Parental expectations and disappointment

Over the time, man has evolved and so have everything related to him. But I guess relationships were still sleeping when the wheel of evolution was turning, so they woke up to find that they are still the same. Well mostly. And now it is difficult for people to accept the changes in equations of relationships and thoughts that go into them.

I’ll talk about the differences between parents and children, which I have often witnessed, either in person or in second person.

During a casual discussion about how witty and quick learners new age kids are, we discussed about what to and what not to do/say to the kid. Before we knew the topic veered to the much debated parent-child arguments over morals. Though my friend didn’t literally mention it, but I got it from the gist of her statement that children are always in debt of their parents and hence they should try as much not to disobey them. That is putting it mildly, which is very unlike me.

I didn’t take up her time to tell her that this shouldn’t be the equation between parent and children, because it is her belief and it works for her. Good for her. But what happens when it doesn’t? What happens when a parent thinks it is their son/daughter’s duty to take care of them because they have taken care of him/her ever since their childhood? Is it right to think that way? Is this expectation right?

My view is, the expectations of parents can be honored by a child until a certain extent. Because you gave them life, doesn’t mean you will decide how they are going to live it. If they are capable enough, children should start deciding things for themselves. Which I think should be the ultimate goal of a parent: to make their kids self-dependent, to be able to make decisions, to be able to lead their lives without asking for anybody’s support. That is what parents’ duty is.

Then what is a child’s duty? Return the favor by doing whatever the parent wants? To give in when emotionally weakened? Have they no wishes, dreams, desires for their own life? Can’t they decide how they want to live?

In Indian society, the major milestone decisions in a child’s life is mostly taken by parents regardless of their social and financial situation. Like which field to pursue in education, to go out of the city to study or not, to go out of the city to work or not, whom to get married to, when to have kids, how many kids etc. You get the drift. If life deviates from this pattern, because the child decided what he wants, they are devastated and disappointed. He suddenly becomes the bad egg, even though he had been a Sharavana kumar’s avatar before going out about his wishes. Everyone in the parents’ circle talk about the kid as if he’s done a heinous crime. If he is mild natured, he might even be lectured about how it is not good for the children to go against parents.

I say, have kids if you have the heart to let them have their life, if you have the guts to let them go, because at some point you’d have to let them go on their own. Have them if you can see them oppose you and learn from their mistakes. Have kids if you can teach them how to learn from their mistakes. Have them if you can make them see life from their own eyes, stand on their own feet, make decisions for themselves and be responsible for them. Everybody is bound to make mistakes, nobody is perfect and if someone was, we could all have delegated our decision-making to that person. But that person doesn’t exist. So we all have to live our lives and decide for ourselves. We have to be responsible for our actions, take risks and learn from mistakes. That is how life is supposed to teach us. That is what builds experience.

Do you want your kids to be cheated of that learning experience? Do you want to see them dependent on someone or the other to lead their lives? I don’t. Do you agree?

Relationships don’t come with a set of rules of codes of conduct, that if we follow them the relationship will be successful. It is ultimately our understanding of the other person involved, that helps us smoothen the ride. I read somewhere that relationship is like a thread whose ends are held by the two people involved, if there is a knot in it, both should make the effort to very gently remove it, if even one tries to tug at it, the thread will break. Such is the fragility of it.

Do express your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “Parental expectations and disappointment

  1. Loved this post, Wanderer! Just want to say that I agree completely with you. It reminds me of a conversation I had with somebody. Might do a post about it. Totally loved this post.

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