A Note to All Parents, Stop Comparing Your Kids To Other People
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A Note to All Parents, Stop Comparing Your Kids To Other People

We put enough pressure on ourselves as it is, we don't need you making it worse.

A Note to All Parents, Stop Comparing Your Kids To Other People

Dear Parents,

I know you mean well and you want the best for your children, trust me when I say we understand and appreciate that, but you need to realize that the little things you say affect us tremendously.

Not a lot of parents realize what goes on in our lives behind the scenes when we are away at college. The tears shed over a bad grade, the frustration, and self- loathing we feel when we don't reach our goals, the disheartenment we feel when we believe we disappoint you. We put that on ourselves. We have enough to feel bad about and we really don't need you making it worse by belittling our emotions and comparing us to our friends or family that you "wish we would be like."

No, we can't all be doctors like Karen, straight-A students like Amy, or have our entire life all planned out like Molly. Everyone is different and you can bet your bottom dollar that we are already comparing ourselves to people and saying "I wish I could be like them," or "I wish I could have what they have." You, Parents, forget that WE are the ones growing up in this increasingly competitive society and WE are the ones being faced with challenges that YOU couldn't even dream of at our age.

I know you want to help and I know you want us to be the best, but every comment, every remark, every criticism is slowly chipping away at our self- confidence, piece by piece until you leave us with nothing.

Ever since I've entered college, all I've heard from my parents is that they want me to be "the best of the best" and that they have a lot of faith and expectations for my future. Although it is flattering and encouraging that my parents think so highly of me and are hopeful for my future, it also puts a lot of pressure on me... more-so than the pressure I already put on myself. I don't need anyone telling me to do well in school or to try hard, because I want that for me more than anyone, but it's exhausting and enervating when you genuinely try your best but it is never good enough.

For me, it has gotten to the point where I try to avoid the topic of the future or school or my personal goals at all costs because as soon as we open that door, there is no telling when I will be able to close it again. It makes me sad that I am unable to go to anyone besides my friends when I just want to talk or brainstorm ideas that I have about my future. It is sad that I can't go to my parents when I am struggling or discouraged because all I am going to hear is, "Well, why didn't you do this," "You should have studied more," "You spend too much time socializing and you don't care about your work," "You need to find a balance between social time and school time," "What are your plans for the future anyway?" "What are you going to do?"

Many parents seem to have this idea that we are just lazy, don't care, or don't try hard enough. This type of thinking is only going to lead us to maintain as much distance and detachment from you as possible. Why be around and be trusting of you when all we get in return is condemnation and criticism?

All I ask is that you spend less time worrying about what other people are doing compared to what your child is doing, and maybe, you know, just pay attention to your child.

This is a two-way street and if you don't like it if we say, "Why can't you be more like ___ 's parents, they are cool and fun," then stop telling us that we "should be more like _____'s kid because they are a doctor."


The child that "isn't trying hard enough."

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