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My Parents Expect Too Much

Dear Birdy,

I hope you can help me navigate through a situation that's been causing me a lot of stress and pressure. My name is Sammy, and I'm a 14-year-old black girl facing high expectations from my parents regarding my academic performance. They didn't finish high school themselves, and it seems like they are living vicariously through me, pushing me to excel in school.

While I understand their desire for me to have a better future, the pressure is becoming overwhelming. I'm afraid that if I do exceptionally well in my mostly white school, I might face undue scrutiny and be singled out due to both my race and academic success. It feels like I'm trapped between trying to meet my parents' expectations and worrying about the potential consequences of standing out.

Birdy, I don't want to disappoint my parents, but I also want to feel comfortable and accepted in my school environment. How can I find a balance between meeting their expectations and alleviating my fears of being treated differently because of my race and achievements?

Thank you for listening, and any advice or guidance you can offer would mean a lot to me.


Dear Sammy,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns with me. It's understandable that the pressure you're experiencing from your parents can be overwhelming, particularly when you worry about the potential consequences of excelling academically in a predominantly white school. I'm here to offer support and guidance as you navigate through this challenging situation.

First and foremost, it's important to remember that your worth is not solely determined by your academic achievements. Your parents may have their own aspirations and desires for you, but ultimately, you should prioritize your own well-being and happiness. Communicating openly with them about your concerns and fears can help them better understand your perspective.

While it's natural to feel concerned about standing out, it's crucial to remember that your achievements should be celebrated, regardless of your race. You have every right to succeed academically and be proud of your accomplishments. If you encounter any instances of discrimination or mistreatment, it's important to address them with the appropriate school authorities who can ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

Seeking support from friends, mentors, or community organizations can be beneficial as well. Surrounding yourself with individuals who uplift and support you, regardless of your academic success, can help create a sense of belonging and provide a network of understanding.

Remember, Sammy, you have the right to set your own goals and pursue your own passions. Your success should be measured by your own standards and aspirations, not solely by the expectations of others. Take the time to explore your interests and find what truly brings you joy and fulfillment.

If the pressure from your parents continues to weigh heavily on you, consider discussing your feelings with a school counselor or trusted adult who can help facilitate open communication and provide additional support.

Stay strong, Sammy, and trust in your own abilities and unique qualities. You have the strength to navigate through these challenges and create a future that aligns with your dreams and aspirations.

With care and support,


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