Being a kid is very tough in today’s world, especially given the current circumstances. Aside from a global pandemic, life still continues. A child must navigate through life while dealing with society’s expectations thrown in their faces every day via social media. They also have to deal with their own personal and familial expectations too. Any sort of expectation can cause immense pressure that can manifest itself into unwanted anxiety. Another pressure that isn’t commonly recognized comes from cultural expectations as well. Many times parents do not realize the cultural pressure they put onto their child while they are growing up.
Depending on your culture, if you are not at a certain stage in your life you’re considered a failure. In Latin cultures, if you aren’t married or starting a family at a young age it can be heavily frowned upon. In Asian culture, if you do not work in a certain profession or receive certain grades you could be seen as a disappointment to your family. Even in American culture, hustling and overworking yourself to achieve that “American Dream” is the norm. All of these cultural expectations can weigh heavily on a child well into adulthood if not addressed correctly.
What are some ways to take cultural pressure off of a child, especially if you want to maintain cultural traditions?
- Make sure your child knows it is okay for them to have and make their own choices
- Talk and teach them about the values and importance of cultural traditions without being forceful and learn to be open-minded
- Reassure your child that they DO NOT have to choose the same path that you chose to live your life
- Have an open and honest line of communication with them. Answer all the “why’s and how come’s” as best as possible
- Realize that times are changing. The type of environment you grew up in is not the same type of environment your child is growing up in
Utilizing these tips can ease some of the pressure that comes from cultural norms. Letting your child know they can live the life they choose, but still practice cultural traditions can set them up for better success in life and have stronger familial and cultural bonds. This will provide them with the support needed to grow in life.