When I was younger, I was always known as Mr. Fairchild's daughter or Janine's daughter. Both of my parents were (and still are) in very public-centered occupations: an elementary principal and an on-air DJ for a Christian radio station.
It was really great growing up and seeing the behind-the-scenes work at a public school and a radio station. I thought I was the coolest kid since I got to go to the principal's office for fun and not just when I was in trouble - I got to sit in the on-air studio while my mom talked on the radio. What a great life, right? Well, there are definitely perks, but there are also plenty of downfalls to being the kid of a parent who's constantly in the public eye.
Anyone who has a parent who's in a public-centric role (pastor, principal, mayor, judge, store owner, etc.) will probably better understand this kind of feeling. I always joked with the pastor's kids at my church that we were all "PKs" — pastor's kids and principal's kids. We all knew how difficult it was to be constantly watched and probably judged by the people who knew and respected our parents.
The pressure to be a "good kid" was, and sometimes still is, one of my greatest struggles.
I always thought everything I did reflected my family, and if my actions had poor connotations, it looked like my parents weren't raising me well enough. Deep down I knew this wasn't the case - my actions only reflected me and not my parents. Surface-level me convinced myself that if I looked like a failure, my parents would look like a failure and they would get in trouble at work or worse. On and on goes the cycle.
No one is intentionally putting pressure on me - it's all internal. Yet it's still very real. This is something that needs to be fixed, and I know it. Yet it's still so difficult to realize most I'm the one making it harder on myself and not my parent's jobs. Their jobs can't do anything to me since they're not human!
I'm the only one who's in charge of my emotions.
I decide how much pressure there is to be a perfect person or a people pleaser. Even if you're not the kid of someone in a public-centered role, if you're a perfectionist and/or a people pleaser, please hear me out! You are worth so much more than your tendencies and the pressures you put on yourself. Determine your worth by realizing your full potential. Do what makes you, you.
I've definitely made mistakes and plenty of them. None of them have had such a terrible effect on either of my parent's careers. I'm telling this to myself too when I say, it's okay to make mistakes - you don't have to be perfect all the time.
All of you PKs out there, I know how you feel. Trust me, you'll get through this difficult stage and move on to discover that you are so much more than your parent's career.
P.S. I love my parents so much and would never change their careers or the way I grew up. This article is simply written to bring awareness and understanding to those who know what it's like to be a PK.