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Parental pressure a major hurdle for many Jordanian students to pursue major

By Batool Ghaith - Aug 23,2021 - Last updated at Aug 23,2021

AMMAN — Parental pressure on students to pursue a particular major is common in Jordan, according to experts.

Abdullah Abu Adas, a consultant of psychiatry and addiction, told The Jordan Times on Sunday that parents who influence their children to select a certain major may be unaware of their children’s interests or “may want to live out their dreams through their children”.

Adas added that another reason may be, “what we call herd mentality”. 

“If the parents are both doctors, for example, they may want their children to be doctors as well,” he said.

Requiring children to major in a subject they may not like or want can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression, loss of confidence, insecurities, or poor school performance, Abu Adas noted.

He encouraged parents to be supportive of their children’s choices and decisions, to help them achieve a successful future. 

“Parents should research and converse with their children, support them and allow them to choose their own career paths,” he said.

Sociologist Hussein Al Khozahe said that “profession inheritance” is a common occurrence in Jordanian society. 

“Parents often want their children to have the same job they do, especially doctors, engineers and lawyers. This really affects children and generally society,” Khozahe told The Jordan Times on Monday.

He also pointed out that parents who did not complete their education are more likely to influence their children to major in what the parents wanted to study, so their children can achieve their ambitions. 

“Some children feel pressured to fulfill their parents’ wishes because their parents are breadwinners; therefore they feel like they owe it to them,” he added.

This phenomenon may lead to unemployment and high competition among the graduates in the same field, Khozahe noted. 

Ahmad Al Faris, a 17-year-old high school graduate, said that his parents have wanted him to study engineering since he was a child.

Faris indicated that he was convinced it was the right choice.

“I thought that I would like it and I did not mind, but the more I grew up, the more I got interested in other things, which made me realise that I did not want what my parents wanted,” Faris told The Jordan Times.

He pointed out that he spent a long time convincing his parents of what he wanted to major in. 

“I talked to them multiple times and explained my point of view. I told them about the advantages of the major I wanted to study, which is artificial intelligence. After many tries, they agreed to it,” Faris said.

Faris’ parents indicated that they realised how important it is to understand children’s needs and wants, in addition to staying up to date with the job market demands. 

“I am glad we listened to Ahmad and decided to let him do what he wanted,” Lana, Faris’ mother told The Jordan Times

Samia Al Khatib, another recent high school graduate, is following her parents’ wishes. 

“I have been prepared my whole life to study medicine; I cannot imagine doing something else,” she told The Jordan Times on Monday.

She stressed that her parents’ support is all she needs to excel in her journey of medicine.

Omar Al Khatib, Samia’s father, expressed how proud he is of his daughter for getting the grade needed to study medicine. 


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