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MeghanJobe
MeghanJobe asks:
Q:

How can I handle the stress my parents put on me?

Every single day I come home from school, my parents always critisize my schoolwork. I failed english by two marks on my last report card, and they flip. They always tell me I have to be smarter, prettier, and skinnier. Or else I won't even be considered into a college or university. Or get a loving husband. I have the perfect boyfriend. They're idiots. They never understand my life. They're always trying to control it! I don't show them my test marks, for fear I'll get grounded and not beable to talk to my friends or my boyfriend.. I always ask if I'm meeting thier standards. They always say No. I can do better. I'm always doing as best I can! I'm always being compared to my two older sisters.. One of which just got Co-Presidient of her science scocity. How am I suppose to live up to that? Win a nobel prize or something? The pressure is outstanding. Please, is there anyone out there who can give me advice on this? Greatly appreciated.

-Meghan, Struggling life.
In Topics: Anxiety, Children and stress
> 60 days ago

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Expert

AnnieFox
Nov 12, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Meghan,

Your parents aren't "idiots" (for proof you can look at how intelligent you and your sisters are. Intelligence is heredity so you must have gotten it from somewhere.) Seriously, though, i get why you're angry and resentful and frustrated. I also get that it's not easy trying to live up to everyone else's expectations and to feel good about yourself at the same time. In fact, it's pretty much IMPOSSIBLE.

With all due respect to your parents (and to all parents) they aren't helping by talking to you this way. You don't need me to tell you that. You already know that when they tell you that you aren't good enough the way you are that it stresses you out even more.

I don't know if there is anything I can say to get them to calm down, relax and be more positive in the way they speak to you. I can't change them and neither can you. They can only change themselves if and when they realize that they aren't helping you with this kind of talk. They're only bringing But you know what? They didn't write in asking for help... you did! So here's some help for the only thing that you actually CAn change... and that's your response to the stuff that's happening around you.

It's called Re-Centering Breathing. Slow deep breaths whenever you start to feel yourself "losing it" with your parents or with a frustration situation. You inhale SLOWLY and evenly through your nose.... Then relax your jaw and EXHALE SLOWLY and evenly through your mouth.
Inhale... (SLOWLY and EVENLY) You don't want to hyperventilate! LOL
Exhale... (SLOWLY and EVENLY)

Do it 5-10 times. It will totally calm you down. Then after you're feeling calmer, stop and THINK "Even though my parents tell me I'm not _____ enough, I know I'm a good person who is loving and lovable." 'Even though my parents aren't always respectful to me, I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to do." Even though my parents don't often encourage me, I can encourage myself."

Do this breathing exercise whenever you need it... whenever you think about it. It's good for you.

You'll be fine. You already are.

In friendship,
Annie
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