Perfect Children, Children Under Pressure

Perfect kids, kids under pressure

“Why didn’t you get a 1?”, “At your age I was top of the class!”, “You have to work even harder and you won’t stop cramming until you can do it perfectly!” , it keeps ringing in the ears of children under pressure. Of course, their parents want only what is best for them, and it is not their intention to put pressure on their children until they suffer, but rather to encourage them to excel. But behind the expectations are often unresolved problems of adults from their own past, which have led to complexes that are now transferred to the offspring.

Children under pressure: when perfection is not good enough

After studying day and night for weeks, Peter finally got the 1 that his parents had asked him to do. When he came home with the result in hand, happy with what he had achieved, his parents looked at him and instead of congratulating him said, “We hope that from now on you will only bring home grades like this. ”

Girl with big glasses reads two books

Agnes is a girl whose parents forced her to take ballet lessons. From an early age she wore pointe shoes and a strict bun, attended all the lessons and even stayed longer to practice alone in front of the mirror. At home she kept listening to the tune she was supposed to dance to when she performed at the end of the year. On the eagerly awaited day, the whole family went to the theater to watch her. At the end of the performance, her parents went to her and warned her that next time she should rather dance better than her friends, even though the teacher had chosen her to lead.

Maria and Matthias’ children have to take piano and tennis lessons because these were their respective dreams when they were little. The kids don’t like the clefs and clubs, but it doesn’t matter. You have to because your parents want it. Ever since their wedding, the two have wanted their children to become the successful pianists and tennis players they couldn’t be.

These situations may sound fake, but they really do exist. Often times, parents are unaware that they are causing their children harm that will haunt them for a lifetime by asking them to be perfect.

Encourage children or put them under pressure?

Of course, most parents do not want their children harmed, but by ignorance, instead of helping, they create a future adult full of complexes and sadness, unable to accept their own mistakes. But where is the line between encouraging and putting under pressure?

The subtle difference is the attitude towards success and failure, in the interest of the child’s interests. To put it more understandable, Madeline Levine mentioned in her book The Price of Privilege ( The price of privilege , not in German available) that the connection from adults to their children, their participation, stimulated in their activities the next generation. If, on the other hand, personal desires are above the wellbeing of the children and the adults are continually challenged, but they are concentrated on other activities such as their work or household chores, it is called pressure.

Sad girl on a park bench

Is pressure something new?

It is not an achievement of the twentieth century that children have a lot of extracurricular tasks to do from an early age: at the beginning of the century, they were drawn into work early. Today’s schedule includes sports club training, music lessons, painting lessons, boy scout meetings, and dance events, and the list goes on and on. On the one hand, this is because parents work long hours and cannot look after the children, and on the other hand, they assume that this is how they “get the best out of them.”

It’s not bad to do sports or learn a foreign language. What can’t be entirely right is to press them to do something they don’t want, or to pressure them to be “bad kids” or “ungrateful” or “don’t deserve something” if they have are not perfect.

How to Avoid Wanting Perfect Children

Before we try to raise ideal children, we should first ask ourselves what we mean by perfection. Wouldn’t it be better if the kids were just happy with what they are doing? Of course there are limits. We’re not talking about just accepting that they stop going to school or dropping out altogether. Wanting great things for our children is even a parent’s job. But what price has to be paid to achieve that?

Boy on the floor, surrounded by colorful building blocks

Motivate your children to do their best regardless of the outcome. They take pride in making progress. Don’t use negative adjectives to label them if they don’t have top grades. Ask them how they feel when they go to school or what they would like to do when they get out of school.

In this way, you will raise adults who can overcome the obstacles in their life, who can live out their full potential without having to compare themselves to others, and who, most importantly, are happy with the future they choose for themselves.

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