Parental control

Students deal with pressure from their parents

Harry Potter never had parents to place pressure on him to do well in school. Even so, he was a student who did not need outside pressure because he found the motivation to work within himself.

Parental pressure can be beneficial or counterproductive, depending on the situation.

At this Muggle school, 56 of the 100 Seahawks polled think their parents put too much pressure on them to be successful academically.

A parent’s need to feel involved in their child’s life is understandable. But, this presence can create a strain on the student. Progress reports have opened a door for many parents to stay remain informed about their children’s progress. Although in some cases this is a useful tool, in other cases it is a cause for great irritation.

“I actually like getting [progress reports] because I know where I stand, and I know what I need to get done,” senior Chiara Sauvage said. “However, I hate that my mom gets them because she nags me.”

Debra David, Sauvage’s mother, wants to ensure her children do not procrastinate.

“I want them to get a certain number of hours of sleep,” David said. “If I don’t push them, they’ll stay up late to finish their homework. I think it’s reasonable for her to do what she can do instead of the minimum.”

From a student perspective, there is a fine line between parental presence and interference.

“I understand why they push me and why they want me to do well, but I already push myself so hard that it just gets annoying when they nag me,” Sauvage said.

Junior Katie Heiman also feels the heat from her parents.

“They pressure me to do better, but it also stresses me out,” Heiman said.

Heiman’s mother, Trish Heiman, feels that she tries to “nudge more than pressure” because she wants her daughter to feel as if she is “pressuring herself and doing it for herself, not for her parents.”

Trish Heiman provided justification for the pressure she places on her daughter.

“When you guys grow up and get older, your parents try to step back and let you take charge, but even as you grow up, at this age, sometimes you can’t see the big picture and the full impact that it has on your college career and your future,” Heiman said.

Some students have noticed a decrease in pressure over the years and have found this helpful.

“I think that a couple years ago [my parents] used to pressure me a lot, but now it’s kind of up to me to do well,” senior Sanjna Nag said.

“I think they understand that I’m trying for myself and not because they want it.”

Several Seahawks, including freshman Naeha Ganesan, believe the pressure they face under their parents has reached a balance.

“I feel like if they put any more pressure on me, I’d freak out and if they put any less, I’d be lazy,” Ganesan said.

Director of Student Services Davina Johnson believes in the importance of balance, and it is one of the first points she brings up when talking to parents.

“If the student is saying ‘this is way too much, and I want to do this or that, and it doesn’t necessarily mean I need to take the most rigorous courses in every content area,’ then that’s where I start my advocacy for the student,” Johnson said.

As students make their way from high school to college, the habits they develop are critical for success.

Alumna Manali Sontakke, who now attends the University of Virginia, was satisfied with the amount of pressure her parents placed on her during high school.

“I think that their slight pressure kind of got instilled upon me, and now I push myself academically and manage my time well in college,” Sontakke said. “Actually there’s almost no pressure from them at all anymore. I did really badly on a test, and I was like, oh no this is awful. But then they were like, take it easy. It was the strangest thing.”