The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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Family Influences, pressures

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Where do you want to live when you’re older?”

“Where do you want to go to college?”

“What are you going to major in?” 

These are all questions that students are asked on a frequent basis, especially the last two for high school students. For many, their answer is still unknown, and they’ll simply say that they are following in their family’s footsteps, whether that be attending the same college as their sibling or pursuing the same career as their parents. The option for students to answer by defaulting to what their families do is common for many because it’s what they know.

For some, they respond this way because they genuinely don’t know what they want, but for others, they are pressured by their parents to choose a certain career path or a certain lifestyle. This trajectory is often one that includes the traditional four year college and a typical 9-5 career. 

According to “Job List,” a website that includes blogs about jobs and provides ways for users to find personalized job opportunities, out of those that were surveyed more than half of children felt that their parents forced them to go to college and work in a certain industry. Additionally, 48% of children feel their parents have a strong influence on their career paths and 40% feel pressured to follow their parents career advice. 

For many, parents have a strong impact on their children’s futures, and what was originally well meaning advice very quickly turns into pressure. Besides a parent’s influence, many children feel particular pressures to follow their siblings in what they’ve done in school and in their lives. Younger siblings often feel that they have to follow a certain career and major path because their siblings have done so. Or, siblings wonder if they would be interested in a certain something if it weren’t for their siblings being interested first. 

Either way, whether it’s parents or siblings that have first sparked the conversation, kids should not feel the need to give into these pressures and they should be confident in choosing their own pathways. Although the survey reports that most parents just want their kids to have a successful career and be set up for good future financial standings, many kids felt that they were never given the opportunity to try out their own path. 

So often, kids miss out on finding their own pathways and figuring out what they enjoy because they are so caught up in having to follow what their parents expect from them. Children who face this pressure often won’t experience the “trial and error” stage of educational discovery and truly find out what they like.

It’s so rare for people to never change their major in college, never have a bad job experience, or live somewhere that they don’t feel is home. Many people need to go through failures and experiment with what they actually like and what they feel authentically represents themselves. The best way to create a life that feels right to you is to do it without outside influences, and that includes family.

Editor’s Note: All statistics are taken from Job List’s “The Impact of Parental Influence on Careers”.

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About the Contributor
Elin O'Brien, Opinions Editor
Left-hand enthusiast 

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