4 Ways To Stop Living For Your Parents (And Start Living The Life Of Happiness You Want)

You can love your parents, but you can't live for them.

4 Ways To Stop Living For Your Parents (And Start Living The Life Of Happiness You Want) getty

I’ve been an only child for most of my life, so as you can imagine I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents and grandparents growing up.

As all only children know, your parents' dreams and desires are passed down to you. From a young age, my parents made it clear that I had to do well in school so I could become a doctor. At the age of 5, my parents literally bought me a toy doctor’s briefcase and a lab coat.


Early on, my life path was predetermined by my parents. And while many kids are taught "always believe in yourself" and love yourself so you can follow your dreams, it wasn't that way for me.

Disappointing your parents is the worst feeling ever. You want them to be proud of you because they’ve done and sacrificed so much for you.

But we aren't responsible for the happiness of others — we are only responsible for our own.

Parents have their own life and so do we.

RELATED: 3 Things Parents Who Raise Kids With High Self-Esteem Do Differently


As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m not always going to make my parents happy, especially not at the cost of my own happiness.

High school is when it became apparent that I couldn’t live for my parents anymore. I wasn’t a rebellious or gothic teenager, like the movies, but I wasn't a little miss perfect either. 

Through trying things outside of my comfort zone, I learned a lot about myself and who I wanted to be. The dreams my parents had for me were no longer my own. I was becoming my own individual.

Seeing that shift of me turning into an individual also changed my relationship with my parents. They began to take on the role of my mentors, so they’d advise me on what to do instead of telling me.


Fortunately for me, along the way my parents supported me on most things. But in the times they didn’t, I really had to believe in myself and be my own support system.

I understand that not all parents are accepting of change, and it can feel impossible to tell them your dreama. But you owe it to yourself to live the life you want. Your parents should be your number one supporters, not inhibitors.

So, how can you live your life and follow your dreams, rather than those of your parents?

1. Remember that you’re an individual.

You are your own person. It’s okay to have differing views and opinions from your parents. You have your own mind, so you have thoughts and aspirations of your own.

You and your parents don’t have to see eye to eye on everything because you're different people. You’ve had different life experiences. Those experiences shape you as an individual, and your individuality is something to be proud of.


RELATED: How To Be Your True, Authentic Self In 5 Steps

2. Know that following your dreams isn’t disrespectful.

Pursuing your passions isn't disrespectful, even if it goes against your parents' wishes. We all have the right to live our lives in a way we see fit. Just like how your parents had the right to choose their significant other, career choice, and whether to start a family, so do you.

At some point, we all do something that goes against the dreams our parents have for us. Not to say your parents' dreams are bad; they may be amazing, but it could just be something you don’t want. 

3. Always believe in yourself.

Your parents' support isn’t always guaranteed, and you have to be okay with that. Just like how you have differing beliefs from them, they might oppose yours as well.


This doesn’t mean they love you any less, it just means they don’t agree with what you’re doing. So, if you're taking that leap of faith and living for yourself, believe in yourself. Your support is most important, and the rest will come along.

4. Just do it.

Start living your life. What are you waiting for?

We aren’t getting any younger, and time is passing you by. Once your parents see that you're successfully pursuing your passions, they’ll come around. If not, you’ll be living a life that makes you happy.


RELATED: How To Accept Your Parents For Who They Really Are — Now That You Know The Truth

Tamara Sanon is a writer who covers pop culture, astrology, and relationship topics.