Parents tend to project their own dreams and aspirations, onto their children. And sometimes it doesn't work out as planned...
Forced Into Chess Club?
“When I was a kid at the chess club, there was another kid there. He started school at 8 am. Then he sang in a choir. After that it was football. Then chess. After that home to do homework. We usually finished around 9 pm. Having 1½-2 hours worth of homework wasn’t unusual. All his days were something like that.
He didn’t even get to play himself. His grandma (who only knew how the pieces moved and nothing about strategy) sat there telling him what to do. She didn’t even attempt to explain why she thought it was a good move, just ‘do it’. I started getting more and more annoyed at her. I wanted to play with her grandson, not Mrs. ‘Do everything I say without question or explanation’. He played a lot better when grandma wasn’t there. She acted really offended when I told her to let him play, shut up for a few moves and then she was at it again.
Eventually, he quit everything except school. I kept hoping that he’d show up at the chess club without grandma, but I understand why he didn’t.”
His Busy Schedule Left Him Friendless…
“My sister, who I love dearly, was a jock when we were kids. She dominated at every sport and focused hard on getting a sports scholarship, which she ultimately did.
But it took a toll on her. She wound up on a college gymnastics team/cheerleader squad and bulimic.
One day, training on the trampoline, she blacked out in mid air, probably from low blood sugar, and landed badly enough to screw her arm and back up.
She did alright after that, but her athletic career was over. She wound up working her butt off to make it to a pretty high position in one of America’s most hated companies. Focusing on her career meant she didn’t have much time to settle down with a nice guy, so she wound up not having kids.
In her mid-forties, she took some time off and adopted a kid from a Russian orphanage. If you know anything about conditions in those places you know she essentially saved his life. She threw everything she had into being a good mother to him even sacrificing progress with her career.
But right from the start, she determined that he would be an athlete and started pushing him hard to join teams and get extra very expensive coaching from retired professional players. He was going to be a pitcher and that was that.
I’d see the kid every year or so (I live far away) and he was happy, but there was a brittleness there. Every afternoon there was either a game or training. Coaches said he had good speed but not enough control or reliability.
Finally, this year when he’s 14 things start to come together and he’s throwing consistent fastball strikes for two or three innings per game.
But when I see him he complains because he doesn’t have many friends. He simply doesn’t have time to play with other kids. He can’t eat a lot of the things that he likes because he’s on an athlete’s diet. Whenever he talks to me it’s never about sports but about movies he likes or video games that he’d like to play.
Last I heard he blew his arm out and was resting up, but if you know anything about those things, you know that pitching has a lot of potential to damage your elbow and shoulder. I’d actually be relieved for him if I didn’t know she’d just start him at basketball next.”
He Didn’t Belong In The Boxing Ring
“I got into boxing at 11-years-old, but I wanted to do it because I liked it. I did it for a couple of years and I remember when I was 14 this dad brought his son in who was about my age to start boxing.
The kid looked like he belonged behind a lab desk, not in a ring from the start. We all start somewhere so I didn’t think anything of it, but I over heard the kid constantly telling his father he didn’t want to do it.
So this jerk of a dad talks to the gym owner into letting the kid in the ring despite the head coach’s protest.
The kid got murdered in the ring. He just had no fighters heart to be in there and it made me sick. The other kids sparring him wasn’t even that good and only started a maybe 2 weeks before this happened.
The kid started to cry in the ring corned after round one and walked out of the gym with his father looking angry in tow.
Saddest thing I’ve ever seen.”
‘Stalker Mom’ Wanted To Keep Tabs On Daughter…
“I had a friend whose mother constantly pushed her into being a majorette, and doing every state and county beauty pageant she could. She literally has like two rooms in her house that are just floor to ceiling trophies and tiaras.
Instead of calling her ‘soccer mom,’ we called her ‘stalker mom,’ because she would show up at/after school and make sure her daughter was practicing her routines and stuff during recess/lunch/etc. She was insanely controlling, would never let her stay over for a sleepover, beat her on a regular basis, and would completely barge in and take over when the school took photos of the extracurriculars because she had to make sure her daughter was front and center and posed just the way she wanted. I could tell my friend wasn’t happy about it, but she plastered that plastic smile on her face like the perfect little twirler her mom wanted her to be.
She was part of a dance team I was on one year, and her mom tried to pull that controlling stuff with our teacher, but thankfully, she stood her ground and didn’t let her mother gain an inch. But she continued to be ‘stalker mom’ for the year her daughter was on the team, peeking in through the windows/doors and making sure her daughter was front and center.
The last time I saw my friend was probably four years ago or so. She was 23 and in a pageant competing against a bunch of high schoolers. From what I heard, she dropped out of college within the first year because she went freaking nuts being away from home. She ended up contracting multiple STDs, gained a ton of weight, became an alcoholic, lost all of her awarded money for school, and moved back home, where her mom started pushing her back into pageantry and twirling.
I sometimes wonder what my friend would have done instead of being a majorette/princess/queen if her mom hadn’t done that to her.”
Harsh Study Habits To Persuade Him Into Medicine
“A friend of mine when I was a preteen (I’ll call him Sam) was pushed so hard by his mother to excel in school that when his grades fell (from straight A+’s to just A’s) and he got into an argument with his parents, his mom locked him out of his room and forced him to live in a kitchen closet for a week. Including sleeping and studying in the little windowless room with one dangling light bulb, etc, like in a freakin’ JK Rowling book.
I should also mention that Sam could play more than one musical instrument and practiced on his own in addition to his heavy school work load, and was actually quite good at it. He had almost no understanding of that fact, though, since his mother would always make double-edged comments to him about his musical abilities as well.
Guess what Sam was supposed to study for when he went to college? He went to become a doctor…
He had no interest in medicine either, preferred physical sciences, but they didn’t pay as well so his parents ‘selected’ his career path for him.
I lost contact with him years back, no idea what he’s doing now.”
The Dad Was The Reason For The Social Services Referrals?
“Family I used to work with basically ignored their two daughters to focus on their son. Dad jokes that he ‘made’ his wife have three kids so because they needed a son.
He was a mediocre football player in middle school, no one in his family was very big. The dad sold the family house and they moved into a trailer home so that they could afford these expensive private lessons and camps for the kid.
The two daughters had to share a room in a trailer, eventually got involved in sports because they needed to be out of the house, were on our state-champ soccer team. Never a bit of attention. They might as well not have existed.
They fed that kid special meals so he was always ‘training’ and dad coached his every workout. He did end up getting on the JV team, but basically didn’t make varsity because he was too small, and the dad was too aggressive.
It was excruciating to watch. The family had been referred to social services several times because the girls were basically on their own, and the dad was so aggressive with the son. The mom eventually had some kind of breakdown. One of the many reasons I hate football, and sports for kids specifically. It was in the South, so people were constantly defending this dude.”
Setting Up Her Marriage To Her Awful Husband
“When I was younger I used to stay with a neighbor’s mom after school while my parents worked.
On the last day of school one year, I came to their house with a blanket for each of her kids as a thank you for taking care of me. They were just the fleece no-sew blankets, but the mom was amazed and asked me how I made them, how long it took me, etc.
Eventually, she asked if I wanted to make a career out of it. I said no, that I wanted to be a teacher. Her eyes just lit right up and she told me about how she had wanted to be a teacher as a little girl too, but her parents had refused to let her go to college.
Apparently, they’d forced her to marry her husband instead because he had the connections to leave their home country of Pakistan and they had always wanted her to live in the USA. Shortly after they married, he moved her to America with him, and she hadn’t seen her family since.
Eventually, I was old enough to stay home by myself and only saw the family at neighborhood gatherings. It came out that her husband had been abusing her and her children for years, and was now leaving them to go back to Pakistan.
But because my neighbor’s parents had kept her from following her dream, she had no work experience to get a job and recently had to sell her house just to stay afloat.
The whole thing makes me sick.”
He Can’t Become A Soccer Star Anymore!
“I used to play on a lot of soccer teams when I was a kid (maybe from 6 years old to about 14 or so) and this kid’s dad used to always show up to his games and yell at the ref about calls being made about his kid and things like that. He yells at his son to run faster and work harder but when his son screws up somewhere it’s either his son is a failure or the ref is picking on his son.
You know the type.
Anyway, one day when I was about 13 or 14 this kid showed up with his dad and started stretching with the rest of us but he looked very tired. We asked him what was up but barely got an audible grunt before his dad ran toward him and asked him if he wanted his drink. About 20 minutes after drinking this drink the kid was bouncing all over the place and looked like he was ready to play 20 games.
About half way through the game the kid’s dad was yelling and screaming as usual and the kid goes to kick the ball then ends up on the ground. We were all wondering what the heck happened. His dad ran up and started yelling as usual and getting bad blaming the other kid on the other team for going after the ball at the same time (I mean the whole point of playing a game is to win right?). He ended up being carried away on a cart from an ambulance and we didn’t hear from him for a while.
About 3 games later and we see him on the sidelines with a cast on his leg and his dad looking mad with his mom next to his dad and giving him stern looks. Turns out his dad had been giving his kid caffeine pills to boost his energy and making him practice hardcore at home and in doing this he strained his leg too much to the point of him tearing his ACL due to the increased stress combined with his recklessness of the caffeine.
We all felt really bad for him but his mom was freaking ANGRY at the dad. Reamed him out hardcore any time he was about to speak up to the ref and tell him how to do his job. She apparently had no idea what her son was going through and the dad used to be some huge soccer star and was about to go pro or something.
Never saw him much after that, the mom ended up going to the games with him after his leg healed up but he could never play professionally anymore due to that injury.
Last I heard from that kid is he grew up and is going to school for pharmacology or something, so good for him.”
Only Option Was To Become A Pilot In The Army
“For a little bit, I was working as a flight instructor.
Let me preface this with flying isn’t for everyone. Often the students I had either came from money or their parents were pilots themselves.
One particular student of mine just had no business being behind the controls of a plane. He didn’t know East from West. He couldn’t look out the window and ballpark a distance. On one occasion we were about a minute from a nose to nose collision with another small aircraft, I pointed it out to him, he looked at the other plane, and kinda did a ‘this is my life now’ sort of thing until I took the controls.
Anyways I couldn’t continue giving him lessons because he just didn’t want to be there. His goal was to be an officer in the Army. We had a sit-down talk about me discontinuing his course and he started crying and pouting.
Turns out his dad was a pilot and told him if he goes into the Army he has to fly helicopters and the private pilot certificate would help him get there. 19 years old and in tears. That day sucked. He quit flying for good after our talk. I think he made it to officer school though.”
Taught To Become Extremely Competitive?
“I’m 19 years old now, but one memory from when I was 10 has always stuck with me.
In school, we had to do these arithmetics tests: 200 simple multiplications (10s table and below) in 5 minutes. The test was taken in 5 bursts, so you’d do 40 multiplications in one minute, put down your pencil for a half-minute break and then repeat four more times.
There was this one girl in my class who’d make it a game to be the fastest to put down her pencil. It didn’t really matter to her how many answers she got correct (she tried, of course, to get as many right as possible), the one thing she truly cared for was how fast she could finish each set of 40.
It just so happened that I was the maths whizz-kid of our class, and so I’d always be the single person in the room with full scores while also being one of the fastest. I’d always find her smiling victoriously in my direction whenever she’d put the pencil down before me, completely disregarding the fact that she’d definitely made more mistakes than me.
Being the silly young boy I was, I asked her about why she did this. That was an interesting conversation, and it boiled down to this: She was taught from a young age, by her parents, that you should always strive to beat everyone else in the room in whatever way possible. She knew she couldn’t beat me in terms of performance, so she resorted to beating me in terms of speed.
I’ve only felt pity for her afterward, really. I can’t imagine the burden placed on a child by parents who only care for their child to be the best. We’re coworkers now, and I experience and can still see the effects it’s had on her.”
Goals For Him To Become A Concert Pianist
“Parents of a 12-year-old boy envisioned him becoming a ‘concert pianist’ and brought him to me for lessons. (He had been taking lessons previously with a different teacher, but it wasn’t going anywhere.)
I asked him what his dreams were – what was of interest to him. It was clear that he liked the piano a lot, but becoming a professional pianist was his parents’ vision for his future, not his.
His folks kept ‘pushing, pushing, pushing,’ forcing him to practice more hours and to stay focused almost entirely on learning new pieces – to the point where at one lesson he broke into tears and said he liked learning music, but couldn’t stand the pressure from his parents anymore.
At that point, I interceded on his behalf and explained that they were driving him away from music rather than drawing him to it.
Thankfully, they heeded my advice and stopped lessons until such time as he might decide for himself to resume – which, I’m happy to report, he did! Now, he plays beautifully and very relaxed.”
Born To Be Creative…
“In high school, we had this one kid in my class who was 3 years younger than the rest of the seniors.
His parents forbade him from everything that didn’t have to do with finances, accounting, money, and all that jazz.
This kid would sign up for different classes like band, art, extra foreign languages, architecture design, but his helicopter mom would switch his classes to advanced math classes, statistics, entrepreneurship, accounting, money and me, and everything that remotely dealt with numbers.
Apparently, his mom thought with all these classes he’d take, that he would become a millionaire in a matter of a few years.
I hope he escaped the numerical onslaught his mother put the poor guy into.”
Becoming A Professional Baseball Player
“I’ve got a cousin who’s basically been trained his whole life to be a professional baseball player. That’s all his dad has ever let him focus on. Grades don’t matter. Other hobbies don’t matter. His dad is just determined that he’s gonna be a professional. And admittedly my cousin does love baseball. But he’s never gonna be a professional.
He’s got some sort of disease that he was born with. When it’s in remission he’s fine. But when it flares up his bones get really brittle and break all the time. And his whole body hurts and he runs high fevers and is tired all the time. It just doesn’t make sense.
Now he’s about to graduate high school and he has no idea what he’s doing. He’s still convinced that he’s gonna get a baseball scholarship and study…who knows. But that’s just not a possible future for him. And now his grades aren’t good enough, and he hasn’t developed any other interests, to have a fallback.”
His Restrictions Made For A Lazy Life For His Children…
“My brother-in-law… He was raised in a very (extremely) religious and strict family, where at 16 you had to get a job and turn over your pay to the household kitty jar.
He wasn’t allowed to drink, smoke or dance. His music was restricted and he had curfews.
When he became a parent he refused to parent his kids and let them be ‘free souls who choose their own way to live’.
Well, now he’s stuck with three kids who do nothing but sit around doing illegal activities and mouthing off constantly as well as having kids themselves and dumping them on them for weeks at a time. Getting busted for underage drinking, dropped out of school, and complain about how hard life is for them.
A loser raising losers. Sighhh…”
She Escaped Her Father And His Plans For Her!
“Someone in my A-Level (16-18) chemistry class really did not want to be there. She was extremely intelligent, I think had a learning difficulty, and had a full understanding of the material, but had no interest in it at all. Some of the class picked on her because of it and once ended up causing a laboratory accident with her as the victim, she still came to class afterward (though now with glasses – she got permanent eye damage from the accident and the lecturer did not have eye wash in the laboratory, which is well illegal), but she was even more disinterested.
Talked to her once when meeting her by chance in the library between classes. Turns out that both her dad and step mother were in the sciences (biochemist and doctor) and her siblings had moved out. So the parents pushed everything onto her after noticing her very good science grades at GCSE level. Decided her future for her basically, whether she liked it or not. Straight into mathematics, biology and chemistry and A-Level, extra tuition classes after college and twelve hours a day on Saturday and Sunday. She knew what she was talking about and had a very good grasp at sciences – she was so good at biology she once taught her class about nerves when the teacher stepped out because the teacher hadn’t explained it clearly enough. Her parents wanted her to go onto either getting a degree in biochemistry or in a medical field. But she hated it.
However, she loved history, and would sneakily research it between classes. Want to know a list of Chinese Emperors from the 12th century to the fall of imperial China? She’ll quote them to you in order with all of their reign dates. Want to know about Welsh class churches, she could detail you where several were built and what saint they were based around. What were some of the events leading up to the death of Thomas Becket? She could give you several potential reasons why someone would have wanted him dead. You wanted to know history, she was the one to go to.
Lost contact with her after passing college, but we came back into contact a couple of years ago. Managed to get away from her dad and step mother, gained freedom to do what she wanted. She has now a degree from the London based School of African and Oriental Studies, speaks four languages and works in translating historical documents in museums.”