Should parents burden their child with their expectations?
Like all parents I want my son to be disciplined, don’t eat junk, eat healthy, sleep on time, take interest in his studies, have good manners, listen to elders, be nice to everyone, become something in life … and the list goes on. But often I think should I burden my son with my expectations? Am I putting too much pressure on him by asking him to study well, study daily, be disciplined? Am I stealing away the fun of doing something when I say whatever you do, do well? Did I do right by scolding him? Did I do right by hitting him? Was I being too harsh? Will this serve him or make him a rebel? Will this damage his confidence? Am I giving enough time to him? Should I have me time to do the things important to me or should be available to him first as a parent? Am I being a good mother? Oh God, it’s so confusing, parenting looks so tough because I am never sure if I am doing the right thing for my kid.
Then for a split second, I think, how were my parents? They were not rich, not successful, didn’t have all the good habits to lead by example, were not able to fulfill all our demands, didn’t have much so-called quality time, they were busy trying to make ends meet, they used to scold, hit, whenever they felt required. BUT they did bring us up fairly well, one doctor working as one of the top Radiologists and one engineer passed out of IIT and now an entrepreneur, coaching people to live great relationships & life. Not just that we are fairly well-mannered kids(at least I would like to believe so), we are not only educated, but we are also grounded. I did take care of my parents right from getting the first job before my father’s retirement, getting dad’s open-heart surgery done, to buying a house for them in Kolkata where my dad always dreamt off, buying a car for them, to taking them to different vacations all across India, to getting married by taking a loan, to buying our house after marriage, to buy our dream car, to traveling abroad to multiple countries for work and leisure, to shifting them near to me to serve them in their old age, taking care of all medical, physical, emotional demands of old age, to giving them the pleasure of spending umpteen amount to time with their grandson, to even doing dah sanskar* for my dad.
When I look back, I see one thing that propelled me to fulfill all my responsibilities, fulfill my parents’ dreams, do better in life with every passing year was my father’s expectations from me and his belief that I can do it.
When I go back to my childhood, see how my parents brought me up, I find all answers there. Unlike us, my parents never hid their challenges and financial crises from us, I have grown up seeing my dad work hard to earn money to meet our education needs, to buy new dresses on festivals, to take care of his old parents, to get his sisters married and seeing my mother doing all household work on her own as they couldn’t afford servants, seeing her sacrifice for us, for my dad for in-laws & to meet other responsibilities they had. Unlike us, we always hide our challenges from our kids and most of the time our kids believe we are rich and can afford everything. Knowing my parents’ struggle has created never-ending gratitude in me for my parents and their efforts, it has created value for money, the value of human relationships and an honest desire to take care of my parents when I grow up, to make them happy, to fulfill their dreams and give them all that they sacrificed for us. Today I feel it’s ok for my son to know my struggles, my challenges and the way I am dealing with them.
I remember my dad had big dreams, he was an excellent photographer but never could leave his govt. job to pursue them, he loved traveling for photography but hardly could do so as he couldn’t afford to fulfill his dreams and desires, instead, he chose to do his job to take care of two daughter’s education, take care of wife ( a homemaker) and old parents. But that never dampened his spirits, he always used to say “Khana hai to hanthi ka gu kha*”, he never taught us to compromise, he will say wait, let’s take the best one. He used to speak about the kind of house he wanted to build, the design, the make, the interiors. He took us on a flight the first time when I was five and I remember every small detail of that trip because he made us live every moment of that trip, with him I have learnt to dream. Till today I live to dream big, we fulfill our dream once but in the journey dreaming about the dream makes it such a wonderful journey. He always used to say we will find a way, kuch kare lenge*, and I have learnt not to give up, believe we will find a way and keep trying different ways till we make it happen. I have learnt that my son will learn to dream as I dream, will learn to work hard and never give up as he sees me do so, it’s immaterial if we reach the destination or not but definitely the journey will be worth traveling.
What propelled me to achieve whatever I have achieved in my life, are his expectations from me and his belief that I will fulfill them. It created a desire in me to one day buy a house for him, for which I really had to do well for myself, to buy a car for him, for which I had to do well for myself, to take them around the country, to take care of them at their old age, for all that I had to do well for myself. Not only that, every time I fulfilled one of his dreams he expressed his happiness, his pride, his emotions, shared with every friend and relative of his so much so that it created a desire in me to fulfill the next dream and the next one and in the process, I really created a fulfilled life for myself. In his unique ways he inspired to do well in life not only for myself but for my love ones too, after all the real joy of life is in doing something for our loved ones and we experience heaven when they acknowledge, appreciate, admire us and are proud of for what we are capable of doing & what we could do for them.
By expecting from me, by expecting that I can do what I did eventually he gave me a purpose in life. He was never the richest father, who could afford it all, he was never the coolest dad who would never get angry or never hit me, he didn’t protect me and escorted me wherever I went, he didn’t spend all the time in the world with me, he was a Hitler when I was a kid and the same dad became my best friend when I had grown up. He never made it easy by saying if you fall I have your back, instead he said we can’t afford to fail, that made me a person who knows to stand for myself, never give up and fight till I succeed as I knew I can’t afford to fail. He taught me to deal with my emotions and deal with all kinds of people by being angry at times, short-tempered at times, strict at times, broke at times, lively at times, sad at times, tense at times, loving at times, …
I hope you get some of your answers in your ongoing quest for parenting
*dah sanskar - Cremation & last rituals after death *Khana hai to hanthi ka gu kha - if you have to think, then at least ithink big *kuch kare lenge - we will do something, we will find a way
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Very good article..
Very well said. Even my parents did same for me and it is because of them I am strong enough to face every challenge and never give up.
I believe the way we make our availability for our kids and the comfort we are giving them every moment will make them delicate, they are not in the habit to hear no which is totally wrong because sometime or the other one will have to face failures in life.
We need to prepare our kids to face the failure and be courageous to fight again. For that we will have to be sometime hard to them may be hard is not the right word but yes we need to be firm with them, make them face the reality , make thek work hard .. and much more to make them strong brave and hard working person .
I remember I used to say that my both parents are hitler but yes today I am very thankful that it is only because of their upbringing I could do well and I think doing quite well in life.
Very well penned Sucheta Saha..
Very well written Sucheta. You are absolutely right that it’s very important to allow kids to contribute to solving family problems. Depending on their age, their contribution can be as simple as just being cooperative or patient . This help them to be powerful in their personal struggles. Also, this make them feel important part of the family which strengthen the bond further. I felt it when I was little, and I believe my daughter feels the same.
Very eloquently written!
Boosting our children self esteem and as parents being flexible and willing to adjust is an amazing style.
It’s profound and worth reading.
Nice article Suchetaa. Situations were different then and now. Being open and transparent with children is important. Rather than imposing rules, allowing them to be the way they are is important. As parents we need to be disciplined so that the children emulate what we do.
This is my opinion. Regards Harikrishna
very nice article which made me to look into my life what made me who I am today and it is my parents. The way they lead their life inspired me. This article made me remember the instances that has turned my life. The habits I have, choices I have made those times, conversations I had and thought process behind that conversations all came from them. They never told me ‘be like this’ or ‘do like this’. But they made me to live like this. one thing I strongly believe is parents has to demonstrate responsibility to make the child responsible. There is nothing to work on the child. The work we do on ourselves will inspire the kid to work on himself. Thank you so much in making me to look into my life
Very well thought and written article.
I have learned how to be a good human being and handle tough situations in life from my parents and hope that I can teach the same to my son.
Keep up the good work you are doing and keep spreading positive energy like this.
Ofcourse not. Children are born with talents, potential and interests unique to them. In case parents’ expectations are different, children are not just burdened to chase a different route but will also struggle all life without being able to do the best with their potential, talents and interests.
I am very happy to join your group for a little knowledge sharing based on a question as posed in the article: “should we burden our kids with our expectation”?
Let me give a few lines to search answers it. I can say that both parents and kids are victims of loop and it has been generated in our society. I feel that we are living a system that has been inbuilt based on materialistic culture. It created a lot of problems and dissatisfaction to us or becoming barriers to modern nation. Modern here I refer a knowledge based society, a society where there is no discrimination. Being a part of this society, I have every responsibility to contribute to this knowledge base that removes such barriers. Irony is that, I am also brought up where the ideas of parents was the rule, and still it exists in society. So. we molded accordingly. I realized that they seems to be a victim of the same system/order as pointed out which generated a so called materialistic society.
I think, parenting is a process and it is an independent process. It comes to each parents.
Look at this world, sending the children to abroad, so pressurizing the children for gaining such ultimate happiness and setting vision! Let me pose to you one question here, can this help our kids to be happy? Who will think now of sending their children to abroad during coved-19 period? None. But how long? May be till lock-down! Again the vision would be the same as persisting as vicious circle!
I think, no parent has previous experience of being parent. There is no proper course or way by which people developed into this process. But being parents we can not ignore to look into their real happiness. The kids must see parents as individuals first and then parents, and same way it goes with parents, to see their children as individual and nurture with strong value orientation, with liberal thoughts and knowledge base. I would suggest to help kids to imbibe true knowledge with core values as envision by many such as Swamy Vivekananda, Gurudeva Rabindranath Tagore, Lord Buddha and so on and so forth and draw a correct knowledge with strong spirituality and yogic culture so as to get true happiness in life.
Stay at home and stay safe!
Faculty, Department of Social Work
Well written Sucheta. It’s a difficult topic and we as the Gen Z parents are no better than our parents. Our parents relied on wisdom passed through generations for rearing us whilst we have tonnes of web information. World has become so fast and so is the short lived innocence.
There has to be a balance in placing our expectations as every child is different. Ultimately, we wish our kids to be happy and responsible for their actions. And that would also mean exposing them to few demands which may seem harsh but would help them in the longer run. I believe your father wanted you to be prepared for the harsher world out there in the world present then. Things have changed since and hope we get better in understanding our kids and gel well.
Keep writing and keep coaching. That’s well above any parents expectations !
Its difficult subject however very well written thought’s ! Parenting is indeed big role in our life. Thanks Sucheta for the insights. I felt like my journey from childhood till now written.
Great Topics and Described well.
Thank you for this post It is really going to help a lot of parents.I was thinking about this today and here you go a post on kids and education. Parents play an important role in kids life. How they encourage them even when they aren’t doing well. Always I believe we must encourage our kids to be delicate and help them overcome losses in the shorterm to win in the long term and thrive. Protecting them from failures in the initial stages are going to result in the long term life handling problems which they will have no clue about. I personally didn’t want our future generation kids to walk out of college with debts not knowing what to even pursue. Its always good to see what they are good at and what they love doing. That’s separates him or her from the rest of the world. This sums it all. Great post once again. Keep them coming. Great post once again.
Well penned Sucheta!
Parenting isn’t that complicated if it’s real. We try to complicate it by making unrealistic comparisons. As parents its absolutely ok to let our kids know what we are, how we feel, how we deal with failure and success so that they can learn from our mistakes or imbibe our strengths. Being fake in any relationship makes it sour, be it parenting. Your post is bang on! Keep growing keep writing. Much love.
Hey that was wonderful, I read 50% of myself in there, YES!. Taking the term “burden” as ‘one’ would really depend on the attitude we inculcate in our kids. With overwhelming reponsibilities and baskets full of accomplishments from the forceful, strict yet uncompromiseable values, if a generation from a little while before could glow with adaptability and success in the changed era, I believe we can build values, inculcate focus and responsibilty in the current generation with an effortless living towards differentiating the need of optimistic attitude on life skills and the reasonless stress they develop out of Peer Vocabularic confusions (Burden).
The happy us can make happy kids. Our happy Kids can make a happy world.
Well Penned and thought provoking article, bringing in a flow of thought relishable and comparable with the current era in a single line. Keep that going Suchetha. Glow and Grow.
A mini biography written in style. Awesome!!
This is all about smart parenting which I have briefly addressed in my book Happiness D’coded. There needs to be a balance between control and detachment in patenthood which needs adequate wisdom and maturity.
You are blessed to be a product of such parenting and knowing you as a person, I have no doubt that you are taking the legacy ahead with pride.
Had a wonderful time with your blog as with each sentence I kept on visiting my memory lane of a typical bengali family :-).
Very well written Suchetaa, it’s very true even my parents always give importance of my decision and ofcourse contribution of my part of work in the family.They never discourage me to do any work which I took interest. Always make me understand to become selfmade and I always try to be.Today they are no more with me, but I truelly donno I able to make them proud or not for any reason.
The kids are in a different environment all together, so parenting also has to change what worked with our parents will not work for us.
We have to make sense to them, being strict would not work.
An eye opener and an educative article to all the parents.Wonderful and thanks for helping many of them.
well it’s all about the mindset I feel about how I upbring my child.And keep constantly working on building them and helping them with great values not being strict and not being liberal as well.
I have always been learning to have an never give up attitude and so did the same with my child as well.And helped to sow a seed in his mind to do what he loves and what he wants in his life.Helping children to understand what is the purpose of life is what I feel most important in this one beautiful life. And all.that as a parent I need to set wings to my child so that he fly’s high to tell the world that sky is not the limit as we found the footsteps on the moon as well.
Thank you and best wishes.
So beautifully said Manoranjani
Well penned on an important subject.
What I analized is that we are what we are because of our parents but at the same time we can’t compare our generation with our kidsa they are way ahead .But one thing as a parent I give them all the freedom to explore but at the same time they have set rules and regulations which I have them follow in order to make sure they know what’s good and bad in life. They are my best friends and know all my strength, weakness, emotions etc…. It’s always better to be open with them😊😊😊.
Very nice article.. As for many, reminds me also of my parents..
Ya I feel today’s generation is way different.. But it happens for every generation.. What I learnt from my parents regarding parenting and what I try to follow is to keep children exposed to all good things..
Good behaviour, tradition, culture etc..
Also not all children know what they want to do or have a goal in life.. Many times they might not realise what they want till they cross teens.. So I feel as parents it’s our responsibility to expose them to different fields and observe what they can be good at..
And our definition of success should not bind them..
Goal of a parent is to bring up a good citizen not necessarily a successful individual of a field..
This is what I feel..
Well written Suchetaa. You almost echoed whatever runs on my mind always. I feel that parents have a big role in developing children’s all-round personality because home is the first school and children learn from the environment they grow in and by observing at all times. I think we all agree that everyone has had a tremendous impact on their life because of their parents, teachers, and friends. And even a small baby’s mind is sharp enough to understand if something’s not right in their surroundings. So, as children, they absorb all those experiences whether good and bad, and take away some learnings from each of them, and those experiences help them to be molded into an individual in the future. As parents, we are a role model for them because they look up to us. So, it’s definitely a big responsibility. I cannot expect my kid to be disciplined if I am not. I cannot expect her to be friendly with others if I am a shy and reserved person. They follow us.
I believe in providing them the freedom to explore and make their decisions independently and only pitch in if they may be putting themselves at some risk until a certain age where they may need our guidance. We can be their friends when they reach such an age, but until then our role is to discipline them and guide them in the right direction. And with respect to teaching them the value of money, I truly agree that they should be also involved so that they get to know the practicalities in life. Apart from teaching them the value of money, time, values, and providing good education, we should first teach them to be good human beings.
Very well written article, it keeps us engaged throughout. your personal experiences and stories are very motivating..👍
Well written article. Profound! Food for thought for all of us to introspect as parents.
I have gone through the article and it was good. Parents are having a right to dream about their children career. But parents should let them know, what exactly they are thinking about their career. When children grown up, parents should have friendly nature towards them and see what is their career goal? and what they want to become? After listening to them, then parents can give their views and thoughts. But directly they should not compare them with the outside people and should not impose or intoxicate their children with their thoughts, When they are not ready to receive.
Parents should not use political and beastly methods towards their children like comparing him/her with others and forcing them to become what parents have dreamt about them. If they do so, then automatically their thoughts will burden their children and also there is a chance of making them to grown up with some negative thoughts and also spoil their career.
Nice article. I feel every child has unique talent which needs to be practiced and grow along. But it is the duty of parents to guide them, identify the talent in them, motivate them and set goals for themselves. At early stages of life, they will not have that much vision in life so it is the duty of parents to guide them by allowing them to enjoy life. That’s what our parents given us and should be given by us. We also should practice and show how to live, children will learn from us. We should educate them importance of hard work, responsibility etc.,
Explained the very well about the parenting and relationship..
Very touching and thought provoking! Agree with a lot of your thoughts…being strict n setting clear boundaries when required and expressing our love to our children…equally important! I do believe in having expectations from my children is absolutely fine…though I would like to be open to know their thoughts on it… I believe it’s a two way process. I would like to believe in establishing two way communication between my children n myself…look forward that my children do not feel burdened by my expectations!
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