Meri Wallace, the author of Birth Order Blues, believes that parents hardly ever decide to interfere in their adult children live. She goes ahead to say, “I think it is natural for parents to have expectations for their kids. We want our children to do well in life. We want them to succeed in school to have friends and be happy. It makes us feel like we’ve done a good job.”
Even the worst of parents wish the best for their children. The approach could be mixed with lots of expectations which could frustrate the adult child. Dealing with these expectations as an adult child can be overwhelming. You may find yourself struggling to decide whether to stay true to your own desires or live the life planned out by your parents. Whatever choice you make, wouldn’t change the fact that you’d be the one saddled with any possible consequences of your actions. The knowledge of this makes it tougher to decide. And most likely, your parents wouldn’t even seem to be considering the possibility of leaving you off the hook of their expectations.
The question of what to do remains. First, you have to understand that your parents love you. When they insist that you should study medicine instead of journalism, it’s out of love. The intention doesn’t make it right, but understanding that they are coming from a point of love and desire that you’d have a better life would make the weight of their expectations less hurting.
Communication is key in every relationship, especially that between parent(s) and (adult) children.
Why do they make such expectations of you? This is a question to ask. Granted they love you and wish a better life for you, what else? The truth is that sometimes, they are trying to protect you from their own mistakes or the mistakes of someone else they know. It could be just because they feel entitled to make such expectations. Wallace said that a parent could feel that, “I put in all this love and attention and money and time, and I expect you to treat me a certain way.” They may expect you to reward their efforts and living up to their expectations is the least they expect from you.
Another reason for parental expectations not meeting up with that of children could be generational gaps. Your parent could be a baby boomer while you are a millennial. A lot of things have changed. Blogging wasn’t a thing when my mum was my age. A few years back, people hardly employ the services of makeup artists for their wedding. Now, it’s different. And I am sure some parents can’t still wrap their heads around this. And would never, unless you bring them up to speed. You would be a parent someday and could fail to understand things your own children would.
Do you then not pursue your dreams and pursue theirs? Do you not marry the Yoruba boy just because your parents say so? This is the point you have to express your own self. You have to appreciate their efforts, but make them see why you have to make your choices. Let them in on your plans and the fact that you are ready to accept responsibility for whatever happens. Action speaks louder than words and if you have never shown any signs of being responsible it could be a bit tough. Have that talk and set the right boundaries. Yeah, boundaries. They are your parents and not your clone and most likely won’t be there when you nurse the pain of the mistakes resulting from living their lives as yours. Communication is key in every relationship, especially that between parent(s) and (adult) children. They won’t know you are passionate about being a life coach if you don’t tell them, they may not even know what that means (depending on their level of exposure). They would respect you after the talk.
Again, you have to be open to suggestions. The truth remains that your parents have experiences that you don’t. You could be better educated, but that doesn’t give you their experience. You can always run to them when you are unsure. So, straighten your relationship with them. Don’t be so scared of having an argument, it’s part of what solidifies the family bound, just be respectful and responsible. They most likely would come around.
How else do you handle parental expectations?