Children pleasing overachieving parents run risk of mental health illness

by | Oct 18, 2022

Listen to the full interview.

In some instances, parents disown their children for pursuing their dreams instead of following what they chose for them to do.

Clement Manyathela spoke to Jeanie Cavé – Clinical psychologist, about the cost of having high-achieving parents.


Parents can be programmed to decide what they want their children to become with the choice of studies or path to sustain a family legacy.

However, are they aware of the long-term mental effects that harm their children’s ability and adulthood?

Clement Manyathela explores the conversation with a clinical psychologist, Jeanie Cavé.

Cave said parents who always decide what is best for their children, run a risk contributing to the risk for future mental health illness in their children.

Parents wants their children to be acceptable, successful, and that becomes a measure of what is a well-adjusted child who is getting good marks, getting sports colours, a prefect and doing all of those things.

Jeanie Cavé, Clinical psychologist

There is a definitely a very high level of anxiety, lots of level of stress, and most of all, children fear of rejection, judgment, and burnouts.

Jeanie Cavé, Clinical psychologist

She added that private schools in South Africa also play a pivotal role in embedding children to follow their parent’s high cost-of-achievement demands.

Many children end up doing courses or life choices that are not based on preference but on those that please their parents.

In South Africa, there is a highly competitive school culture especially on high achieving communities that schools themselves are very competitive and wants their children to excel.

Jeanie Cavé, Clinical psychologist

Cave also elaborated that parents enforcing their demands on children also run the risk of losing out on opportunities to bond and form healthy relationships.

It actually robs the joy of the relationship, and it becomes about achievement instead of a bond, and there is an element risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Jeanie Cavé, Clinical psychologist

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