Saturday, April 11, 2009

Parent Pressure

I spent about an hour and a half on the phone with a friend recently. It was one of many conversations we've had in the past few years that we've been friends, and every time, our conversations boiled down to the same thing: we were complaining about our parents.

This time, the story was: her Dad sent a text giving his 'opinion'. Then, Mom sent a text asking if a decision had been made, and of course, then slipping in a line or two about what she thought needed to be done. Then Dad. Then Mom. Then Dad. Then Mom. Then Dad. Then she just got tired and turned off her phone for a few hours... ;) - which all sounded freakishly familiar.

During my entire childhood and teenage years, I heard people (mostly my parents) talk about peer pressure, how not to succumb to the influences of our peers: to be who I wanted to be, do what I wanted to do, not to give in just because our peers tell us we would be uncool not to follow them.

As a grown up now, I have one question: why didn't anyone warn us about parent pressure?

Parents - or rather mine and my friend's - can be just as bad as peers. In fact, I think to some degree they are worse. Not only do they try and influence the decisions we make involving our marriage, how to raise our kids, what to feed our family at the dinner table and which insurance company to use, but they actually try and guilt us in the process!

The classic line I hear all the time is "we're not getting any younger" and "who knows how many years I have left" - all the while, they are still healthy as a horse and take handfuls of vitamins daily. Goodness gracious! They use these kind of lines and I am the one they call a drama queen?

The worst part of parent pressure is that as a wife, I sometimes have to be in the middle between what they think, what they want me to do, and what my husband wants me to do - and believe me, they couldn't be more different! My parents want this, my husband wants that, and no one seems to care even a tiny bit about what I want. It doesn't matter, evidently.

So, what's a girl to do? Me, well I just close my eyes and ears, and just do what I want. What I think is right. Same goes for my friend, who has chosen to unplug her land line and turn off her cell phone for the past few hours, and has been talking to me on Yahoo Messenger instead.

One way or another, parents are just going to have to face the facts: we're all grown up now. Yes, we appreciate inputs, suggestions and feedback, but NO, we don't have to agree with everything you say. You may have our best interest at heart, but we have to be able to make our own decisions otherwise we'll never be who we really are. If you think adolescent peer pressure is so bad, well then, parent pressure ranks high up in the list too.

C'mon, guys, let us grow up. We can't be your little kids forever.


  1. As I am a 45 year old parent and have experienced what you say on both ends of the stick =) My advice is to move away from the parents! Worked for me! This is the only way to establish true separatism and your own identity! Parents will not see you as grown up until they no longer have an influence over you and until you no longer ask them for advice or complain about a situation to them.

    It took me moving 126 miles away, to rely totally on my own devices, to not let them see my comings and goings to understand this. So when my son got to be on his own, outta my house and my direct influence, I only offered advice when asked and let him fall on his face the rest of the time! This is growing up!

    Good luck to you and please have the courage to tell your parents how you feel, it will save un needed hurt and resentment later down the road!

  2. Oh, move away... I'd love to! Unfortunately, my Dad has vowed to disown me if I did. Rats. What's a girl to do?