Why does my mom always expect so much out of me?

I am the oldest, 22 ,of 2 younger siblings in HS.

My parents are Asian and were really strict about me doing well in HS. They made me go to tutoring every weekend and on top of that I had tons of extracurricular activities. Even though I felt like breaking apart from all the pressure, I still survived HS and maintained a GPA over a 3.6 until I graduated from HS and got into NYU. My mom was really strict and I got into trouble a lot of times for little things during my HS years and I was basically a nerdy little HS girl with little to no self esteem and it was TORTURE (I had few friends and didn't fit in with most of the kids). I think I sort of broke apart after I got into college and missed some of my lectures and did not do so well on my exams. I was academically dismissed from University and went to the school psychologist who diagnosed me with Depression and body image issues. Shortly after the story, my parents seemed to understand after holding in their immense anger. I told them that I wasn't capable of going to a top tier college and said that I wanted to take some time off and go to community college and think about what direction I wanted to take in my life.

I am almost close to graduating, but I have noticed that my mom is (understandably) treating me worse at home. She reminds me everyday how much money she and dad spent on my education and the lack of results on my part and resorts to yelling and sometimes hitting when I do something small wrong (like forgetting a chore). I have told her and she probably gets that I don't have a lot of potential or strength to graduate from an ivy league and get a master's degree on top of that, but my mom constantly bothers me about applying to some top 30 colleges, after my experiences with failing colleges and telling her that I believe I don't have the academic potential to succeed in a reputable college. I am thinking about still going to a college, but not a rigorous college (state colleges).

I don't get why she still pushes me to get into a good college after my failing NYU and showing her that I am not capable. My brother meanwhile, who is in HS gets Bs and sometimes Cs and my parents don't pressure him to do as well as me. My brother is a mess and talks back to my mom but all he gets is yelling, while I was slapped numerous times when I was in HS for really trivial things. I don't get why my parents don't give up on me and push my other siblings to do as well as me, since they haven't screwed up, yet? My sister and brother is not even 1/3 the dedicated student as I was in HS, and they are let by easily. It's just not fair. Is it just because I am their first child?

Why after all the failures I've been through, do they still pressure me about getting into a good college? Is a good college education really worth it? Maybe if I had other talents like being a great social leader or being incredibly beautiful, they wouldn't be pushing me this hard to get into college? :/


Most Helpful Guy

  • Wow you are definitely in a dilemma. I think the reason why your parents are very strict on you academically is because you're the oldest child (meaning the first) and they really want you to set a great example and be a role model to your younger siblings. They believe that if you can become excellent and succeed in the real corporate world then that your younger siblings can succeed as well. I understand that being a potential reason as why they are very strict on you and push you to be very great in all you do. Another reason why they do this is because they want you to take care of them when they get much older to the point where they can't take care of themselves, let alone your younger siblings. Now for the personal advice part.

    I personally think that you can do very well at any college you choose to attend, whether that college is a top-tier university or a great community college. I think that you have to be more confident in yourself as an individual. Also, you have to remember that you're going to college to benefit and advance yourself. You're not going to college to help make your parents better or your siblings better. They have to do that for themselves. Also, do want makes you happy no matter how much money you make from it. Every person has some talents or interests that they enjoy or are good at and that is what you should consider looking into as a future career. Just remember that the only person you need to make proud is yourself because you yourself are your own harshest critic and only you yourself can label yourself as inferior or as a failure.

    I hope that my advice can help you out somehow or someway, I hope it can give you some peace of mind, I hope that you find great happiness and success in whatever you do, and I hope you think of yourself as a success because I think you are. Good luck, sorry for the long response, and keep me posted on your progress! :)


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What Guys Said 2

  • It seems to me that the depression you felt and failing grades in NYU is because of your parents. They constantly pressure you to achieve, which is a big stress factor and will give you insecurity issues. Body image problems often have such a cause.

    You should try to go some place to wind off away from home. Get rid of the stress factor.

  • I don't think your parents have adopted to the American life, culture, and how things are run here. My parents are also foreign, but have adopted to life in America. I had a 3.8 gpa in high school, and with that I am attending a local university. Not an ivy school or anything special like that. I do believe attending a high end school is not really worth it, just because tuition is going up every year, and there are less jobs every year. If you end up graduating from an ivy league school,and don't meet many people there, which it sounds like would happen to you since you never really fit in with people in high school, its tough to get a job out of college. Not trying to be mean, just making an inference on what you have provided. You really need to meet a lot of new faces in high end colleges, because you never know when those people will have connections to you get into those jobs these days during school and after you graduate. Have you ever thought about that? What do you parents see you making as a salary coming out of college? With college degress, you need years and years of experience in a specific field to really get a high end wage and be at the top. If you know people and have connections to jobs, you can easily do 6 figures with no college degree!

    • they are actually more Americanized than the other Asian parents here. they came here 23 years ago and they probably know a lot about American culture.

    • Then they should know that school isn't everything and doesn't guarantee a good future with good money, but obviously they don't.

What Girls Said 1

  • I know what you mean about over-demanding parents. My mother is the same way. My younger sister - who is in high school - gets Bs and Cs in her classes, and my mother is fine with that. If I get anything less than an A (and yes, that includes an A-) I get yelled at because I'm not doing the best I can.

    From experience, I believe your mother is RELYING on you. She has raised you and has put so much faith/expectations in you to be some super amazing person (not that you aren't, just by her standards), that she is not ready to let that idea go and accept you for who you are. Does your mother ever say things like "Once you get a job, you can help the family out," etc.? She could be thinking that you're the one who's going to support the family later on in life, which is why she is so overly critical/demanding of you.

    I bet you could do well in whatever college you went to if you weren't so stressed. You have to want to do well for yourself, and find your own drive to do things, rather than trying to please your mom (and believe you, me, it's a great feeling). I think it was a good decision to go to a community college to figure out what you wanted to do. It's better than getting pushed through college too fast and being left in the dust wondering "Is this what I really wanted to do? Or am I doing this because my parent(s) want me to?"

    I don't know if any of this will help you, but I have one last piece of advice to give to you. As I said before, my mother was the same way. So, the thing that kept me going and allowed me to stay - for the most part - sane throughout my years of college/high school/etc. was thinking "Everything will pay off in the end. I'll graduate from college, get a job, and move the hell out so I can start my own life." That's when everything will get better for you, I believe. So just hang in there, and remember to do things for YOU, not for your parents. In the end, it'll be yourself you'll have to live with. <3

    • yes, that's what she exactly tells me! that I should already have a job by now if I didn't fail NYU and would be supporting my family financially!...they treat me like I'm supposed to be some superhero to my family...it's really annoying

    • Yeah, I think your mother is thinking she'll be able to depend on you financially once you get a job. I'm assuming she'll use lines like "I paid for your college, so you should repay us in the future" or things like that. It's a tough situation to be in, and it makes you feel guilty when you start to try to have your own life. But don't let that guilt get to you. You can repay your parents in your own way (if you feel you need to) later on in life. Just concentrate on YOU.