Parental pressure affects students at home, school and on the playing field

Emma Barofsky

The John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth surveyed 800 families with students who were at or above the 97th percentile on a grade-level achievement test.  In the survey, 85.5 percent of parents said they are involved in their child’s school, with 39 percent of students agreeing that they feel “a lot of pressure from their parents to always be an exceptional student.”  

Health and forensics teacher Leah Morgan constantly surrounds herself with adolescents. As a teacher and a mother, she has an innate understanding of parents who nag their children to be successful.

“I definitely have had children that I know who are affected by parental pressure.  They do seem to take it very internally which makes them perfectionists and overachievers,” Morgan said.

At CHS, many students feel pressured to get certain grades.  Parents are often unsatisfied with how their children do in school.  

Junior Tali Petto of Marlboro said that her parents pressure her to do well in school and on her SATs.  Although this can potentially by helpful, she doesn’t feel that way.

“This stresses me out a lot,” Petto said.  “It makes me feel bad about myself when I don’t get good grades.”

Meanwhile, other students do not face any academic pressures from parents at all, like freshman Zoe Conner-Bennett of Ocean.  Despite this, Conner-Bennett can still speculate what this would be like.

“I would probably be very nervous that I wouldn’t meet their standards,” Conner-Bennett said.  “Not only would I disappoint myself, but I would also disappoint them.”

Senior Brandon Kalika of Middletown says that his parents push him more athletically as opposed to academically.

“I play soccer and my dad really wants me to play in college but I don’t really want to play in college,” Kalika said.  

Despite what his father thinks, Kalika decided to figure it out all by himself.

“This doesn’t really stress me out because I’m just going to do my own thing anyway,” he continued.

Morgan feels that there is a fine line between pushing a child to succeed and putting too much pressure on them to perform.  

“I want my children to do the best they possibly can,” Morgan said.  “But, I don’t want to put so much pressure that they feel like they will disappoint me if they don’t do well.”