Max Tapper’s Top 5 Suggestions On How To Effectively Address And Cope With Pressure Imposed Upon You By Your Parents and Guardians


Max Tapper

So far in our lives, we’ve all, hopefully, have been able to spend an ample amount of our time around our mothers, fathers, or any other caretakers that came along for the ride. Throughout our earsplitting 4-year-old tantrums, rebellious tween phases, and all of the new responsibilities and mixed-up emotions that come with entering adolescence, these people have always played a role in some way in influencing the decisions we have made and the way we have perceived things as one year flew by after another. Today, we likely find ourselves at least sometimes looking back on all of our shared experiences with our parents and guardians. Some of these experiences may have been fun and illuminating, and we often tend to look upon these kinds of times as the things that have helped shape us into who we are today. On the other hand, some of us may find it difficult to recall a time in our lives when we have had shared healthy, respectful bonds with our parents/guardians, and these experiences may affect how you view your parents, guardians, and overall family life today. 


From my experiences, I can agreeably say that I have had very loving, disciplined, yet amiable relationships with my family throughout my childhood and adolescent years. As I flip through the days of emerging from the pandemic and learning how to survive in the wild, hormone-driven jungle of high school, I often find myself recalling the golden days of hearing my father playing the song ‘’Skinny Love’’ by Birdy in the bathroom radio and my elder brother Zach and me calling from my room, ‘’Mom! Dad! Book Party!’’ Zach and I can agree that we have had a great deal of fun with our parents and Baro over the years, whether Dad driving Mom and us down to the beach in Long Branch or Baro taking us to Colts Neck Library to pick out audiobooks. However, as the story goes for anyone, as Zach and I have grown older, we feel from time to time that our parents and Baro can overwhelm us with pressure to accommodate their ideas of what they believe is best for us. Zach and I have learned to address and cope with this pressure put upon us in a fair and respectful way, for they are the people who have sheltered, provided for, and supported us our whole lives. However, I am aware that not everyone shares this same ability to respectfully address and deal with pressure imposed on them by their parents and guardians. In this final Top 5 for the 2021-2022 school year, I, Max Tapper, aim to give my fellow students guidance on how to respectfully tackle this conflicting issue with the people who love them. 


Max Tapper’s Top 5 Suggestions On How To Effectively Address And Cope With Pressure Imposed Upon You By Your Parents and Guardians.


  1. Be Honest With Them And Know When And How To Say ‘’No.’’


Especially at this point in our lives, it can be challenging to gather the will and bring yourself to verbalize to your parents and guardians how you truly feel about the proposals they may bring your way. The challenge of being honest with your parents/guardians always seems to stem from the uncertainty of how they may react. Whether you hold a great deal of respect for them or you constantly question their motives and wish they would make themselves scarce, you may fear that your parents/guardians will react negatively and be accusatory towards you. It should be considered that a possible root for this fear is that you don’t want to upset your parents/guardians, and it would demoralize you if they reacted negatively to you speaking against their proposals. No matter how challenged or fearful you may be about the situation, even though these are the people who raised you, you sometimes need to reject what they are saying and make decisions in favor of what you want for yourself instead of what they want for you. To explain, say either of your parents, whether your mother or father or both of them, sat you down and told you that they thought you would have a very enriching, pleasurable experience attending an Ivy League university. As you are hearing all this, you realize that it would enchant your parents if you decided to make an effort to become Ivy League-worthy. However, deep down, a bigger realization for you is that you would never be able to handle the environments and workloads of places such as Cornell or Harvard or even any college in general. This is when you should say ‘’no.’’ When expressing to your parents/guardians that you wish not to engage in a proposition that they feel would be beneficial for you, make sure your tone is respectful and acknowledges what they are proposing, even if you disagree with it. Also, try not to be fearful of how your parents/guardians will react to your opposing position towards them. If anything, as long as you do your very best to be clear, truthful, and situationally aware, your parents/guardians will accept your position and come to hold a high sense of pride for your integrity towards them. 


  1. Try To See It From Their Perspective And Acknowledge The Appropriate Time To Act In Favor Of What They Want For You.


Whenever our parents/guardians seem to start laying it on thick, more likely than not, we find ourselves nonchalantly responding with something along the lines of, ‘’Yes, I know.’’ This is where we need to stop and ask ourselves if we really know why our parents/guardians are saying what they are saying to us. To exemplify this, one Saturday morning, I slept in and woke up feeling quite unenergetic. When I got downstairs, Dad said he would like me to go swimming with him at Centrastate. I told Dad that I wished not to go, but he withstood this by saying that he didn’t care what I said, but he had seen that whenever I went swimming with him at Centrastate, I always seemed happier and more relaxed than when I chose to stay home and study for hours on end. Hearing this made me think of a previous time when I chose studying at home over swimming with Dad and how miserable I felt by the time Dad came back for dinner. I also realized that Dad understood that I truly enjoyed going swimming and that he just wanted to spend some quality time with me doing something we both found pleasure in. This prompted me to tell Dad that I did want to go swimming with him after all, and I had never felt more grateful to be his son when I saw his face light up upon hearing this. What I took away from that experience is that even though Dad tries to compel me into doing what he feels is right for me, his intentions are pure, and he knows what things will give me joy. What you can take away from my experience is that there’s no shame in stepping back and letting your parents/guardians guide you into their propositions if you know they will benefit you in the long run and even more so if you know what they want you to do will bring you genuine pleasure. However, you should also know the appropriate time and manner to address your parents/guardians when you feel that their tone for their desire for your pleasure is growing too demanding. Again, try to keep the perspectives of your parents/guardians in mind when addressing this, for the more empathy you show, the more likely your parents/guardians will understand and respect your position without any hard feelings. 


  1. Find Someone Around Your Age You Can Talk To That Is Going Through Similar Issues With Their Parents So You Can Exchange Guidance With Them.


Even for people who find it easy to gather the confidence to speak bluntly with their parents/guardians, it can be hard for them to verbalize to them how they feel in a level-headed, respectful manner. These people may find it challenging to find the right words to match up with how they honestly feel about what’s being imposed on them by the very people that raised them. Suppose you feel that you fit this description. In that case, you might want to re-evaluate how you are approaching the situation so that you come off as more courteous and understanding of your parents/guardians’ point of view of the situation. To do so, I suggest you find a student in this school or someone in this area around your age you can talk to that is going through similar issues with their parents/guardians. Remember to show awareness and consideration to what the student around your age has to say about their situation. Their relationships with their parents/guardians might be very different from the kind of relationships you’re used to having with your parents/guardians. Also, don’t hesitate to try and give advice to your peers on how to handle pressure from their parents/guardians. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much your peers may appreciate your input on the situation, and you may even surprise yourself with how your guidance can impact the situation. I strongly encourage you to consider bringing these new people you meet into your personal life, as they may very well influence your parents/guardians to look at the situation in a different light and better understand how you feel to some extent. When it comes to tackling difficult issues involving our loved ones, it is wise to expand your horizons and put your head together with new, like-minded people that can potentially become very good friends throughout your journey. 


  1. Ask Your Parents/Guardians If They Ever Felt Pressured By Their Parents/Guardians To See How They Handled It


One time, Dad told me of a time when he was a junior in high school, he and Grandma Grace went to an assembly regarding a fundraiser for his school. Dad told me he just wanted to sit in the audience and listen to what was being said, but Grandma Grace suggested that Dad go up on stage and give a message regarding the fundraiser. Dad said he politely rejected this proposal considering Grandma Grace’s perspective, but Grandma continued to insist that Dad go up and speak. Dad told me that his response to Grandma’s continued insistence was that he, in a sense, accepted what was being brought upon him by opting to go on stage and speak. After gaining knowledge of this experience from Dad’s adolescence, I would realize that sometimes, when Dad, Mom, or Baro insisted that I do something, it would make more sense to accept their requests as expressing your feelings against them would only complicate matters. You may want to have a private, thorough discussion with your parents/guardians on how they coped with pressure and proposals from their parents/guardians. From this conversation, you will likely learn a good deal about how you can handle pressure from your parents/guardians, or generally anybody you know and interact with on a regular basis. What’s more is that if you have strained relationships with your parents/guardians, this conversation can help you understand their motives better and bring you closer to them if you let it. 


  1. Do Your Best Not To Dwell On The Situation And Acknowledge The Purity Of The Intentions Of Your Parents/Guardians


One time, Zach offered to drive me to Centrastate to go swimming while he worked his lifeguard shift and gave lessons. I would agree with this, and while we were driving there, I thought about how earlier that day, Dad had picked us up from school, and as soon as Zach entered the truck, Dad asked about how he was preparing for the upcoming SAT. I recalled how Zach verbalized to Dad how he seemed very focused on how important the SAT was for Zach’s future. This prompted me to ask Zach if he ever felt overwhelmed by Dad. Zach would respond to this by saying that generally, he felt a little bit overwhelmed by the situation, but at the end of the day, Dad only meant well. Zach then added that, in general, he tried not to think about his feelings of pressure too much. This is where my and Zach’s approach to the situation differs. Personally, whenever Dad, Mom, or Baro verbalize to me how they feel about my character, decisions, and what they think is best for me, I almost always take what they say into account and find myself going over what they said to me in my head hours after the conversation has taken place. By hearing what Zach had to say on his stance on things with Dad, I felt guilty because I felt that compared to Zach, I had been overthinking everything and that by continuing to think about it, I was only making the situation worse for myself. However, I stopped and took a moment to deduce what Zach meant by what he said, realizing that I too was aware that Dad’s intentions were pure and that he was trying to help us find our way on our journey through high school. What Zach told me that day about how he coped has helped shift my perspective and prompted me not to overthink every little thing Dad, Mom, or Baro told me. From my experience, I suggest you do the same, as overthinking your feelings towards your parents/guardians can hurt your awareness of their perspectives and strain your relationships with them. I dare say that if you accept the feelings and perspectives of your parents, you will likely feel less stressed about the situation, and you will also probably find it easier not to over-analyze the things that aren’t always the top priority. Furthermore, if you adopt this mindset, you will be more likely to enjoy being around the people who have been and will hopefully always be your supporters in the game of life.