Demanding Role of Parents in Higher Education – Why Should Parents Not Burden Children With Their Expectations & Dreams? | Aparna Sharma | Consulting Editor | The People Management

DreamsHave you ever wondered why Indian parents set sky-high expectations for their children?

The kind of expectations not only include academic excellence but also extend to every aspect of their children’s lives.

The answer lies in a deep-rooted cultural and societal belief that success is achieved through hard work, perseverance, and unwavering determination. Coupled with personal experiences and sacrifices, Indian parents strive to provide their children with every advantage possible, convinced that their offspring’s future prosperity and happiness hinge on meeting these expectations.

Cultural Factors

Within Asian cultures, there are deeply ingrained values that greatly influence the aspirations of parents. Let’s explore these key cultural elements.

1. Filial Piety
One such cultural value is filial piety, which places immense importance on respect and obedience towards elders.
In Asian cultures, it is believed that children have a moral duty to honour, respect and care for their parents. This ingrained belief often translates into high expectations from parents, as they want their children to achieve success and bring honour to the family.

2. Collectivism
The community and family hold a central position in Asian societies, and decisions are often made with their welfare in mind. This collectivist mindset extends to parenting, as parents strive to raise children who will contribute positively to the family and community. Consequently, the high expectations placed upon children are often demanding, aiming for achievements that benefit not only the individual but also the collective.

The Pressure Cooker Syndrome: Unpacking Societal and Familial Pressures

1. Competitive Societies
Asian civilizations are renowned for their intense competition, where success is frequently determined by academic standing and future employment opportunities.

Because of the high priority, these societies typically place on education and career progress, they can foster an atmosphere in which fierce rivalry is the norm.

In this environment, parents feel driven to give their kids every opportunity they can to succeed and ensure a wealthy future.

2. Upward Mobility
For many Indian families, achieving upward mobility has become essential in today’s fiercely competitive and globally integrated world. Parents have a strong desire for their kids to achieve more than they did and excel towards a better life. The pressure is already increasing due to the weight of this goal and frequent comparison to others.

3. Societal Recognition
Within Asian cultures, societal recognition and high expectations play a significant role. Parents often face immense pressure to ensure that their children gain recognition and validation from others in their community. This pressure stems from a belief that a child’s success reflects directly on the parents’ competency as caregivers.
As a result, parents set higher expectations for their children, driven by the desire for societal recognition and acceptance.

4. Educational Value
Education is highly esteemed in Asian cultures, and academic success is often seen as a direct route to a promising future.

Indian parents recognize the correlation between educational achievements and future opportunities, resulting in a steadfast focus on academic excellence. This emphasis on education intensifies the expectations placed on children, as parents strive to provide them with the best educational resources and support.

5. Parental Aspirations
Understanding the hopes and desires that lead Indian parents to set such high standards for their children is crucial. Parents have lofty expectations for their kids’ success, envisioning a time when they would attain success and prosper.

Parents’ opinions are shaped by the sacrifices and personal experiences that lay beneath these objectives. Many parents have surmounted barriers and endured their own struggles to improve the lives of their children. They make these sacrifices because of their firm belief in the value of learning and the pursuit of perfection.

These parents are aware of the enormous significance that education and perseverance can have. They try to inculcate in their kids the passion, resolve, and work ethic required to flourish in an increasingly competitive society by having high expectations for them. These aspirations, in their eyes, are a way of giving their kids the abilities and chances they need to live happy and prosperous lives.

The Price of Great Expectations: Unpacking the Psychological Impact
Let’s face the harsh reality and explore the profound mental health struggles that result from the weight of constant excellence. Parents, driven by high expectations, particularly in academics, can unknowingly take a toll on their children’s mental well-being.

The pressure becomes unbearable, leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and even burnout. These struggles have the potential to cast a long shadow on their overall happiness and health.

1. Fear of Failure
Children raised with sky-high expectations often develop a deep-rooted fear of failure.
They face immense pressure to succeed, meet their parents’ almost unattainable standards, and live up to the demanding expectations set by society. This fear becomes paralyzing, hindering their ability to take risks and pursue their true passions. They appear to be caught in a vicious circle of self-doubt that keeps them from realizing their full potential.

2. Perfectionism
The pursuit of perfection becomes a way of life for many young adults, driven by these lofty expectations. They feel an overwhelming need to achieve flawlessness in every aspect of their existence. This perpetual pursuit of flawlessness can trigger feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Moreover, it fosters self-criticism not just towards themselves, but also towards others, leading to self-sabotage and strained relationships.

3. Impact on Self-Esteem
The unrelenting pressure to succeed can profoundly impact a child’s self-esteem. They begin to believe that their worth is solely determined by their academic or other achievements. This narrow focus erodes their confidence, leaving them feeling unworthy and grappling with their own identity.

It’s like they’re caught in an incessant battle to prove their value, forgetting their inherent worth beyond their accomplishments.

Balancing Tradition and Modernity: Navigating High Expectations in a Changing World

1. Preserving Cultural Values
Indian parents deeply value their cultural heritage and traditions. They take great delight in teaching their children these principles, such as the value of hard work, discipline, and respect. They understand the necessity of modernization while clinging to their cultural heritage, nevertheless.

2. Embracing Change
Parents understand that the world is constantly evolving. They are aware that success goes beyond academic achievements and requires a well-rounded approach.

Along with their academic endeavours, they place a strong emphasis on their children’s emotional health, personal development, and pursuit of passions. In order to prepare their children for success in a rapidly changing society, they make an effort to find a balance between tradition and modernity.

3. Encouraging Balance
Parents have come to realize that solely focusing on academic success can lead to undue pressure and stress. They advocate for balance in their children’s lives, understanding that a fulfilled and successful life encompasses various aspects.

Along with academic success, parents promote the growth of interpersonal abilities, creativity, and self-care. They want to develop tolerance and a sense of well-being in their kids by encouraging a balanced approach.

4. Open Communication
Effective communication plays a vital role in managing high expectations within families.

Children are being actively encouraged to communicate their worries, fears, and goals by parents through open and honest dialogues. By doing this, parents are better able to comprehend the special talents, aspirations, and difficulties of each of their kids. This allows for a collaborative approach to setting expectations that align with their children’s individual strengths and goals.

5. Celebrating Individuality
Parents are increasingly trying to embrace and celebrate their children’s individuality. Instead of expecting conformity, they appreciate and support their children’s unique strengths, talents, and passions. They understand that each child is on their own path, and they encourage them to explore and express their individuality. By providing tailored support and encouragement, these parents create an environment that enables their children to discover and achieve personal fulfilment.

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