We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofElizabeth Moctezuma Chavez

When I was little, my parents were strict. As I became older, I started to realize that they were very strict towards me, but not as strict to my older sister Maria or my two younger brothers, Diego and Dan-  iel. The rules my parents had for me, such as no grades below a B, no phone after nine pm, and no plans with friends unless a parent is around, were not the same for my siblings.  When my parents get mad at me sometimes, I get it because I don’t always act with common sense. One example is if I act stupid and hit one of my siblings, then I get why I will be in trouble. Other times however, I don’t see why I receive punishments for certain actions. Over time I’ve gotten used to their strictness and I try not to get annoyed. My parents have explained that the purpose of their strict rules is to make me a better person in the future. My sister tells me, “Be strong and do not listen to mom and dad when they are too strict.” My sister is the only one who understands me because we both struggle with my parents’ rules. Like me, she has to get good grades  and she can’t go anywhere, but my sister is different because she often breaks the rules. She is the only person who supports me with grades that I earn. She cares about me and how this negativity is affecting me.  After years of not living up to my parents’ expectations, I started to develop a negative state of mind which only increased as time went on. My sister was always trying to make me be more positive about myself and to understand I am perfect in my own way. Even with my sister’s support, all the negativity was making me see myself as a bad person. All my friends were worried about me, saying, “You don’t need to be the perfect child. Just do your best work, and that is more important.” I had trouble paying attention to them because the constant pressure from my parents made me not care about anything in my life including my friends and my mental health. All I wanted was to be that perfect daughter. I felt guilty, lonely, upset, puzzled, and just about every negative feeling developed in my head. I wanted to be positive and be better for myself. I wanted to be comfortable with my grades even if they were Bs or Cs and not set my expectations too high.  Now, in 2020, I have social workers that help me with my struggles. My friends continue to help me cope with my health, and my sister tries to sup- port me. Writing this essay is a coping mechanism to show my struggles and to process them, too. My parents still don’t get that they put this much pressure on me but I am hopeful that one day they are going to pay attention and worry about my bad health and finally change what they expect. 

© Elizabeth Moctezuma Chavez. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.