Parents and Family

How My Critical Parents Affected My Life

My friends and I talked about love marriages in India a few days back. We talked about how some of our teachers have had their love marriages and are still together. During the discussion, I mentioned how some people’s parents are cool about everything, especially in love marriages. My friend at once said, “Prerna, everyone’s parents are cool for everything, except your parents.” I couldn’t agree more. No doubt, I have strict and critical parents. 

To be honest, my parents haven’t accepted the movies, songs, art, and culture of our generation. I have never seen them watching any Bollywood movie of the 21st century. In fact, they criticize every movie that has been released after the 1970s. I really don’t understand why. The same thing is with food, fashion, and trends of the 21st century. They often make me believe they are living in the present era but haven’t accepted the 21st century. 

Trust me, growing up with critical parents is never easy. Now there are two types of critical parents. 

1. Parents who criticize their kids in a constructive manner as they want them to do well in their lives. They try to bring positive changes in their children through positive and constructive criticism. However, at times, this too may backfire as children may get irritated by the repeated criticism.

2. The Second type is parents who are overly critical and often belittle their children, thinking they are right. Instead of correcting their children, these parents try to control their children. Trust me, these parents cause intense harm to their children which makes more impact than physical abuse would.

Though parents play an important role in the lives of their children, overly critical parents can harm children in many ways. Some of the unintentional harm caused by overly critical parents are:

1. Low Self-Esteem 

2. Increased anxiety levels and the possibility of depression

3. Self-doubt and lack of positive outlook toward life

4. Difficulty in building a stronger connection with parents

5. Overanalyzing any criticism and taking too long to resolve even the smaller problems

My parents are still strict and critical. As a result, I hardly share my feelings, secrets, and problems with them. Earlier I used to try to grow emotionally closer to them but now I really find it uncomfortable. Maybe because now I have found people whom I can rely on for emotional and mental support. Yet, I often wonder what if my parents were a bit cool like those of my friends. 

I am a big girl now but my parents won’t allow me to step outside after 6 PM. For them, watching TV, listening to songs, reading books, and taking interest in art is completely foolish. They always scolded me for taking part in extracurricular activities, forgetting about encouragement and appreciation. Due to this, I literally don’t have any skills other than studying. However, I couldn’t be the topper of my batch either as there was a constant fear. I often tried to please my parents, just to hear some appreciation. 

Sleepovers, trips, dance competitions, cultural programs, and sports were a big NO in my family. If by chance any plans got changed, I used to assume I have no plans because they would never agree. If today I ask my parents for a weekend trip with my friends, they will rather ask me to get married.

I am an anxious person and now I have also grown to be an overthinker. Yet my parents hardly care about it. The reason why I am telling these things is to highlight how critical parents can impact their children’s lives.

Many times, children having overly critical parents can have troubled relationships in their future. They may feel they can’t keep their partner happy and satisfied. These people may not digest even the slightest criticism. Long-term exposure to repeated criticism can fill one’s mind with negativity, anxiety, overthinking, and stress. 

Parents are very important in any child’s life but they need to keep a check on their (parents’) behavior. Dealing with overly critical parents has no rulebook. No one knows how much you may have to endure just because you have such parents. Just remember you are not alone in this as many of us have critical parents. After all, this was the most common parenting technique for so many years. Even today, some modern parents are too critical. 

The best way to deal with this is to accept the situation and try to find a positive impact of those criticisms. Try to derive good things from those criticisms and this will improve your psychological development. 

Also Read: Effects Of Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Family

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