I’m a Young girl who is currently in 7th grade. I have an Asian background. My parents are pretty strict. Ever since my sister got into Ivy League schools, it’s gotten worse. I feel like I’m not allowed to make mistakes, this has made me scared of trying new things and I’m a full perfectionist. Even at school, I’m known as the smart kid so if I get one average mark I get teased and annoyed and it feels like I can’t make mistakes. Whenever I try to tell my parents that I feel stressed, they always say, “You’re still so young, imagine it when you get older!” and offer no help whatsoever. And don’t get me wrong, I love my parents but it’s just so stressful at a young age. Whenever I get a B+, I get yelled at. I’m told that I’m cold towards my family members because I don’t tell them anything. But they made me like this. I see other people with average marks and their parents are always so proud of them. I’ve told my parents many times that I just want to be told “Good job”, but they never do. My parents always say, “Try your best”, and I do. But when I come home with an average mark they yell at me saying that I should do better. I’m too scared to tell any of this to my friends because they always say that I have it easy and some of them don’t offer any help whenever I vent. At this point, whenever I’m told that I did a good job and that I should be proud of myself, I start to tear up. I’m too scared to ask for a therapist because my parents think that people who need therapists are insane. I’m burnout right now and I’m getting lower marks than I usually do, but the more they yell at me, the worse I do. I really don’t want to tell them all this and I’ve thought about self-harm before, however, I never acted on it. If there’s something I can do to help with this situation I would appreciate it if you told me.
I think it’s part of your parents culture to expect perfection. It must be really hard on you. Feeling so much stress can actually make it more difficult to get good grades. I think you will have to live with your parent’s attitude, but you must remain aware that you really are doing a good job, even while being human rather than being perfect.
Is there a chance you can talk to a counselor at your school? Explain what your parents attitude is towards therapy, and that you really could use some help. I don’t know if it’s the same now, but there used to be counselors on staff in the school, so a bit of time can be spent receiving therapy or at least have someone to talk to during school hours.
Your parent’s attitude towards therapy is historically very common. In truth, it’s more insane to avoid therapy when you know that it’s needed.
It’s very insightful for you to mention burnout and how your parent’s disappointment has actually made school more difficult for you. The expectations of your parents is like a dark cloud that hovers over you it’s a shame that they don’t realize, and you probably can’t convince them that the pressure they are applying is making it harder for you.
I wonder if shutting out your parent’s expectations and deciding that you want to get the good grades for yourself because you want them might be a helpful way of thinking.
Welcome to the heart support community!
What a very stressful position you are in. I know that your parents tell you that things will get harder when you’re older, I just want to encourage you that not everybody expects you to burn yourself out, whether it’s for grades or work. I’m sorry those people at school sometimes tease you, they probably don’t even realise how hard it’s been for you.
Does your school offer counselling? It must be very hard to carry all this heavy stress and not feel like you can turn to anybody. It’s really amazing you’ve recognised your need for help, and I’m really proud of you for reaching out and for recognising that you want to stay away from SH.
i’m so sorry you’re facing this stress and pressure. this is such an overwhelming feeling to live with. i can assure you that you are doing your best and you ARE worthy and valued, no matter what anyone says to your grades or school work. i encourage you to please reach out to your sister on any advice or support she can lend you. if i were to guess, i would think she was also raised with similar pressures and can either teach you ways to manage this stress or she can help you speak to your parents on some solutions. with self-harm on your mind, i want that option to be avoided at all cost. you’ve been placed in a situation that no one your age should ever grow up in. and lemme tell you, as someone well within a career, the world outside of your family dynamic is the opposite. you are encouraged to fail and learn from those mistakes. being “perfect” every time in every situation is impossible. and people who can maintain constant “perfection” probably feel the same amount of suffocating pressure on their shoulders.
i hope you read my words and feel the support and encouragement i am sending your way. you are not alone and i appreciate how hard you work to just get by day-by-day. please speak to your sister privately about what you’re experiencing if you can and if anything, your school should hopefully also have counselors to help support you. again, you are not alone. and you matter. hope to hear from you again soon.
Welcome to HeartSupport. I’m glad that you’re here and appreciate you for sharing this with us.
Firstly, I want to commend you for recognizing that 'B’s aren’t bad grades and that your marks are acceptable, even if your parents don’t recognize this. It sounds like you’re trying your best, and that is awesome. It wouldn’t be reasonable to ask you for anything more than that, and your best is enough.
I understand those fun “comparison games” of your parents wanting you to be as successful as your sister, but ultimately you will go on to do great things. If you end up going to college, I am confident that you’ll be able to get into and attend a college that feels good for you, but you’re still in 7th grade so this really is not the time to be thinking about college.
True story: I have a friend who started SAT prep in 6th grade. It didn’t help them to do any better than friends who started prep in 11th grade. There’s a time and a place for everything, but this just isn’t the time to be thinking about college or worrying about marks. I understand that this can be hard considering what your parents may be saying though.
I don’t have any brilliant answers for you, but I want to reinforce that you’re valued and you matter. I hope this situation with your parents subsides with some time, and that you keep sharing when anything is on your mind, because this is a seriously upsetting, difficult situation to be in.
Wishing you the best,
Hi Joannaz, Thank you so much for your post. I am so sorry that you are feeling so stressed and under so much pressure to do well at school when infact you already are doing incredibly well. I would be immensley proud of my daughter if she came home with the marks that you recieved.
That is a lot to put on a person so young and its not fair, you should be spending time, yes of course doing your school work as best you can but also enjoying being young. Is there anyone other than your parents that you can reach out to about how you feel? is there a school councellor available to you?? I hope you know that people that see therapists are not insane, they are just people that have a problem that they cannot fix on their own and need a bit of help. I think you probably know that but its hard to convince others when they know no difference. Another thing I would like to mention are your thoughts of self harm. Thank you for not going through with it, I am so proud of you for not doing so, it honestly is not a way to get the help you need and it is not an answer to this situation I promise you.
I understand how exhausting it is not to be heard and I hope that us hearing you has helped a little and you can write here to us whenever you wish. In the meantime please be kind to yourself and see if you can find someone to open up to at school. Much Love to you. Lisa x
First of all, welcome to this community and for sharing your story here.
This is hard. I remember being your age, being a perfectionist and not coping when I didn’t get the top marks. In my situation though, the pressure just came from myself. To have such little support or acceptance from your parents must be exhausting and you must be desperate for someone to notice how much you’re trying. I am going to echo other voices here and encourage you to reach out to people other than your parents for that validation; like a teacher or your sister. You need and deserve to be told that you are enough, because you are.
I also think your parents are wrong to belittle how stressful school can be. Doing exams was the most stressful time of my life, and I actually think you will find life gets easier once you’re through the system of testing and grading. That probably seems a way off at the moment, but I promise it does have an end.
Just from what you shared here, I can tell you are very self-aware for your age; you realise you need support and why. Many would find that level of self-perception challenging at any age. You deserve that recognition.