Negative Effects of Parental Stress on Students


As a parent, you always want your children to succeed in any area of life. You want what’s best for them; you dream of them getting into the best colleges and universities, mastering every subject, and being at the top of the class. 

However, these expectations sometimes go beyond your child’s capabilities. Your expectations become hard to meet, resulting in more pressure from your side and transforming into anxiety for your child. 

What Is Parental Pressure and Why?

Parental pressure is the emotional stress parents tend to put on their children and is often related to academic success, cultural and social standards, and other factors.

The leading cause of parental pressure comes out of concern for the welfare of their children and their employment. Another factor is the parent’s past goals they couldn’t achieve; therefore, they try to employ the same dream in their children, leading to confusion for the kid. 

The outcome of these actions is, more often than not, unhealthy on a large scale.

What Can Be the Effects of Parental Stress on Students?

Although the pressure is mainly based on good intentions, sometimes parents can go beyond what’s acceptable for students. 

As a student, your child will constantly look for your validation. Even a slightly disappointed expression can send them into a bad mental state; they will start questioning their capabilities, slowly leading to fear, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Now imagine what too much pressure can make them go through. 

More specifically, the effects of parental stress on students mainly include: 

Mental illness


Students are prone to experiencing mental illnesses due to many factors. The main factor is pressure to succeed in academics. This kind of pressure mainly derives from high parental expectations that pressure students to do well in all subjects and pass all exams with good grades. 

The continuous pressure negatively affects students’ psychological and physical health and increases the chances of developing disorders such as depression, sleep deprivation, and eating disorders. 

Eating disorders

The challenges of academic life alone, the anxiety of socializing, and time management are more than enough for students to have breakdowns. What adds to these challenges is the continuous pressure from parents. These pressures call for new opportunities for students to develop eating disorders. 

Instead of focusing on their studies and daily activities, the added pressure takes their focus away, leading to missed meals that can extend to eating disorders if not controlled. 

Low academic performance

There is a fine line between being a caring parent and taking things too far. Crossing the line will have many consequences for your kid in the future. Your academic pressure will only make them worry. 

A student’s academic performance is affected by numerous factors, starting from physical to emotional aspects. When your child, who is also a full-time student, has to deal with all the pressure from all areas of life and is expected to do well, they will likely fall low in academic performance. That comes as a result of them starting to question their abilities and trying to get better but never meeting your expectations.

Cheating at school


Academic cheating is caused by parental pressure, teacher pressure, and poor time management. A student who is always working toward meeting your expectations but feels like he is never near will likely turn to cheat, hoping good grades will make you happy. 

Fear of failure stops students from taking up new projects or completing the ones at hand. In the hope of getting your validation for bringing home good grades, they will consider or even commit cheating to receive good compliments and rewards. 

Low self-esteem

As academic pressure increases, psychological health declines. When you as a parent are over-involved, excessive control over how your child defines themselves in the world creates few opportunities for the child to self-reflect and have positive thoughts and feelings. As a result, the chances for self-confidence and self-esteem are compromised. 

Problems with sleep


Kids who feel continuous pressure to do well in school might stay up late studying and struggle to get enough sleep. If not supervised, irregular sleep patterns like irregular eating schedules can lead to much more complicated cases such as insomnia.

Injuries, if an athlete

If you push your kid to participate in sports despite not being well, it will lead to significant damage. 

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There are cases when, even if you don’t verbally make your kid participate, they will feel emotional pressure and might continue to participate in sports despite injuries. Ignoring pain or returning to a sport before an unhealed injury could lead to permanent damage.

What Can Parents Do to Avoid Pressuring Their Children?


Although well-intentioned, parental pressure is frequently misinterpreted as love and can negatively affect kids. As a parent, fostering an environment where your kid can grow and succeed is crucial. You should identify your child’s abilities and advise them on how to develop their talents. 

Some of the steps you can take to avoid pressuring your kid while creating healthy goals for them are as follows:


After an interaction with your kid regarding their academic performance, take a minute to reflect on your behavior. Have you been fair to them? Were your sayings reasonable? If they disagreed with you, how did you react? And is there a way you can find something that would motivate them instead of making them feel less than they are?


Imagine how happy your kid would be if they heard something encouraging after a bad exam or class, instead of feeling guilty for not studying harder. This will push them to do better next time. Your words of encouragement can be a stepping stone for their success.


At any given opportunity, create healthy interactions with your children. Make them feel worthy of academic achievements. Students accumulate a lot of stress just by being students. You can help them by giving them love and motivation. 


Constant parental pressure creates defensive attitudes in children. They might develop unhealthy habits, injuries, and mental illnesses and grow into them. 

You should be able to identify your child’s abilities and advise them on how to develop their talents. Success is inevitable if you provide your child the necessary support to pursue their goals in whatever profession they choose without creating a fear of failure. Also, they can use some of the ways you can find in our article on how to reduce stress during college.

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