Parents set the bar about 50 ft too high

Emma Charles, Reporter

The average teenager has the same level of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s, according to the American Psychological Association. I’m sure no high school student would attempt to refute this. With AP classes commencing as the new year begins, fall sports seasons climaxing, and college application deadlines approaching, all 14-18-year-old students are feeling the burdens of immense pressure.

Autumn is a span of time where, more than ever, high schoolers need support. However, in most cases, it seems the kids facing these obstacles are the ones facing added stress from expectations and overbearingness of parents.

“I think the standards set for me are a little too high because my standards are to keep a 4.0 GPA, and that is very difficult to do when I am taking high level classes, playing multiple sports, and participating in a few clubs,” Grafton Griffey (’19) said. “If I don’t get straight A’s, my phone is taken, and I’m grounded.”

Children today are forced to be too independent. I’m not saying we should still be babied in high school. Mom, I can pack my own lunch and discuss grades with my teachers by myself. But, I know I’m not alone when I say, I feel that sometimes the bar is set too high for me when it comes to success in every activity I’m involved in. Sometimes we all need a little help.

“[My mom] made me take really hard classes and wouldn’t allow me to get a tutor when I asked for one because she thought I needed to learn how to be responsible and solve my own problems,” Sarah Dickerson (’20) said.

Obviously, students should be encouraged to perform to their maximum ability in all things they do. However, many parents take it to the extreme with the notion that students can keep a 4.0, be a star athlete, partake in clubs, and balance a social life with friends. How are you supposed to excel in every aspect of life while maintaining happiness? The “dream-child” is supernatural, a myth.

“I always try to please my parents because they give me so much, and I feel like all I can do in return is play sports for them and try my hardest in all things,” Rachel Saunders (’19) said. “I feel like I wouldn’t please them, and they wouldn’t be as happy with me if I just went home after school and was just a normal person who wasn’t forced to play sports.”

Should accomplishments have such a detrimental impact on the relationship between parents and child? Parents put pressure on children because they believe in them and want the best future for them. But sometimes tough-love and authoritarian parenting is too much to bear.

“My mom was valedictorian and got into the best university in Iran; same with my dad. So, they constantly compare, and if I do badly on a test, or in a class they blame me and say that they easily could’ve done much better,” Anahita Eshaghi (’20) said.

There was a period of time last year, where every day for two weeks, I worked for six hours after school and went home forced to only sleep two or three hours as I crammed all night trying to finish final projects and study for APs at the end of the year. It’s hard to balance everything. If I didn’t have my friends and weekend activities where I got some me-time, I’m not sure how I would have handled it.

“No sleepovers. No parties. No boyfriend until college, so I just hide Nick,” Eshaghi said. “I used to be able to have Snapchat and Instagram, until my mom took my phone and now I’m only allowed if she can pick and choose any time to go on it. So, I just hide it. And if I sense she is going to take my phone, I just delete it.”

Parents, let your kids be kids. Students are under enough pressure as it is, training for a state title, spending countless hours rehearsing for theatre, and fighting for a 4.0. The pressures of high school can consume a person.

And the reality is, if a parent is too strict, their child is going to do what they want whether they’re honest about it or sneaking around. Might as well lighten up and have an open, honest, positive relationship, or else, pretty soon, we’re all going to be mental patients.