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Can Parental Expectations Impact A Child’s Career?

Updated: Feb 27

Parental expectations play a crucial role in shaping a child's career and success. From a very young age, children are influenced by parental hopes and aspirations. These expectations can have both positive and negative effects on a child's career path.

If you want your child to make a mindful career choice and enjoy the career he/she chooses, then you must understand how parental expectations can influence a child’s choices and opportunities. How it can influence their career trajectory.


Let’s understand the various aspects that impact a child, such as motivation, pressure, self-esteem, and decision-making. Read along to explore the impact of parental expectations on a child's career success.

The Role of Parental Expectations on a Child's Career

Children mostly see parents as their significant role models. Their aspirations and expectations can heavily influence a child's career choices and goals. The impact of parental expectations starts at a very early age in a child's life.

As a parent, one indulges in giving various kinds of exposure to their children. This exposure most of the time aligns with the dreams and ambitions of the parents. For example, A mother of a child is good at painting, so she indulges her child to learn it and develop it as a hobby.

Most of the time, parents want their children to pursue the hobbies that they wanted to pursue as a child, but could not. For example: A father who could not learn cricket in a proper academy, makes sure his child learns cricket or maybe pursues it in future from a good cricket academy. Another example: A parent who is a doctor or a lawyer wants his son or daughter to pursue the same profession, because of the perks or the stature in the society.

Through these early experiences, expectations and hobbies; children begin to form an understanding of what is expected of them. It can be an expectation to develop a sense of orientation for their future careers similar to theirs.

Motivation and Drive

The impact of expectations can be positive also. One of the positive impacts of parental expectations is the motivation and drive that gets instilled in the child from a young age. When parents express expectations for their children's achievements, it can serve as a powerful motivator.

For example: Inspired by the parent, the child would want to choose the same profession. It may be due to the perks, the dignity, the luxury, or the passion that the child observes in their parents.

If the child takes this up in a positive way, he/she will strive and work hard to excel in their chosen fields. This drive can push children to go above and beyond, propelling them toward success in their careers.

But, not always. These expectations can have a negative impact on the child too.

Pressure and Stress

Pressure and stress can be a factor that can impact a child’s career in a negative way too. The fear of disappointing their parents or falling short of expectations can create anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Excessive pressure can negatively impact a child's mental health. It can also hamper their performance.

Hence, it is essential for parents to strike a balance between setting expectations and providing support. It ensures the child that their well-being is not compromised.

Self-esteem and Confidence

Parental expectations significantly impact the child's self-esteem and confidence. When parents set the right expectations and demonstrate confidence in their child's abilities, it fosters a sense of assurance in the child.

They feel supported and capable of achieving their goals. For setting the right expectations, the child needs to make an informed decision.

On the other hand, unrealistic expectations or constant criticism can erode a child's self-esteem. It can lead them to have self-doubt and a lack of confidence in their abilities.


Parental expectations can influence a child's decision-making process in choosing a career path. Some parents may exert strong control over their child's choices. They try to align their child’s careers with their own desires or societal expectations. While this guide can be beneficial, it is essential to allow children the freedom to explore their interests and passions. Allowing them to make their own decisions, empowers them to take ownership of their career choices. This leads the children to feel a greater sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.

Assessments like stream assessments or career assessments enable the child to make the right stream or career decisions. This way, even the parents get clarity about the best career choice for their child.

It is crucial for parents to provide constructive feedback and encouragement to help their child develop a positive self-image. It is vital for parents to understand the importance of personalised career guidance for their child if at all they are in a dilemma about career or stream choices.

FAQs about the Impact of Parental Expectations on a Child’s Career Success

How can parental expectations positively impact a child's career success?

Parents' high expectations can motivate children to work hard and strive for success in their chosen careers. It provides them with the drive and determination necessary to excel. However, it is important for parents to understand their child’s ambitions. If the child is confused about career options, he/she can opt for career guidance. Anagat has a team of expert career coaches who can guide the child in making an informed career decision.

What are the potential negative effects of parental expectations on a child's career success?

How can parents strike a balance between setting expectations and supporting their child's well-being?

How do parental expectations influence a child's decision-making process?

What can parents do to positively impact their child's career success?

How can a child overcome the negative impact of parental expectations?

Can parental expectations hinder a child's career success?

What if a child's career aspirations differ from parental expectations?

Parental expectations have a profound impact on a child's career success. While they can serve as a powerful motivator, pushing children to excel, excessive pressure and unrealistic expectations can have detrimental effects. It is essential for parents to strike a balance, providing support and guidance while respecting their child's career choices and interests. By fostering a nurturing and supportive environment, parents can positively influence their child's career path and help them achieve long-term success.

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