High-school and college years are decisive times, they mark the path for a young minds’ future endeavours. Without proper support, the road ahead might seem bumpy  or chaotic at certain times. It is imperative that we understand the source of the bumpiness and eliminate it from our train of thought. When choosing a career or a college you might find yourself in the situation where your parents do not condone your choices. You will face questions such as: What job to aim for? Which college to go? and some parents tend to want different things for their children. They might get more involved than it is the case in this decision making process.

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Graduation can be a difficult and stressful period. It’s the time youngsters need to find a level of congruence between personality and the professional environment. Also, they need to evaluate their strong suits, learn new information and experiment through internships, visits, interviews and so on. Alina is a 20 year old student at the College of Psychology in Cluj and she represents a very good example of how unsupportive parents can affect the life of a student. In the 12th grade, Alina loved to draw, sketch and paint. Her desire was to go to the University of Art and Design. Her parents, who wanted her to be safe and successful had a different viewpoint : ” If you become an artist, you’ll starve”. Her decision  was deeply influenced by what her parents said so she decided to meet them halfway and study psychology, that being something she might eventually love. This matter could have been approached in a different way. Mircea Radu, clinical and school psychologist, counselor and psychotherapist says that if youngsters were supported by their parents “in the case of failure, they would have the confidence of having something to circle back to“, a safe haven if you will. Besides this, they “would have access to more resources and opportunities  which oversee their choices through their parents’ feedback and recommendations.

According to Mircea Radu, there are plenty of reasons Alina partly succumbed to her parents’ wishes: fear of failure, fear of not disappointing them, fear of losing them, lack of self-confidence and of information, the need for comfort and a risk-free path.

WHY DO THEY DO IT?

Florin is a 24 year old student at the College of Sociology and Social Assistance in Cluj. He is another student who had to confront unsupportive parents, but in a slightly different way. Florin’s problem had something to do with legacies rather than starvation. His dream was to become a truck driver, but his parents wanted him to become a police officer, just like his father. Whilst it is an honor for some of us to continue in our parents’ footsteps, some want to do something different. So he let the years slip away as he did something he didn’t love. According to Mircea Radu, most parents believe that they encourage their children by doing something opposed to their opportunities because they know better. There could be another reason for parents being unsupportive. Like in Florin’s case, there could be also the problem of letting the bird fly from the nest. If he were to pursue truck driving, he would have travelled a lot and stopped being around the familiy. Parents might try to hinder their children leaving for too long. For some parents, who can exaggerate their  ability to be unsuportive of their children’s choice there is also the concept of ”losing face”. Parents care too much about what other family members, aquaintances, neighbours think so they put a roadblock on the childs’ highway of dreams. Mircea Radu says that “somehow a discrediting or disconsideration of the childs’ vision occurs.

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He also mentions that the first course of action when dealing with this type of parental figures is understanding and toleration. They have different standards, so you can approach this in two steps. The first one is for you to ask for emotional support, to be there for you so you can count on them, and not instrumental support, them offering resources and setting up plans. The most important step: “ask them to be happy about your happiness“, says Mircea Radu. In case this fails and there is no possibility of changing their beliefs, you will have to look for confidence in others, you will have to inform yourself and learn to manage your time.

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