I am currently a 5th year PhD student in math at an American university. I was talking with my parents recently and I told them that I had come to terms with the possibility of me not graduating with my PhD. As we all know in this community, getting a PhD is not a walk in the park. Rather, it is full of sweat, tears, and can even come at the cost of your mental/physical health.
After I told them this, they began to say things like "I'd be very disappointed in you!" ,"I never taught you to be a quitter!","That's not the child I raised!", and proceeded to hang up the phone on me. I usually talk to them regularly, but it has been over a week. I didn't know they were going to take it that personally. All I meant to say was that if I were to not graduate with my PhD due to circumstances out of my control, that I would ultimately be ok with this as there are other things I could do besides working towards a PhD. I never said I was going to quit myself.
Just a bit of background: I have an anxiety disorder and my therapist's advice to treat anxiety of not getting my PhD was to tell myself that it's ok to ultimately not get the PhD and that I am not by any means a lesser person because I didn't graduate with one. Their message is about self-acceptance and awareness and to be kind to myself. But according to my parents, that promotes mediocrity and is a conformist attitude.
I can see both my therapist's and parent's point of view. But at the same time wondered how common this is among PhD students. Am I alone on this or do other PhD students get additional pressure from their parents to graduate? I was also told by them that I needed to graduate soon, as if I was still in high school. I just want to see how others have approached this situation and what your coping mechanisms were.