Parental Over-involvement in the Education of Students


Leyah Eagar

Many parents have become heavily involved in their child’s education.

Nazanin Ghiassi, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the website’s or its affiliates’ opinions and beliefs.*

Have you ever felt that your parents were putting too much pressure on your academic success? Simple phrases like “this test determines your future,” or “you’re not working hard enough,” define the relationship of numerous high school students with their parents. Well, it’s not uncommon to have over-involved, or “helicopter” parents. These individuals are actively involved in their children’s education, which can have detrimental effects on the individuals themselves. In a recent study, Florida State University surveyed 427 college students (ages 18 to 29) about their upbringing and how they felt about their school performance. Overall, they found that kids whose parents were significantly involved in their children’s lives were the ones that would burn out from schoolwork and had a hard time transitioning to the real world. Ultimately, additional parental pressure can harm the overall education of their children, especially since learning should be an active commitment by students.

Problematically, many parents attempt to live vicariously through their children, which harms the individual’s true well-being in the process. Parents often feel the need to accomplish the goals they were never able to achieve themselves. However, some parents do not understand how this affects their children. UHS freshman Nava Basirat felt her mom was constantly putting this type of pressure on her.

“My mom wants me to be a doctor because she never could,” Basirat said. “She feels that I am smart enough to become one, but what she doesn’t know is that I want to be a lawyer.”

There are so many children living their parents’ dreams and not their own. By placing enormous pressure on their kids and holding them to such high expectations, children study excessively and push themselves too far because they do not want to hurt their parents, ultimately leading to mental burnout.

“If I choose my dream and passion, I am going to be the one putting [my mom] down,” Basirat said.  “I don’t know how much that is going to hurt her.” 

Additionally, parents often feel as though they need to be on top of their children’s education. They believe that for their children to succeed, someone needs to constantly be keeping them on track and pushing them to keep their grades up. However, what these parents do not realize is that this does the opposite of motivating their children. This gives the feeling that, no matter how hard they try, their parents are not going to be proud, resulting in a loss of self-confidence in students. 

UHS sophomore Ellie Chiou was losing motivation to keep working hard in school.

“My parents don’t think I do enough, and it hurts me so much that they don’t see how much I study and how much time I put into school,” Chiou said. “The worst feeling is when I think I did really well on a test, but they think that I should have studied more. Instantly, the feeling of being proud of myself is taken away.”

How can one continually study and push themselves when whatever one does is not enough? Is there any way of figuring out if a person is doing their “absolute best”? Many of these students simply desire the encouragement of their parents to keep moving forward and studying. 

UHS junior Jancie Fang felt that her parents’ encouragement helped keep her on track.

“When my parents tell me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, it really motivates me,” Fang said. “There is sort of like this spark that I get that I can do well on that test or be good at my choir concert.” 

Parents may argue that the recent pandemic has compelled them to become more involved in their child’s lives. They believe that they are the ones who must keep their children on track amidst an environment that offers less accountability than ever before, with an influx of online activities and an overall decrease in motivation. However, parents should provide their children with the liberty to be in charge of their own lives and take responsibility for their actions. All in all, no one should be compelled to study by an external source; instead, learning should be an active commitment made by an individual. With academic success being fueled by an intrinsic source, students can focus on their education, without additional pressure in the way.