Oracle After Hours: Parents vs peers: the struggle to find our own identity amidst the varying expectations


Sophia Pinc, columnist

Ever since I was young, my mom has hated onions. When I was a child, every time we would go through a drive through, she would adamantly tell the worker not to put onions on any of our burgers. I grew up despising onions, even though I never even tried one until I was well into middle school. I just knew my mom did not like them, so why should I?

My parents have been my greatest influencers for the majority of my life. Their opinions would become my opinions, simply due to the fact that I knew nothing else. I remember berating my friends in elementary school about how bad the TV show Spongebob was, even though I had never seen it in my life. Yet because of my parents opinions on it – apparently it was inappropriate and unstimulating–I automatically assumed their side. 

Our parents are our role models in life. They are who we look up to, and they were the ones who taught us the difference between right and wrong. We often strived to be like them and follow in their footsteps.

My parents taught me the usual life lessons: “Be kind to others,” “Don’t give into peer pressure” and “Try your best in everything.” These were things I grew up hearing all the time in my household. I never doubted that I would continue to follow these morals when I went into high school. 

However, as we grow older and become more independent, the lines between right and wrong become a bit more blurred. Oftentimes our peers have different ideals and morals than we grew up with- and the struggle to choose between “right” and “popular” can be much harder than what we first thought. 

Peer pressure is not the image we all grew up hearing about–you know, the group of friends threatening you to drink or do drugs and who will outcast or bully you if you don’t? Not so realistic. 

However, there are expectations that I do see throughout high school. If you dress a certain way or think a certain way, people may view and judge you based on that one thing. So then comes the pressure to find a balance between what your peers approve of and what your parents approve of. An outfit that all your friends may think is super cute is seen as too revealing to your mom. A funny joke that you laugh about with your peers is called mean or immature by your dad. 

My parents always told me to do my best so that I will succeed. But then I was called a “tryhard” by one of my peers on a group project- and realized caring about grades is not always the “cool” thing among our age group. It certainly made me much less eager to try in future projects.

I have always been someone that cares what others think. Most of us are, even if we don’t like to admit it. The tug-of-war between meeting the standards of our families while still fitting in with our peers can make it difficult to figure out who we are and what we really want.
I am attempting to figure out my own values and goals, same as everybody else in high school. No one has the perfect solution that will suddenly result in everyone being happy.  

However, I think it is important to acknowledge that you are not going to please everyone, no matter what. All you can do is continue to focus on your own goals and what makes you happy and go from there. In the middle of all these standards and rules comes our own personal journey to figure out “what are the expectations that I have for myself?”