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My parents have unrealistic expectations of me. They put so much pressure on me to do well in school that it's almost impossible for me to succeed and I am sure to disappoint them. Its a lot of stress for me.

26 Answers
Last Updated: 02/09/2021 at 5:36pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
April 17th, 2015 5:48pm
You're only living with your parents for awhile - it's temporary, but the expectations they set for you don't define you- you don't have to live up to their expectations. The only thing you need to live up to is yourself and understand that you set your own goals and your parents don't set them for you.
August 4th, 2015 6:00pm
I've been through that too so I know what you mean! *hugs* And, it is very stressful. I would ask, have you talked with your parents--had a flat out blunt discussion with them and told them how scared you are to disappoint them? I know that sometimes we don't realize the impact our words have on others....
January 31st, 2017 10:51pm
I'm not someone with professional advice on this, but I was in that situation before, I explained to my parents that their expectations were too high for me, and even though I try my best, I never seem to be able to meet them. I told how much stress it was causing me, and how it affected me at school. Once they understood, they stopped putting pressure on me. They stopped yelling at me for not getting an A on every test, and instead helped me figure out what I did wrong. Your parents aren't trying to stress you out or put pressure on you, they're just doing what they think is best. If you explain to them that what they expect from you is too much, and it really stresses you out, they will stop, and try to help you out to their best abilities.
July 25th, 2017 4:10pm
I understand what you are going through. I had and still have trouble living up to my families expectations. And it wasn't just in school. I was stressed and worried that they might find out that I am not actually smart and all that negative stuff. I wanted to be like other people that get A's all the time and they are top of their class. But then after thinking about it, I don't need to do that. I am the way I am. Just because I would have trouble with science doesn't mean I couldn't do English. It is hard to live up to parents expectations. Just remember that you should live up to your on expectations because you are the one doing the work.
November 7th, 2015 1:14pm
I can relate to that 100% Being brought up in a family that considers only full marks in any subject as "good", it was maddening to me because I simply couldn't reach that impossible goal. Plus, my sibling is the perfect guy - top grades in almost all subjects and I felt that it was an extra subtle pressure on me to work harder. Needless to say, I became a workaholic and my health suffered pretty badly during that year when I took that decision to work harder. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't wasted that year on overworking because I consider it a year of my life snatched away from me... You may be wondering why most of my story is in the past tense - It's because I've now acknowledged that my body can only cope with so much work and I tend to perform exceptionally in subjects that I love; not subjects that I detest. What helped me get this message clear to my family was talking up-front to them about my limits and how I appreciate their concern for my education but I simple value my health and life more. TL;DR : Focus on what you love learning and try talking about your limits to your parents.
February 9th, 2016 6:27am
The reality is, your parents may never stop pressuring you to do better or be better. I think you need to know what you can do and learn to be ok with that despite what they think. I know that's way easier said than done, but remember that this is your life and you have to decide what's right for you. And what's right for you may not nessessarily be what they think is right for you. And that's ok. That's part of growing up and developing your own identity
July 5th, 2016 7:51am
You sound pretty overwhelmed. School, itself, is pretty hard but when you add the stress of your parents, it can seem frustrating. It can also be scary thinking about how your parents would react if you did poorly. Have you considered talking to them about how their expectations are causing you harm?
June 1st, 2015 8:15pm
Just do the best you can, even though it is stressful try to find a way to relax. Tell your parents that you try your best and that their expectations are unrealistic and that they should appreciate that you do your best.
June 30th, 2015 11:07pm
School is good, but learning is more important. Be honest with yourself and your parents if you can't handle your current education and see if there's some other form of education which both you and your parents can handle. If that isn't an option, keep in mind that you're in school for you. And for no-one else. And also prepare to be responsable for the consequences that come with it.
November 25th, 2015 12:54am
It's hard when you feel like you have to live up to your parents' standards--these are the people raising you, supporting you, and living with you! You mentioned that your parents' expectations are "unrealistic" so it definitely does sound like you're constantly under a lot of pressure and stress. Try your best to focus on yourself, and what YOU want apart from your parents. Being under tremendous stress makes it hard to feel physically well. In the end, what makes you happy is how you perceive yourself, don't let anyone else define you! :) As long as you try your best in school, that's all anyone can ever ask of you--no one's perfect.
May 17th, 2016 9:34pm
Hi. Can I just start off by saying that I totally understand, its the same with my mom, me and math. I know that sometimes, talking to them doesn't help, and only causes an argument. But I wanna tell you to believe in yourself, because you gotta make no one proud but you. I know that whatever you try, these things they say will, unfortunately, go to your heart, but instead just be proud of yourself and know that on the other side of the screen, I- a thirteen year old girl- am happy with whatever you achieve. I am happy of what you achieve and I believe that you're doing the best you can. Let me know how you get on :)
June 14th, 2016 11:57pm
The first thing to do is to think of yourself and put yourself before them. After all, you can only do better when you are ready, and this can be achieved when you think of yourself.
October 31st, 2016 1:16am
Society likes to make it seem like there a lot of "rules," and many people unfortunately buy into that. We cannot change what other people think, say, or do, but we can be aware of ourselves, and set our own rules. Society's rules are ultimately made up and it's up to us to decide what is acceptable for us, what standard we should hold ourselves to, what we want to accomplish and how and when and why. It's your life. Eventually circumstances may come in which you will no longer be subjected to that kind of unsupportive rhetoric and will be able to choose the environment you put yourself in. Until then, if communicating honestly, openly, and calmly with your parents about these anxieties is not helpful, all you can do is persevere and assure yourself you are doing all you can. You can only be the best you that you are, and that is a wonderful you indeed!
April 24th, 2018 8:32pm
I imagine I would be really stressed out, too, if I felt that level of pressure! Feeling heavy pressure to perform well can make it really difficult to do well for anyone. When I feel the most intense pressure, what works well for me is to spend 2-5 minutes deep breathing and paying attention to what I'm feeling in all the separate parts of my body (my feet, then my legs, then my torso, hands, feet, shoulders, neck, and head) somewhat slowly, concentrating on each area a bit at a time, while I breath in and out fully and somewhat slowly. After that, I try to focus on just the task or step that's in front of me, and try to ignore the bigger picture for a bit. After I complete each task, I try to mentally give myself a pat on the back for getting something done and off my to-do list. These are little things, but they have been big helps to me when I'm feeling really lost in the stress. I hope that gives you an idea of something that might help you feel less pressured and stressed. Hang in there, it sure doesn't sound easy!
September 15th, 2015 12:45am
i exactly have that pressure! since my family members are successful themselves, they expect so much from me. But do not worry too much, remember that you have the upper hand, you control yourself. If you have the will and want to do something, do not let anything come your way and success shall come to you. You have the power in this case.
December 22nd, 2015 8:14am
Parents tend to put a lot of expectations on their kids some unrealistic and some not measurable. However most parents set expectations for their kids because they want there kids to become better people and do better things then they did. Their legacy is shown by their child's success. Its definitely not fair but it happens. If the expectations are stressful or making you feel like a your gonna be a disappointment talk to your parents about it. Sit down with them and explain to them why you think the expectations are to high. Maybe your parents will agree with you or maybe you will realize that you had some self doubt that was holding you back from the success of the expectations that were set.
December 26th, 2015 1:12pm
You are not alone, all parents do that, but all I can say is parents do that to their kids to lead them to the right path so that they can be successful and have a bright future, so try to talk to your parents and begin by saying," mom, dad I appreciate that you want me to be successful in my life but your expectations of me are stressing me out and sometimes your expectations of me are near the impossible so I ask you kindly to have expectations that are possible and that are not stressing me out that much and I will work hard enough to succeed" and they will understand, they at your parents after all :)
February 8th, 2016 12:52am
Tell them, tell them to stop putting so much pressure on you because its making you even more stressful, they'll feel guilty and stop but remember, they are only trying to look out for you.
April 11th, 2016 6:09am
It is good if you can sit your parents down and talk to them about how u feel in this situation. Tell them that their expectations that they have set for you is stressing you out and that it is set to make you fail. Also try telling them what is a better option and what you would like for them to do to be supportive.
October 17th, 2016 9:49pm
Just do the best that you can and they will be proud of you. Your main focus in school should be you. It isn't perfectly okay to feel stressed, balance this out by rewarding yourself when you perform well.
January 3rd, 2017 6:09pm
Show them you are trying your best by talking to them about your difficulties and how they could help you more to be a success. Explain your success and how hard you have worked.
July 11th, 2017 7:22pm
Talk to them and if they don't listen then just do your best a forget the rest. Try to do calm activity
February 20th, 2018 6:04am
Nothing is impossible 😊 when backed into a corner think and function for yourself. In the end when everything is said and done you’ll only have yourself and those who to choose to be around. Do what benefits you and no one else because there is no such thing as living forever. You are your parents child they only want what’s best for you and only you.
April 26th, 2018 1:07am
You have to eventually follow the path which suits you. The main thing is that you will never please everyone, only yourself.
June 25th, 2018 5:30pm
I understand that parents want you to do well in school because the competition is tough and everyone wants to score goods marks to get into a good college. I am sure your parents want the best of you. I know it's stressful not meeting their expectations but don't let the pressure get the best of you. Work hard in school and show your parents that at least you tried your best! :)
February 9th, 2021 5:36pm
It's okay to feel nervous when encountering another's expectations for you. Do not feel angry/upset with yourself for feeling irritated by their expectations. An important thing to consider here, is what do you want? Do you want to do well in school? If so, do you feel like their expectations are amping up your own? Regardless, do your best and calm yourself, by remembering to accept yourself no matter your outcome. Seek out tutoring help or whatever you need, to help you do your best. Remember, being confused about a school topic does not mean you are unintelligent or foolish... even Einstein struggled with mathematics. Make room for human error and stay calm. 💖