children’s true talents. Parents often generalize the concept of achievement and quality based on how others do it. Not only in academics but also in children, standards are often flouted in areas of interest such as the arts, music, theatre, especially in sports. Sadly, parental pressure is common in sports which ultimately makes kids give up on their talents. Competitive test, institutional elitism, and a lucrative job race created an unhealthful atmosphere in which children get stunted rather than thrived.
As a parent, providing a safe space for your child to grow and excel in life is vital to you. It is up to you to discover the qualities of your child and to instruct him/her on how to develop their talents. Every child does not need to achieve academic excellence. Success is unavoidable if you support your child in whatever area they want to pursue their dreams, without instilling in them a fear of failure.
Also Read: Effects Of Domestic Violence On Children