In our whole life, starting from adulthood, we have come across various external factors that shape our life experiences. Factors such as upbringing, peers, friends, teachers, media, socioeconomic factors, and cultural values. All these factors impact our lives greatly, however out of all of them, family expectations can be the biggest influence and both challenges of your life.
Many people struggle with anxiety and stress about living up to their family’s expectations. It is quite obvious and natural to care about family and what they think of us, we want their approval and affection to recognize ourselves. But it can be difficult to balance parental expectations with our desires, and aspirations. Parents’ expectations can make us feel burdened, and the overwhelming feeling can be suffocation if it is not resolved.
In the following article, we would discuss how parents’ expectations can affect our mental health and how to deal with them healthily.
1) The Burden of Tradition:
In many cultures, their traditions exist deeply rooted in a family. The norms that define each person in a family have a distinct responsibility that they fulfill. There are demands about career, marriage, family values, etc that define their family tradition. Hence children are raised in families with certain expectations due to which they feel the constant pressure to fulfill every role from an early age. In case one is unable to do something it could develop feelings of worthlessness and stress.
2) Academic and Career Aspirations:
We live in a society where has been an increase in cutthroat competition to succeed in life, no matter what. Parents are in hopes of giving their children the best opportunities to be successful in life. Whether in terms of education, lifestyle, or care parents want their children to excel in everything and gain success in the world.While a parent’s motive can be encouraging but excess pressure can be harmful to a person. The unrealistic demands, peer pressure, and the rush to achieve success in a short time can be too stressful for the individual to the point a person might end up overworking. The increasing demands can impact mental health very significantly, leading to stress, anxiety, burnout, etc.
3) Marriage and Family Planning:
It is so common in our society that families are so eager to get their children married and have them get settled in life as soon as possible. The majority of people feel this constant desire of their parents and other family members to find a suitable life partner. This can further pressurize a person especially when one is not ready for commitment or not just ready to hold responsibly for making a new family. Balancing personal life and desires alongside managing family expectations could challenging for a person and cause stress in areas of life.
4) Financial and Social Status:
Everyone in this world has come from different family backgrounds and has different needs and financial status. A person feels the constant pressure to provide for his family and improve their condition. The need to excel in education to secure the most suitable to sustain you and your family constantly drives your mind to work hard not take a rest. Setbacks and failure could further put us under strain where it lots difficult to balance ourselves. The guilt, regret, and shame of setbacks can dive the youth further into mental health problems.
5) Strained Relationships:
As one grows in life family expectation also grows. In the middle of all these expectations, the family dynamics can be disturbed. Parents intentionally or unintentionally urge to praise the children who are more bright, and successful in life might disappoint the other children who are less accomplished. These conflicting thoughts might create hostility in the family environment which further causes a person to disconnect from one another.
How to cope with stress caused by expectations of family:
1. Open communication:
Try to communicate with your family members. Open communication is necessary where you can express your thoughts, feelings, and challenges you’re facing in life. It can help na them to understand each other’s perspective well. Sometimes communicating one true feeling can lead to better mutual understanding between people.
Take some time to reflect on yourself. Spend some moments to understand your needs, interest, and goals clearly. Understand what truly matters and what is causing the distress. Self-awareness about one aspirations and problems also helps you to make clear decisions.
3. Seek Support Outside the Family:
Seeks support from others outside your family. Talk to friends and close ones to share your stress and take their point of view. Seeking help from a counselor and therapist can help you receive guidance.
Although the family intends to nurture your growth still these factors might push us to the edge. It is crucial to open your mindset to your problems and always reflect upon your accomplishments. To minimize the stress one should have open communication with family so that understanding is developed between needs and expectations.