Are you finding as a parent, the pressures on our children are too much? Pressure to do well at school, pressure to fit in and be accepted by their peers, pressures they put on themselves and not to mention the pressures we as parents put on them too.
The childhood years for many children today compared to the childhood years of generations gone past has tended to become a lot more serious. Generally, kids don’t have the freedom and the free time just to be kids and have loads of fun. Yes, our world is a different place. Parents do not feel comfortable letting their children play in the neighbourhood and technology has tended to see more children staying indoors but having fun is still important. Play-time has been shortened as there is always something else to do. Have we lost our sense of balance? When many children are burning out before they have even finished high school, it’s a serious issue. Has the pressure become too much?
Competition is a part of life but has it become unhealthy in any way? Are we as parents fearing that if we let our children “be” that they won’t be good enough? Many children are being coached to be the best in a given discipline or multiple disciplines from a young age. It may be something that happened to their parents, it may be a cultural thing or it may be parents just wanting their kids to be the best that they can be no matter what. Is it really necessary though or do parents feel under pressure because coaching or extra tutoring seems to have become more mainstream? I am not referring to children who genuinely need a little bit more assistance and are hence getting the help they need.
Kids are perceptive. They know when their parents are happy with their efforts and they know when their parents are not. Children want their parents to be proud of them and their achievements. If children are always feeling pressured to do and be better, they start to feel inadequate. If they feel this way long-term, they grow up feeling they were never good enough. They were never really accepted for who they were. They failed to live up to their parents’ expectations of them despite trying really hard. They may even perceive themselves to be a disappointment because that’s how their parents saw them. Did you experience any of these feelings as a child?
We all want the best for our children. Is what we consider the best, actually the best? We tend to forget every child is different. Every child is born with a unique set of gifts to be explored and developed throughout their lives. Not every child is academic. Does that make them any less of a person than a child who is academic? Definitely not but our system only seems to recognise the achievers whether it’s academic, athletic or an achiever in some other field. This reinforces the importance of really accepting and loving our children for the people they are. We all like to think we love our children unconditionally but if this was the case we wouldn’t be trying to make them be anyone other than who they are. Unconditional love is pure love. Love without limitation.
Pressure in itself is not a bad thing. We all experience pressure and stress at different times throughout our lives and our children are no different. Parental pressure on top of everything else though, can be overwhelming. Children do not have the life experience to cope with pressure or the ability to put it into perspective. That’s something that comes with age, but even then, pressure and stress can be an enormous struggle with disastrous effects.
As parents it’s our job to encourage and guide our children as best as we can. We can’t however run their lives for them and we shouldn’t even try. We need to respect them as unique individuals, listen to them and love them like there’s no tomorrow because it is through them knowing that they have our unconditional love and support that they will grow up to be the best version of themselves. Our love anchors a confidence within them that cannot be underestimated. It is very empowering.
I would love to hear any comments you have.
Best wishes to you,