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Parents: Expectations vs. Reality

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by jargon, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. jargon

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    I've been thinking about the expectations parents have for their kids, and how parents sometimes treat their kids like they're obligated to meet certain standards.

    What are some things your parents might have expected of you as "their little boy"/"their little girl" that didn't match who you are?
     
  2. Awesome

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    All from my mom:
    Being outgoing and not so socially awkward (largest one), having the same taste in clothing as her, getting all A's, not losing stuff all of the time, liking and trusting her creepy boyfriend no matter how weird he acts around me.
     
  3. XenaxGabby

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    My mom has always been okay with me forging my own path, except for liking women.
     
  4. Azrael

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    My dad wanted me to be macho Korean man who would become a military general... as if...
     
  5. Kaiser

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    My parents and I have a very bittersweet relationship, and it reflects on their beliefs and expectations of me.

    My father expected me to always do good/right, and never be praised for it. You do good, just because, and you do it right the first time, just because. If you are doing this properly, nobody will ever say anything to you. You do not ask for help, and you do not mess up or fail, because you're not doing it good/right. Compliments mean nothing, only advancement or progress. Action, not words, damn it!

    My mother expected me to just 'deal with it'. You can either accept things as they are, make it a little more comfortable, or you try and change it. However, there was no sort of honor to this, as what mattered most was coming out as unscathed as possible. Friendships are temporary distractions, as almost everybody will disappoint you, but you can still have uses for, and make uses of, others until then. Lying isn't right or wrong, it's useful or wasted.

    From both of them, I learned: Don't be a crybaby. If it's that bad, deal with or resolve it, and move the fuck on.

    I'll never reach the standards of my parents, especially my father. There's a bit of resentment that will, probably, never be resolved -- it would require my father admitting he wasn't the best parent he could be, and he would rather die than lose face. My mother likes to overlook a lot of stuff, only focusing on the present, so she won't discuss this. As a result, they're stuck in their "tough love" mentalities towards me, as to show any type of change, growth or exception, is to admit they were flawed -- and to them, this is not an option.

    Unless I was in a position to force my parents, they're just going to keep acting like nothing needs to be addressed. So until I become a dictator or a deity, I will never receive appropriate appreciation. When you're the easiest reason to blame for why your life had to stop, it is very difficult to look beyond that -- which is exactly the problem here. Until my parents can accept they made their own choices, when and how they did, it is much easier for them to say, I was born when they weren't exactly ready, and to take care of me, they had to give up on their lives... in a paraphrasing of their own words.

    But I know exactly what type of parent not to be, because of them. And that, sadly, is a much better lesson than about anything else they could have taught.

    So, to conclude this:

    My parents expect me to become so rich/successful/influential, it justifies their own resentment about their lives, as I will then have "delivered" them from their denial and self-hate:

    My parents haven't just raised the bar very high, they also manually move it when I do jump up to it.

    Most everything isn't up to their expectations.
     
  6. AKTodd

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    My mother set almost no expectations on me whatsoever. 'Do whatever you think is best' and 'I just want you to be happy' were pretty much her mission statements. Which sounds cool until/unless you actually could use some parental advice and she still wouldn't provide any. So I managed.

    My dad spent most of his time either telling me what task he wanted done or telling me how stupid/weak/worthless I was because I couldn't read his mind to pick up the several details he would leave out of the instructions (on purpose, we always suspected). Emotional abuse and passive aggression were his hobbies. His only stated expectation was that I would always be a complete failure, not good for anything except shoveling shit (he spent 30 minutes of a Summer day explaining this to me with a big grin on his face one day while I was taking a break from mucking out the barn).

    On general principles, none of us kids (I have/had six siblings) were ever raised to really give a rats patoot about what our parents (or siblings) thought about what we were doing. We inform the rest of the family of what we're doing as a courtesy, or point of interest. Whether they like it or not doesn't really enter our conceptual universe, usually.

    Todd
     
  7. Aspen

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    Well, straight for one. Marry a man. Other than that...

    My mom expects me to make something of my life, and maybe make lots of money so I can be her retirement plan. I know she secretly disapproved of my choice to change my major and sometimes not so secretly disapproves that I want to be a psychologist, but she's supportive of my choices anyway. She wants more for me than what she has.
     
  8. dano218

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    Oh jeez. Well my parents hated my bf at first and now he passed away and after defending my relationship in the years before he died my mom now expects me to go by her relationship expectations again. Yeah it is a train wreck waiting to happen and very upsetting.
     
  9. Austin

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    I don't think my parents have that much expectations. Or, they don't tell me what they are anyways. They want me to do well but they don't really pressure me to do that much.
     
  10. TigerInATophat

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    In terms of sexuality: not much. My father basically assumed I was bisexual without giving me the oppourtunity to clarify further or correct him, and was only disappointed when I refused him the oppourtunity to tell everyone so that he could boast about how he'd guessed (I think he did anyway though). He definitely expected me to be more stereotypically female, or rather how he sees females in his head anyway. My mother has not expressed any real discontentment at me liking women and doesn't mind that I'm not overly girly either.

    In general: Well both my parents are quite unusual themselves in their own ways, so I don't think me being an odd child/teen/adult even registered for the most part.

    I don't believe my parents had the same expectations of me that most seem to possess. My father was only interested in anything I did if it stood to benefit or reflect on him in some way. So whilst he did put me down or criticize about things and this was unpleasant (or even maddeningly frustrating sometimes), it didn't really affect my perception of myself, because this was pretty much in line with the way he treated everyone and I was aware from an early age that it was a him-problem rather than a me-problem. In a way I'm very glad I figured that out so young, because despite the downside of growing up knowing that your parents are flawed, it allowed me to distinguish between the way they saw things vs the way things really were. If I had actually believed even half of the stuff that came out of his mouth, I'd almost certainly be a much more insecure and unhappy person.

    For my mother's part she has not put undue pressure on me in general. But she does seem to have trouble grasping when I won't go along with her on something. Usually if I refuse it is with very good reason, because what she is suggesting is quite obviously not a good idea, impractical or even impossible, but she doesn't see it that way. It's not so much that she is disappointed in me, more frustrated because she genuinely doesn't understand why her way is an inadvisable course of action. This is something that has gradually developed as I've gotten older, the closer I got to adulthood the more it became obvious that we have very different approaches to problem solving. Whilst my mother will avoid doing any required action even if that attitude of "don't bother trying it's all pointless" ultimately makes things worse, by contrast I find myself incapable of simply doing nothing to remedy the situation if I know or even think that there's something I could be doing. Ironically this difference between us is compounded by the fact I'm probably MORE proactive as a result of her inability to be so; because one of us needs to get things done. This goes for both really important responsibilities and little things. It's not solely that she's making a choice not to do things for herself I will point out, because she does actually have care needs also. It's kind of a combination.

    I've joked before that I must be the only person in the world who gets criticized by my mother for tidying up, because she has a tendency to accumulate stuff. It's not exactly hoarding as she doesn't possess sentimental attachment to the things, but rather that she never remembers to throw things away and also stores stuff in odd places where it gets forgotten about until it turns up again. She also hates the disruption of me tidying (and it's not like I do it compulsively, just to get rid of clutter) so I'm sure to get an earful when I attempt it with her in the house. Although she is pleased with the results once it's finally finished. She actually has started outright saying: "I hate you and admire you when you do all this, I have admiration for your perseverance, you go to all this effort but I HATE when you do it because what's the point?"

    I can't win basically lol! Although in truth I am grateful because I couldn't be doing with the parents some have to deal with that try to control every detail and decision of their kids lives, that would be a surefire way to destroy a relationship with me.
     
    #10 TigerInATophat, Jun 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  11. Wondergirl

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    In terms of sexuality, the "obvious straight", married; also give them a grandchild, which I did. Yet to tell them I'm lesbian. I think they would care less now than before, bacause I live abroad, visit once a year, and it's not like I would be walking hand in hand with a woman in my small hometown, where everyone knows everyone. Sadly, I think for my parents what everyone would say is the most important thing. I honestly think, they would be disappointed in me for being lesbian, but will eventually be okay with it. The biggest thing would be not to tell anyone else in our hometown, and to keep it a secret.
    Other than that they always wanted me to exceed academically and be career oriented.
     
    #11 Wondergirl, Jun 9, 2015
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  12. Christiaan

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    Strike 1: I'm educated. Having an education would not, by itself, count against me. In fact, if I had been a straight-A student throughout high school and college and gotten some engineering degree or something, that would have been favorable as hell and made him damn proud. No, I'm "The Most Interesting Man in the World" type of educated, as in knowing and caring about things that my father thinks are "far out in left-field." I drink single-origin coffees and ponder going to visit the places where they are grown. I like obscure antiques. It's not education, per se, that he finds to be offensive, but it's the fact that I'm self-educated far beyond what was ever expected of me by anybody, take nothing on faith but always look deeper, directly quote De Rerum Natura in real Latin hexameter, and (this is the last straw) drink Arrogant Bastard Ale, rather than Budweiser.

    Strike 2: I'm not cisgender to his liking, either. It's not that there aren't vaguely masculine, even wolfish things that I do sort of like, such as cooking outdoors on a wood-burning stove, backpacking, brewing my own beer, and things like that, but that's individualist stuff. No, from my father's point of view, the fact that I didn't want to be a Lacrosse star and "good, old boy" like him made me fit to be sunk halfway up my legs in concrete, clubbed over the head like a bastard kitten, and tossed into the Atlantic Basin.

    Strike 3: I'm not only an atheist, but I'm a stinking preachy one. I told him to his face he was a hypocritical bastard and wouldn't be nearly so offensive if he at least observed his damn religion, rather than just being a jerk toward those who openly and proudly didn't while not having, himself, darkened the doorway of a church in the past ten years. He was not amused. I'm surprised he didn't kill me, actually.

    However: The real problem is really not any of the above, specifically. If it were only the above, we might actually have gotten along. The problem is that we're too damn alike. We're pig-headed, proud, stubborn individuals who will howl our opinions to the moon if nobody is there to listen, and we'll fight to the death for what we believe, even if what we believe is idiotic. We are descended from the proudest, finest, most clearly mentally unbalanced fighting men of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie, and our hearts never left the Highlands. THAT is why we fight like wildcats.
     
  13. PhoenixOfAshes

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    My pap tries to say he doesn't have any expectations of me, but he wants me to be this sweet little catholic girl who has no interest in colored hair, piercings or tattoos, who does all her chores the moment she's asked, always says "please and thank you".... oh how wrong he was.

    He'd probably loose his mind if he found out I was actually a boy... And he hates how I don't believe in God or the bible or anything Catholic-related. I can't even talk about my hair color (Was blue, then purple, and soon to be fire-truck red) and he's actually tried to shave it off before. I'm obsessed with tattoos, and even though I don't have any yet, I plan to get many of them - same goes for piercings. I mean, I'm pretty polite, but I will give attitude if I feel it's warranted.

    Good job, Pap... You raised the opposite of what you wanted. :roflmao: :eusa_danc :roflmao: :eusa_danc
     
  14. PatrickUK

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    On the day I was born my Grandad said to my Dad "a Son to carry on the family name".
     
  15. biisme

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    My sister (older) had mental health issues in high school / college and my brother (younger) is on the Autism Spectrum, and even though they have never said so, I know that they expect me to be the kid they don't have to worry about. So I worked very hard in middle school and high school to portray the persona of someone outgoing, happy, resilient, confident, and superficial. In fact I was depressed, in pain, and full of shame and self-hatred. I have grown a lot since then and I'm closer to being the person that they think I am, but they still don't know any of this. And their expectation that I am their "normal", problem-free kid does definitely not match the reality of the situation.
     
  16. TheStormInside

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    I'm at the age and of the disposition that I have already blasted a lot of my parents expectations of me. When I was younger I made it clear I didn't want to get married or have kids, and now that I kind of do consider these possibilities they don't quite seem to believe me. I do get the "push" and the questions still, about male friends, possible (straight) relationships, and so on, of course.

    Career and religion are both battles I've already fought with them, with varying success. As a teenager I expressed doubts about Catholicism and they still forced me to be Confirmed. I now don't consider myself Catholic or religious at all and we just don't talk about it. Career-wise, I have managed to do well with them. Strangely, they supported my decision to go to art school but once I graduated they didn't understand the concept of freelance as the major venue of employment for my field. Living with them after college, while seeking work, was probably one of the most damaging times of my life. But, since I've managed to turn what started as a freelance gig into a mostly regular work situation they have been appeased by that, and I basically had to prove to them it was possible to be "successful" in this way. I suspect that when I do come out to them a similar course of action will have to be taken- they're likely going to need to see it to believe it, and take plenty of time to come around and realize that this is what is indeed good for me, even if it's not what they would have chosen.

    Emotionally, well mental health wise, I know I'm also not what they would have preferred, and neither of them really seem to understand it. As a result I don't share much of that aspect of my life with them, unless necessary. My mother is supportive, but often her worry about me will mean I then have to comfort her. My father just outright does not get it and I keep silent about it around him, though I'm sure my mother has shared at least some of it.
     
  17. The Wallflower

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    My mom pretty much wanted me to be everything she isn't, and I turned out to be exactly like her.

    I'm gay, though. That's a start.

    My dad just wanted me to pass on his precious last name to my children.

    Actually, now that I think about it, that's pretty much my whole family's expectation of me; have children and pass on the family name.

    Woops.
     
  18. Kenaria

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    ^ this is pretty much the exact same thing for me.

    my dad wants me to live up to my name (great grandfather), and pass on my last.

    I think ive got the first part down, seeing as I see myself as a good person, but i absolutely despise my last name... sorry dad.

    mom doesnt really care what i do as long as i give her a grandkid.
     
  19. ApexxShadow

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    At a very young age, (Maybe ages 5-7) my mom brought the topic of boys on me. As I grew older, she started to force feminity onto me. I was a 'tomboy' as a young kid, and I liked playing super heros, and sports, and action figures, instead of dress up, princesses or dolls. In my moms eyes at least, you HAD to be straight, you HAD to be cisgender, you HAD to go to a nice private school. I think at one point, I actually forced myself into liking boys. Maybe at age 10 or so, girls started talking about boys. I thought 'maybe I just don't like any boys yet.' Then after a while, I finally figured it out. My mother would never admit to it, but, she actually started questioning my dad to get me off my pills, and not be on my computer as much because she thought 'it was making me think this way.' I recall one day on the phone, I overheard her say "Oh my god I can't believe my daughter is a dyke." As time went on, she continued to insult my gender and sexuality on a large scale. In the past, there's a lot of history of emotional dysregulation and such. My mom wanted me to be a feminine girly-girl, and a sterotypical 'woman' who would have kids and have a husband and take care of the kids. She wanted me to be cis, and enforce genderoles upon myself. She wanted me to be straight, and have a boyfriend, and talk about boys with her. She wanted me to come to her, but every time I did she'd yell at me. She'd never let me express my true feelings around her. I could only be happy all the time. But, behind all that, I was screaming. She wanted me to go to a nice private school and have 'popular' friends. Every standard she's set has been burned. She still wants me to hide who I am and be her 'perfect daughter.' She wanted me to be a mini her. She's asked me whatever happened to her little girl.

    I know what's happened to her.

    She grew up.

    Sorry mom.
     
    #19 ApexxShadow, Jun 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  20. tscott

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    I don't want to turn this into a rant. I loved both my parents very much, and the reoccurring message from them was as follows: "We just want you to be happy," but that was within certain parameters. I am an only child who arrived, for the time, late into their marriage and after they were told no to have children. Their first child died within six months of his birth due to a birth defect. Are you beginning to see the picture?

    I was taken with them almost everywhere. I slept in more spare bedrooms on beds piled with coats and furs than anyone I ever met. So the, of course, one needed to be neat and gentlemanly at all times. To go along with this was the dictum: do not whine, lie, or be disrespectful. I was if nothing else a compliant child. In return, I led a privileged childhood: country club, riding, sailing, travelling. I went to my first Broadway show at age 6. Adults loved me; peers hated me by and large.

    As I grew up I was told to always do the best you can, and if that doesn't pass muster you know you did your best. The reality was to be on honor roll or dean's list consistently. It was expected I would become a medical doctor of some sort. I wanted to be an ornithologist, but that wasn't part of the plan. Travelling up the Amazon with the potential of disease and cannibalism was no career for a gentleman, nor was being an attorney, a my father ranked below used car salesmen or politians. In my freshman year of college, I proved to be less than stellar in the hard sciences. I think it was the first time I disappointed them. I turned to literature and the life of an academic. Unfortunately, it was not what the world needed. So I never went on to PH.D. work.

    My father died before my 21st birthday. Two years later, my mother put 2 and 2 together and concluded her son was gay, and that I had a choice to make. Striking out on my own in another city with my inheritance or remain within the warm embrace of hearth and home. I choose my family. There were gay friends, but it was not an expectation for her son. Thus I didn't live in a closet, but a panic room.

    I did what was expected married well, had three blonde babies, a house in the right suburb, and two Volvos in the garage. Had a good job in sales and went back for another master's so I could teach. I had my straight card punched.

    There came a point that if I didn't come out I would crack up or be a suicide. So I did the unexpected after 25 years of marriage. I've rarely looked back and though life is harder now; there are so many things to learn about this new life. I've started to become who I am, which is currently my only expectation.