It goes without saying that parents will always want the best for their children. But as well intentioned as that is, it can sometimes cause extra unwanted pressure. Between working, studying, and figuring out life on your own, having to also juggle your parents' expectations of you - especially if what they want for you is in direct conflict with what you want - can be overwhelming.

So if you're feeling pressure from your family to perform and live up to whatever expectations they have for you, here are some tips to deal with it in a constructive and healthy way.

Understand where everyone is coming from

You and your parents/family will likely have different - and potentially conflicting - ideas and expectations regarding your future. That's no surprise nor is it a big deal - you are your own person after all. What's important here is how you can resolve this in a constructive and healthy way, as well as understand where your parents/family are coming from. They might just want you to succeed or to be happy, it could be that their idea of happiness and/or success is different to yours, or perhaps their concern is related to their own expectations of themselves being projected onto you.

It's important to properly communicate and talk to your parents/family about this pressure and what you want for yourself. Start this conversation with something direct (use 'I' statements to take responsibility of your own emotions) yet respectful, like "I get why you want me to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer/insert random career. but I don't think this is what I want to do or what I'm good at." Other tips for a constructive conversation include:

  • Pick a time when your parents/family are free and relaxed. Chatting to them when they're stressed is a recipe for arguments.

  • Explain your concerns about how you're worried you can't meet their expectations.

  • Tell them what your next step is - even if you're not entirely sure. Not everyone knows what they want to do but showing that you're thinking about the future will help reassure them that you're actively figuring things out.

  • Make sure to also listen to their point of view.

  • If the conversation is going nowhere, agree to disagree and take a break. Once things have cooled off a bit, return to this conversation with a new constructive approach.

Keep your own expectations in check

While it's tough to have other people pressuring you, it's equally important to manage your own expectations. It's good to have goals as it's something for you to aim towards, but if you put too much pressure on yourself, you'll end up feeling even more stressed. Remember to cut yourself some slack, there's no need to be so hard on yourself!

Chat to someone else if you need help

If the pressure is getting to be too much, ask for help from someone else, whether it's a close friend, mentor, teacher, therapist or someone from Sonder. Just know that sometimes you don't need to shoulder everything on your own and it's perfectly okay to get support from someone else.

Just remember that you're always good enough

Regardless of what you want to do and what your parents'/family's expectations are, it's very important to remember that whatever it is you do, doesn't define your value as a person. You are more than your career and you're perfectly fine just as you are.

Related reading:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app to connect to our team of qualified, caring health professionals.

Information sourced from: Reach Out #1 and Reach Out #2.

Image credit: Turning Red

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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