Parental Expectation Doesn’t Equal A Child’s Path

Whether you are a single parent, separated parent or a two parent family, we all have the same expectations and goals for our children – to do well and succeed.

When you are blessed with children something shifts in you. You work harder. You try harder at things with the goal that your children will have a better life than you. You try to lead your children by example. With leading comes expectations for your children. A parents expectation is tied into their goals and dreams for their children and can create hope that children will comply to reach the goals and wishes set for them.

However, what happens when children choose not to follow expectations? What happens when they choose their own path? What then? Who do we blame? Who is responsible?

canstockphoto4080996We’ve all heard sayings such as nature vs nurture or religious teachings that say to train the child and they will never part from you. We also hear if the child does something wrong outside of the parents’ expectation, values and beliefs, then it must be the parents fault.

For many parents the scenario involves living right and doing all the right things. You work hard and set an example such as: driving with your seat belt on; making a choice not to abuse drugs or alcohol; living in a nice neighbourhood; sending your kids to a decent school; and being actively involved in your church, mosque, temple and community. Regrettably, somewhere while setting an example for children and having expectations while following the rules of parenting something goes wrong. Children decide to do things different. Issues and behaviours such as: drugs; breaking the law; getting locked up; and on and on are not part of our plans for our children.

Now what?

Swans If you are like me and think that if you do all best parenting with high expectations for your child, then all will be well and they will follow your lead. Unfortunately for a lot us, this is not always the case.

As children reach a certain age, things change, their influences and choices do not match ours as parents. Sometimes their choice is the polar opposite to our choices for them.

What are our choices as a parent now? I know for me like so many others, I am left broken, angry, hurt, shamed, and disappointed while silently blaming myself. We can often feel that our children have not held up their end of the bargain and they have let us down. We hope they will turn it around and follow our plan and not continue along the wrong path.  

When children have disappointed us it is difficult as a parent not take it personal. When they continue to do things so extreme it can hurt and feel emotionally painful.

However, once you have passed through these feelings, you can come out the other side continuing to love and support your child and just love them unconditionally. As parents we do this because that is what being a parent and human being is about – love in action.