Parenting—What to Expect from Your Children
A large share of all parental torment stems from belied expectations. Parents tend to expect a lot from their children as they are growing up. They want their children to be at the head of the class, win awards in sports, excel at their college studies, bag the best job possible, get a life partner that they approve of, have exactly the right number of children according to their ideas and so on. At every step of the way, parents hold expectations from their children. And when these expectations are belied—which is bound to happen if there are so many of them—the parental hurt begins.
When a person holds a child—their own child—for the first time, the feeling that generally crosses their mind is that they want to turn these children into spitting images of themselves. Most times, they want to transform these children into what they couldn’t become in life. Within those brief minutes of their first encounter with their children, most parents map out an entire lifetime for them… right from the way they will give the children their first room in the house to the time they will build their own household in their later life.
But this is where parents sow the seeds of troubles in their later life. If you expect too much from your children, you are simply bracing yourself to face the hurt later on. And it is not fair on your children as well.
The one thing—and the most important thing—that you have to keep in mind is that your children are not extensions of yourself. They are independent people. They have their own personalities. They have their own likes and dislikes. They have an opinion about everything. And all of these things may be different from what you have.
You give an education to your child. You give them the things they want to survive in life. You find out what talents they have and then give them the avenues to explore them more. You give them financial security in their lives. You monitor them so that they don’t fall into bad habits and ruin their lives. You teach them values. You show them what’s right and what’s wrong. You teach them to be independent.
But, it would be very wrong if you let them depend on you for their entire lives. Once you have handheld them through their younger days, there comes a time when you should let them go ahead in the world. Let them stumble and get up themselves if they have to. Let them find out things, the way you did.
The key is to not expect more from your children. They are individuals too, and as their life with catch up with them, they will have similar limitations and constraints as you have today. Despite meaning well, they may not be able to demonstrate their love and affection for you.
But let this not hamper your parental love for them. This is the way it should be, the way nature has ordained it to be.