You receive a 60% on a math test and your initial response is to focus not on the failing grade, but on what your parents’ reactions will be. Going home seems like your biggest obstacle because you know your parents are bound to ask how the test went.
Most Schechter Westchester students endure large amounts of stress on a daily basis; however, this pressure stems from various roots. Some students are victims of the “tiger mom,” which is described by Urban Dictionary as “A mother who is overly strict with her child in order to foster an academically competitive spirit.”
“I feel that my parents care more about my work than I do,” freshman Shoshi Bicky said.
It is possible that such parenting is detrimental to a student’s future in higher levels of education because if the motivation to succeed comes from the parents, once a child enters college, perhaps that encouragement will no longer be readily present.
Some parents believe they are giving their children an incentive to do well in school by going so far as to compare their children to their siblings or other students.
“My parents always compare my grades with my brother’s grades,” junior Arielle Felberg said. Comparisons between siblings by parents can be particularly harmful because they breed competitiveness and can work to undermine sibling relationships.
Despite the intensity that so called “tiger” parents instill in their children’s lives, this kind of parental pressure is perhaps only rooted in a parents’ deep concern for their child’s future, but it can still have negative effects. According to Northern Illinois University’s Department of Education, children who experience pressure from parents are more likely to develop self-esteem issues and confidence problems that could extend into adulthood.
The added stress produced by parents can lead to students not getting enough sleep, which in turn induces learning comprehension issues and emotional instability. Children may turn to caffeine, which can potentially lead to future health problems and addiction; students with “tiger” parents are also more prone to cheating, for they are less willing to present an average grade to disapproving parents.
Denise Clark Pope, a lecturer in the School of Education and the author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students, said, “In every class where a test was administered, there was cheating. Students feel as if their life success depends on getting the top SAT scores and the highest grades. The students know [cheating] is wrong; they tell me they wish they didn’t do it, but they feel like the most important thing they do is get the grades.”
Pressure from parents can and often does lead to the opposite of the intended result.
“I feel that most of the time when my mom puts a lot of pressure on me to do well on a test, I end up doing badly. But if I don’t tell her about the test, I end up doing much better,” freshman Josh Ackerman said.
According to the American Library Association, this pattern has shown up in many students across the United States: “Confident students are the ones with the higher grades.” Since parental pressure diminishes a student’s confidence, a student experiencing a high amount of pressure will often see a lower score on a test than he or she otherwise would have received.
But there is always the question of the ultimate goal of a parent’s motive; whether it is to ensure their child’s success or to ensure that their child puts in the maximum amount of effort.
“My parents always trust that I will try as hard as I can without their intervention,” junior Ethan Szlezinger said.
Students and parents handle high school pressure in their own ways. Though being the child of so-called “tiger parents” can often stressful, it is your job to ensure your own happiness, whether that be through academic success or anything unrelated to school work. So march to your own tune, and and appreciate whatever sound comes out of it.