The Great Fear of Disappointing Your Parents

Read all about the fear of disappointing your parents!
The Great Fear of Disappointing Your Parents

Last update: 05 May, 2019

There are many factors that can keep you from reaching your goals, such as procrastination, lack of clarity in your goals, or laziness. In this regard, there’s one factor that can greatly affect your long-term happiness, despite the fact that not many people consider it. We’re talking about the fear of disappointing your parents.

For many people, other people’s opinions are fundamental to their self-concept. Our parents’ opinions of us tend to affect us. That being said, some people don’t reach their life goals just because they’re too scared of not being up to par; which, as a consequence, may disappoint the two people they love the most.

In this article, we’ll be studying this fear and how it can affect your personal development. In addition, we’ll tell you how to deal with it and eradicate it.

The Reason Why You’re Scared of Disappointing Your Parents

Most of us care deeply about what our parents think about us. Thus, to a certain extent, our self-esteem relies on others’ opinions. It’s usually very difficult to develop self-love if we surround ourselves with people who don’t think we’re good enough.

In the case of our parents, this becomes even more complicated. Generally speaking, they tend to value different things. It’s very common for you and your parents to have different opinions, tastes, and personality traits. Nonetheless, you must keep in mind that you’re your own person. Therefore, sometimes you must make your own decisions and run the risk of upsetting your parents.

At first, the fear of disappointing your parents doesn’t really make any sense. Their love is supposed to be unconditional, right? However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, their ways of expressing themselves or treating you can make you feel that you’ll only count on their support if you do what they want.

According to psychologist Isabel Menéndez Benavente, today’s parents want their children to be well-educated, competitive, and get good grades. Some parents even come to demand too much, not even knowing if their children are interested in what they’re asking them to do. Others disregard their children’s abilities and weaknesses.

A upset-looking young girl standing between both of her parents.

What Are the Consequences of this Fear?

For some people, the simple possibility of losing their parents’ love and support keeps them from doing what they truly want. Each person expresses this fear in their own way:

  • Choosing a “safe” job. In order not to disappoint their parents, some individuals study a career they don’t really like but perceive will lead to financial stability.
  • Avoiding taking risks. Do you have any goals that you haven’t pursued due to your fear of failing? Generally speaking, this is due to something called social sanction, which makes you avoid doing things you might fail at just out of fear of disappointing our loved ones.
  • Avoiding relationships. This fear may make people avoid building romantic or sexual relationships out of fear of what their parents might think. This is usually typical of homosexual people, but it also happens to heterosexual individuals.

As you can see, the fear of disappointing your parents can affect almost all areas of your life. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with it. In the following section, you’ll discover some very effective ones.

Father and son hugging.

How to Eradicate this Fear

  • Put yourself first. Disappointing your parents can be very painful. However, not meeting your own expectations can be even more so. How would you feel if you hadn’t fulfilled any of your dreams in ten years? In the end, the only person who can choose how to live is you.
  • Remember that your parents are different. Due to things such as your different personalities and tastes, or the social changes of recent decades, it’s very likely that their opinions won’t mean what’s best for you.
  • Be assertive. If you’ve decided to face the fear of disappointing your parents and start living as you wish, you’re probably going to have to talk to them about it sooner or later. In order to do it in the best possible way, you should resort to skills such as empathy, persuasive communication, and emotional control. All of them are part of what we know as assertiveness.

Facing the fear of disappointing your parents can be very complicated, especially if you still live with them. However, doing so is rewarding. After all, you’re the only one who knows what you really want and what’s best for you.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.