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How to Confront a High-Pressure Parent

Alonna Friedman
May 17, 2018

Knowing someone who is a high-pressure parent can be super stressful. Especially if you see his or her child having trouble living up to the demand.

Should you step in?

The experts from our story "5 Signs You're a High Pressure Parent" say this is not the time to stage an all-out intervention. The best advice in such a sticky situation is to stay out of it.

Why?

There's probably nothing you can say that will change his or her parenting style and it might only end up straining your relationship. If it's a really close friend and she comes to you seeking advice about her struggles with her child's performance, you can offer sympathy and light guidance. "Suggest that you've read about how a child who feels tremendous pressure from parents -- no matter how good the parents' intentions -- can sometimes react with the opposite behavior," says Boston-based psychotherapist Karen Ruskin, Psy.D, author of The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices.

The most important thing to remember: Never let the mom or dad feel you are judging! Instead, talk up their kid.

"Point out the child's strengths," suggests Robi Ludwig, Psy.D., a Care.com parenting expert. "Let the parents know how well their child handles herself on the playground or how he always seems so confident when he rides his bike." At the very least you can start to calm the parent's anxiety over her child's success and help remind her why her child is terrific. This is also great advice if you are the babysitter or nanny for this pressured child. You might not agree with the family's parenting style, but you can assure them the child is living up to expectations during your time together. 

Get tips on reducing stress if you're tutoring the child of a high-pressure parent.

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