Heather got her PhD at age 29 and graduated high school and college with a GPA of 4.0. Brian married the perfect girl, had amazing children, and made my father so proud when he went into the family business. Candace is absolutely stunning, independent, and living an exotic life on her own. Austin and Stefan, twins, were voted ‘Nicest’ in high school and are known as some of the friendliest boys around. Traci, myself, is… herself. Being the youngest of six kids is tough, especially when there is so much to live up to.
I started to notice the difference between my siblings and I when I was about ten. Being so much younger than my brothers and sisters, they seem to tower over me in lives of success. They banded together in amazingness and one by one, as they graduated and left the house, I felt each burden dropped in my arms to be the perfect child as they were. My problem was, I got every legacy handed to me to be as phenomenal as all the children. Along with it, I received the feeling of being pressured to live up to it. The day I realized it was when Austin, Stefan, and I brought our report cards home from school.
“Traci! What? A B in math? Honestly, I’m a little surprised. I thought you could have done a little better than that.”
“But mom, I’m in fifth grade. Will it really matter all that much later?”
“Wow, Traci. When did you start developing this attitude? You need to be more positive! Heather never had this attitude and look how she turned out. Austin, Stefan, let’s see yours.”
They reluctantly handed over the report cards.
“Oh, only two C’s, Austin. Stefan a B- in biology, that’s good!”
My heart shifted a little. I was expected perfect grades because Heather had achieved that, and a fabulous attitude toward fifth grade math homework because Austin and Stefan were such nice, positive boys towards everything. I tried my best, and it still wasn’t good enough.
I know my parents are doing what they believe is best for me, but is it really necessary? Are parents too rough on their kids? Or is it a necessity to be a little brutal to convince the children to try a little harder than they might without the extra push? From my point, all children need the jump start to be excellent, but in their own way. Let them live their life of success, but let them live it happily, unpressured, and fulfilling. I’m not saying parents should forget grades, independence, or how their kids treat others, but they need to help the children themselves be who they want to be, not who the parents want. In the end, I still have a chance for my success.
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