The Outcome for Children of Demanding Parents

Demanding parents have one thing in mind: they want their children to be the best. But what happens when you push your children too much?
The Outcome for Children of Demanding Parents
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Parents want the best for the children. However, the problem lies when they become demanding parents. They don’t understand that their children see their wishes as demands, and get a different result. This, however, doesn’t justify their behavior.

Many demanding parents had parents who were demanding as well. Nothing seemed enough, and it wasn’t only about good grades at school. If they were practicing a sport they weren’t good at, there was always a “but or a “you could do better”.

Since this is how they were brought up, demanding parents think this is the way to go with their children. However, this parenting style may have some bad consequences.

A demanding parent with a rebellious teenager.

Demanding parents are obsessed with perfection

Children of demanding parents are always trying to meet their parents’ expectations. As they think that nothing they do will ever be enough, children start feeling guilty. Sadly, children start demanding too much from themselves, beyond their capabilities or the resources they have at hand. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety.

According to the ANAR Foundation, for children and teens at risk, “A certain structure of the personality (self-demandingness, the need for control, looking for perfection…) can lead to some eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia“.

If a child’s parents tell them, “It’d be great if you get a B- in Math” and then, when they get that grade, they say, “We know you could do it. Now, try to get a B+”, this makes it complicated for the child. They’ll start believing their parents will never be completely proud or satisfied. Maybe not at first, but when the child gets an A and they’ll ask for an A+, the child will eventually burst.

Parents want their children to do well at school, but when it turns into a vicious cycle, where parents are never proud until the next big thing. This is a demanding environment that can lead to the disorders previously stated: anorexia and bulimia. However, this isn’t the only way children can react to their demanding parents.

A young child with anxiety problems.

Parents who aren’t happy with any result

Children with demanding parents may break under pressure. According to Dr. Amy Bobrow, a clinical psychologist and professor, “Make sure you communicate with your child when you’re proud when they did a good job. It’s important to balance that out. Otherwise, it becomes ‘Why are you always nagging me, always on my back‘”.

As nothing they do is ever enough, children can start showing different attitudes. All personalities are different, though. However, besides the disorders we stated above, these are some warning signs that’ll let you know when something isn’t working:

  • A passive attitude that makes it seem as if they don’t care about anything. They feel sad, discouraged, and keep their head low. On the inside, they feel like a failure. This can lead to depression.
  • Rebellious actions to annoy their parents or start engaging in vandalism. They want to get attention.

There are many ways to behave. However, the child can’t stay alert and they’re always looking for recognition and trying to meet their parents’ expectations.

Sooner or later, they’ll end up feeling depressed or just doing whatever their parents don’t want them to because they feel frustrated by that. The problem is that both reactions have bad consequences.

More often than not, this makes a lot of children drop out of school or stop practicing a sport they used to love. They just can’t take it anymore. It’s too much pressure. That’s why, even though demanding parents just want the best for their children, in most cases, they get the opposite result.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Casarín, A. V., & Infante, T. (2006). Familia y rendimiento académico. Revista de educación y desarrollo5, 55-59.
  • González, A. E. M., Saura, C. J. I., Rodríguez, J. A. P., & Linares, V. R. (2010). Importancia de los amigos y los padres en la salud y el rendimiento escolar. Electronic Journal of research in educational psychology8(1), 111-138.
  • Moore, S. G. (1997). El papel de los padres en el desarrollo de la competencia social. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois.
  • Ramírez, M. A. (2005). Padres y desarrollo de los hijos: prácticas de crianza. Estudios pedagógicos (Valdivia)31(2), 167-177.

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