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The Thin Line Between Encouragement and Pressure 

Parenting is an exciting journey that comes with its challenges. As a parent, you want the best for your child, but at the same time, you don’t want to push them too hard. That’s where the thin line between encouragement and pressure comes in.

Parenting pressure can bring negative impacts on your child. According to an Arizona State University study, excess pressure on your children’s achievement can result in stress or depression. Parents are warned about the limits of encouraging children to avoid adverse effects.

So, how do you differentiate between encouragement and pressure? Parenting can be overwhelming, but thankfully, some guides on parenting and motherhood can be resourceful and help you make more informed decisions as a parent. Keep reading to learn more about encouragement and pressure, and much more.

Encouragement And Pressure: What’s The Difference?

Encouragement involves giving your child support, hope, motivation, and confidence to tackle their weak areas. Parental encouragement mostly applies when parents encourage their children to work better and improve their grades.

Pressure involves exerting force or too much emphasis, which may hurt your child’s emotions. In most cases, parental pressure comes from the parent’s good intentions. However, it can affect a child’s self-esteem when the parent scolds the child for the same or compares them with other children.

Signs You May Be Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child

Sometimes, you may press your child too much without even realizing it. Here are a few signs that you may be pushing your child too much:

  • You make all the decisions for your child and don’t want excuses.
  • You compare your child to others (in terms of academic success and other achievements).
  • You yell at your child too much every day.
  • You get excessively irritated by your child’s poor performance and even cause physical harm to them.

Parental pressure can be categorized as direct and indirect. Direct pressure involves yelling, complaining, and even using force on your child. Indirect pressure is about guilt-tripping, where you constantly remind your child of their shortcomings.

Dangers of Excess Pressure on Children

Intense pressure on your child can bring serious mental health consequences, including suicidal attempts in extreme conditions. A child who feels pressured by parents will most likely be stressed and might start to:

  • Suffer from constant anxiety attacks due to stress
  • Cheat in exams if you pressure your child academically
  • Stay isolated from other children/teens
  • Develop self-esteem issues because they believe they are not enough or they don’t achieve what you want them to
  • Stay awake till late at night or develop sleeping problems
  • Develop bad temper
  • Develop lethargy/loss of interest in studies and other things
  • Experience nightmares

These signs vary from child to child, and some children may suffer more when isolated. Always observe your child to check if something disturbs them, and find a solution.

Safe Parenting: How to Encourage Your Child Without Pressuring Them

A thin line exists between encouragement and pressure, so you should be careful when motivating your child to avoid hurting them unknowingly. Here are a few tips to encourage and show genuine love when teaching or advising your child.

Ask Questions Without Judging

Give your child time to explain, even if you suspect they did something wrong. Listen to them, and only provide advice once you know the child’s story. Something might be bothering them, and you may never know unless you listen.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Children have different interests, and you cannot force them into doing/attaining what you want. For instance, your preteen child may not be good at classwork but can do better in other activities. Instead of yelling or scolding them, you should maintain a positive attitude, watch their progress and help them make the right decisions.

Observe Your Child’s Mental State

Anytime is not a good talking time for your child, especially if they are teenagers. Instead of just walking in and talking to your child at any time you wish, prepare the child psychologically by telling them you would want to talk to them. By doing so, you prepare their minds and increase the success chances of your meeting.

Celebrate Your Child’s Accidents

Don’t always focus on the drawbacks of your child. Reward your child’s progress to create positive reinforcement, and make an impression that you appreciate your child’s efforts.

Seek Help

Lastly, parenting is hard, and you may need professional assistance when things get out of hand. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health practitioner whenever you feel your child is suffering mentally and doesn’t want to open up.


If you believe you have been pushing your child instead of encouraging them, it is not too late to make a change. Start a meaningful conversation with the child, set a good example, and seek professional help. Improving Lives Counseling Services can help you learn effective parenting techniques by speaking with a licensed counselor.