Confessing that she’s felt obligated to openly explore all the unique, beautiful aspects of herself ever since being born to two tolerant, loving parents, 11-year-old Ava Matthews told reporters on Wednesday that she is already feeling the pressure to be her most authentic self possible.
“I just know I’d be letting my parents down if I wasn’t being the best version of myself that I could be in middle school and beyond,” said Ava. “It’s a lot to carry.”
Raised to be true to herself and constantly having her decisions and opinions validated by her parents, Ava has felt the weight of complete acceptance and unconditional love from a very young age.
A study conducted by child psychologists at the University of Irvine shows that parents often have exceedingly high expectations for their children, and will constantly drill these lofty goals into their psyche. This can cause children to experience immense stress and pressure to live up to those expectations and make their parents proud. This isn’t the case for Ava. Tragically, it’s the exact opposite. Living up to parental expectations becomes difficult when those expectations are just to “be anything you want to be.”
“The other kids aren’t even thinking about doing what makes them happy,” said Ava. “They’re just doing whatever it is they think would make their parents happy, no questions asked – must be nice!”
Due to the all too common push for conformity in our society, many people don’t really know who they are or what they want out of life until their 20s, 30s, or even later in life.
But Ava doesn’t have the luxury of time – at 11 years old, she can feel the clock ticking to be kind to herself and not conform to what anyone thinks she should be.
“Since day one, my parents have encouraged me to pursue my passions and to figure out what it is that I like and dislike for myself,” Ava told reporters. “With such a gentle and accommodating parenting style, the pressure to be my true self grows with each passing day.”
At press time, Ava even went so far as to claim that her parents were “emotionally mature” and “endlessly empathetic.” Good luck following in those footsteps!