When Parenting Pressure Leads to Depression

I wrote recently about the strong link between parental pressure to achieve, and a sense of emptiness that can develop in pressured children as they grow.

One consequence of a childhood spent living up to the lofty expectations of parents is that high-achieving children often internalize the idea that achievement is the lever they must press to receive a pellet of love. Here’s one account from psychologist Dale Atkins:

“[Your child] also has to want to come to you for nurturing. And, he has to know that he’s going to be good enough and wonderful enough even if he isn’t the best, even if he doesn’t succeed […] Our kids come to us to find out who they are and if we’re not letting them know they’re perfect as they are, they’re going to wonder, what do they have to do to be good enough.”

Psychodynamic therapy is the most effective way to untangle the emotional issues associated with parental pressures–no matter how well-intentioned those pressures may have been–and the scars they can leave. Often, by discussing how we understood those expectations, we can diminish their strength and help restore a more realistic internal sense of self-worth.

To learn more about how you may have been shaped and hindered by undue pressure in your youth, I invite you to contact my Philadelphia psychotherapy offices. I specialize in therapy for depression, therapy for anxiety and therapy for stress.