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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    The Price of Being 'Golden': The Challenges of Fulfilling Unattainable Expectations

    It is a strange phenomenon when many adult lives are still wrapped around making their parental figures happy and proud, no matter the cost. The enigma of the 'golden child' is that they are not simply loved for who they are, but more so for what they do. Their achievements and successes become an extension of their parent's self worth, and when they fail to meet those specified expectations it can create rifts in the family.

    As children, feeling loved is the most important thing in their world and often their sole purpose is to please those that care for them. Most parents have unconditional love for their children, but the one with the golden child is different. Instead of just loving them for being their special, unique individual, the affection comes from what they can achieve or have achieved in life. The result is a situation in which the child feels a pressure to succeed or fear the disappointment of their parent. This can lead to a variety of emotional issues as the child grows and develops, including anxiety, depression and emotional disconnection from their parent.

    The problem with this dynamic is that ‘golden child' without any kind of guidance may lose their sense of self and start relying on outside forces to feel appreciated. This can create confusion and doubt in those moments of conflict, as they struggle to identify the need to follow their own path and dreams or to conform to their parent's expectations. Early on, childhood events can have such a strong impact on the way our future selves shape out that it is almost impossible to separate the two.

    Fortunately, there are ways to break this pattern of over-dependence on the need for external validation and recognize the importance of self-worth. It starts by recognizing the parent's expectation before they become entrenched in the child's consciousness. They should also be accepting of failure, reactive rather than proactive when dealing with their doubts and struggles and refrain from imposing personal successes or failures onto their children.

    Most importantly, parents of a 'golden child' should take a step back and focus on how they can support their child. Start by actively listening and spending quality time with them, talking about their dreams and needs. This can help children become more secure in the future and embrace the idea of making mistakes and learning from them. remind children that they can look up to their parents but also must look within themselves for the power to achieve their goals.

    At its core, being the ‘golden child' can lead to a life filled with regrets and conflicts due to the unattainable expectations often created by society and its ideals. With the right guidance and support it is possible for the golden child to reach the light and find the courage to be whoever they want to be, valuing their own unique characteristics and passions.

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