The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

Following in their footsteps: How family pressure affects student decisions

Following in their footsteps: How family pressure affects student decisions
Ash Magalhaes


Note: This piece is a staff editorial, which is an opinion article meant to reflect the opinions of the Drops of Ink staff. Because of this, the author’s name does not appear alongside the story, as the opinions shared in here are based on class discussions about the topic among the 24 DOI staff members. The staff is composed of students of all grades from a variety of backgrounds and experiences; therefore, the editorial speaks to the publication’s view on a subject and is not representative of each staff member’s exact view on the issue at hand.


Everyday, high school students are bombarded with a countless different decisions to make, be that what colleges to apply to, what sports to play, or what classes to take. Usually these decisions, though presented to us, are not entirely our own. Pressure from teachers, peers and specifically family members, can heavily influence these decisions.


Culture Roots

For example, pressure from family allows many minority students to remain connected to their culture when the majority culture tries to diminish it. However, this can also cause rifts between parents who hold on to more traditional values like homophobia or familial obligations and their children who have embraced different ones. 

Parents afraid of their children losing part of themselves or simply wishing to pass on traditions often make their kids take various other classes at a young age to learn about their culture, language or religion.

In the moment, children tend to be opposed to these classes, wanting to play with friends rather than learn more outside of school. 

However, looking back, students are often grateful for the time spent learning more about their family, culture and heritage, something they would not have had without their families pressuring them to take these classes. On the other hand, pressure from family members to hold on to their culture can also have a negative effect. Hand in hand with carrying on tradition, comes a set of different values, some of which can be harmful to students even as they are expected to uphold them.


Family Pressure

When it comes to classes, college and careers, family is constantly trying to influence what we as students do. Sometimes when choosing classes, it can be helpful to have a parent or sibling’s guidance, as they might know what we are and are not capable of doing. However, this guidance can come off harshly, making students choose classes that cause excess stress, or prevent them from


School pressure also often falls on younger siblings depending on the older sibling’s successes. Younger siblings generally look up to their older siblings and parents often urge them to follow in their siblings’ footsteps and achieve the same success, even if they don’t want to. Careers and college can also be examples of kids’ fear of disappointing their parents.

Many parents want their children to go to college and get a stable job. While trying to be subtle about their pressure, family members ask questions about where students are going to school or what they are studying. 

When answers are out of the norm, like not going to college, or perhaps studying art rather than something STEM-related, relatives are visibly disappointed, causing students to second guess themselves.

Oftentimes pressure may be more subtle or implicit. Maybe everyone in your family studies the same thing, goes to the same school or takes the same classes. No child wants to disappoint their family or let their parents down, so they follow what their family all did, regardless of their own goals. 

Relationships with family members can become strained due to pressure and expectations. When a parent forces their child to conform or fit into a certain box, resentment can build, as they feel they cannot be their authentic self. Siblings who are pursuing different paths, one of which parents approve of more, can feel disconnected from each other or ignored by their parents.

Family pressure is a complex thing. For some, it is seen as a form of guidance, a light to help students hold on to who they are, to push themselves and accomplish what they ultimately want. But for others, it holds a more negative connotation, where they now might hate the thing they were pressed to do or hold onto.

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