How to deal with parent pressure

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Tomorrow students across Scotland will be nervously clutching their mobiles or laptops while they await their exam results popping up in their inboxes.

It’s often an uncertain period, with university or college applications hanging in the balance, depending on the awarded grades. Along with the ambiguity, young people can often feel pressured by their parents to study a certain kind of course, or follow a particular career.

You may find yourself arguing with you folks about your next move in life at this tense time. While sticking to your guns is important, bickering only makes the situation more stressful. We’ve got some top tips to help you remain calm while you come to a decision on the next chapter in your life.

Know your argument

If your parents want to sit down and have a proper discussion with you about your next move, it’s crucial that you’ve done your research so that you don’t come across as vague. If you’re certain about doing a university or college course, find out as much as you can about it. They will probably ask about who’d fund the course, how long the course is, and what your employment chances are once you’ve completed it. If it’s a gap year you want to do, have a plan of what you want to do and how you’d go about it. Make sure you have contact details of the gap year organisations in case they want to check them out themselves.

Stay calm

It’s easy for discussions to get overheated and turn into arguments when you’re passionate about something. Explain to your mum and/or dad that your love for something is what is driving you to do that course, or that apprenticeship. If they’re a bit resistant to your idea, don’t let it anger or frustrate you, but remain calm and continue to speak about how this is your big passion. Keep plugging the pros for doing what it is that you want to do, and soon they’ll come around to it.

Think about your tone of voice

If you come across as a bit apathetic, chances are your folks will not take you seriously, while if you seem uncertain about you’re saying, they might think you’ve not thought things through. If you’re super excited about living abroad for a while, make sure you show a bit of maturity too, by speaking slowly and in a serious tone, to show them that this is important to you – and not just banging on about how you can’t wait to party in Thailand.

Look at it from their point of view

As much as we’d like to deny it, your parents will always be your parents. They have been your age (although it may seem like that was centuries ago) and will have been at similar crossroads at points in their life. Listen to their guidance, and find out how they made decisions about their chosen career paths. Chances are, they’ll have more wisdom and understanding than you realise, and they’ll know your strengths and weaknesses from bringing you up.

Offer them options

Ultimately, you may find you need to do a bit of negotiating with your folks. If you can only give them one thing you’re considering going onto, then they may outright not like it and forbid you from doing it. Until you’re an adult, and preferably in your own place, they still have authority over you. Consider all the possibilities of what you could do next, and think about how a less preferred option could be a stepping stone onto something that you really want to do.

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