Dear Parents

Dear Parents,

There’s a fine line between influencing and forcing, but do parents notice this line?

Most parents want their children to follow in their footsteps if they’ve been successful. This is because they have the skills, experience, and connections in that area to help their children get an advantage. It’s far easier to help someone if you know what they’ll have to work through to get to where they are seeking.

Many parents, especially those who come from poverty or low-income households, only see their profession. They want to make sure their children don’t end up back in poverty. Evidence shows minority families, especially those one-step out of poverty are finding their children living in poverty as adults. When a parent works so hard, it’s tough. They want you to succeed and they only know how to help you do what they know!

Most parents who try to force their kids into their choices are doing so out of narcissism. They are so proud of themselves that they want to create smaller versions of themselves.
Students might feel trapped because their parents are financially supporting their next step in life when they cannot afford college, or they don’t want to take out a loan. This is when parents have the upper hand. However, it doesn’t hurt to engage in a civil and real conversation.

To parents:

There is nothing necessarily wrong with wanting your children to follow in your footsteps. It does, however, become a serious problem when you fail to take into account each individual child’s preferences and predilections and try to force them into it.
If you want your children to follow in your footsteps, be the type of person they can’t help but want to be. Parents should be cautious against imposing their own goals on their children or seeing their child’s accomplishments as a reflection on themselves. They must allow their child to discover who they are on their own.

This issue also expands beyond just education. Parents are very pushy when it comes to college level sports. Some students, such as Grace Derstine, feel too much pressure to succeed when it comes to having to commit to whatever college offers even when it isn’t their dream college. Parents tend to forget that we are just teens and we have enough pressure flowing through our heads on just the idea to succeed, they don’t realize what they’re adding to it.

“It’s difficult to have a say in what I want when they have put so much money and support into my many years of playing softball” said senior Grace Derstine at Coral Springs Charter

In conclusion, parents need to get out of the way and understand that what may have worked for them may not work the same for their children. It’s one thing to help influence your child that is confused and has no idea what they want to pursue, then to force and not let them explore any other options.