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How to stop trying to please your parents?

How to stop trying to please your parents?

As children, we are taught to honor our parents, respect them, and make them proud. However, somewhere along the way, we confuse those things with blindly trying to please them at the expense of our own happiness. Granted, some parents do teach that to their children, but we’re here to set the record straight. You don’t have to please your parents at every turn to make them feel proud of you. 

If they make you feel like you do, respectfully; they’re wrong. That being said, it can be difficult to let go of the mindset of duty. So, we want to help with that. Here are a few tips on how to stop trying to please your parents and start living more for yourself. 

You might be surprised to find that your parents will still love you and be proud of the things you accomplish even when you’re only living for yourself. In the end, all they want is for their kids to be okay, happy, and have a good life. 

5 Tips to Stop Trying to Please Your Parents:

1. Accept that your efforts are futile:

Look back at your history with your parents for a moment. You’ve been trying to please them for so long, but are they ever really pleased? Or do they make you feel like there’s always something more you need to do? More often than not, it’s the latter. 

When people are naturally hard to please, nothing is ever good enough. It’s not always personal, sometimes it’s just who they are. They may be hard on themselves too. Once you interiorize that there’s no way of actually pleasing your parents, you can finally accept that your efforts are futile and it has nothing to do with you. So, why keep trying? It’s time to put that energy elsewhere. 

2. Start honoring your needs:

If you’ve been working hard on trying to please your parents, it’s safe to say you’ve been neglecting your own needs. When you do that, your needs start manifesting in ways you don’t always understand. For example, you may feel envious of others, resentful, trapped, and even bitter. 

Those are not the personality traits of a happy, fulfilled person. So, it’s time to start honoring your needs. Start by identifying them, which can be difficult if you haven’t listened to yourself for so long. Once you know what your needs are, you can prioritize them and start making the necessary changes. 

3. Set boundaries with your parents:

Moving your relationship with your parents toward a healthier path is not easy for anyone involved, but it’s a must. Start by setting boundaries and enforcing them to let your parents know that this is a real change. Now, don’t set a bunch of hard boundaries at once. That would be overwhelming and will make the process more difficult than it has to be.

Instead, start small and go from there. Make sure the boundaries are based on your needs and desires. For example, if you’re always available to your parents, that needs to change. Realistically, you can’t always be there, so it’s time to dial it back to a healthier degree. 

4. Don’t try too hard to see eye to eye:

Some people can’t be reasoned with. Whether it’s because they’re too set in their own ways or because they want to keep having control over you, making your parents see your point may not be easy. However, we recommend not trying too hard. 

It takes two to tango, you can’t be the only one trying to have a healthier relationship. Do your best to make your parents understand where you’re coming from, but avoid getting roped into never-ending arguments and struggles for power. If they can’t accept it, then they won’t be on the same page as you regarding your life and that’s fine. Things will change, whether they approve of it or not. 

5. Understand you only need to please yourself:

The truth is that you’re the only one who knows what’s good for you because you’re the only one that knows what truly makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Parents can want the best for you and want to direct you to reach greater things in life, but they shouldn’t enforce their own dreams and ambitions on you. For example, they may think a 9 to 5 job is best for you, but you might actually enjoy and earn a lot more as a freelancer. 

Relying too much on pleasing others slowly takes away from your self-confidence, so you might not feel like you know what’s best for you, but you do. You have to reconnect with yourself and learn to trust your instinct a lot more than you trust anyone else. No one else knows what it’s like to be you or what’s in your inner world. So stop listening to everyone else and start listening to yourself. 


Unlearning that pleasing your parents is the best way to honor them or make them proud is not an easy process, but it’s 100% worthwhile. Start taking steps today and you’ll eventually find true fulfillment. 

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