How to manage expectations from parents
For many adults, one of our biggest fears is that we don’t live up to who our parents wanted us to be. Many of us are afraid of failing our parents and are always working to prove to our parents that we can be the people they want us to be.
While most parents want the best for us, some parents can have very high expectations. Others can have their expectations that they want you to meet, while their expectations have nothing to do with what you want.
How can we manage expectations from parents? How can we live our own lives, not be total disappointments to our parents but still get to do what we want and make decent humans out of ourselves?
How can we manage the expectations from parents such that we are true to ourselves without feeling like total failures?
One way you can achieve this is through self-awareness. You can know who you are and what you want, such that you don’t sway with every wave. When you are not self-aware, you will definitely be pushed however way your parents see fit. You cannot complain about them pushing them to the direction they desire because you don’t know what they want, so they see the best choice is to decide for you.
Self-awareness will help you know who you really are, your strengths and limitations, so you can create a life on your terms. When you are self-aware, you will not be putting yourself in positions and situations you can’t handle because you understand what your limitations are. Knowing this, and explaining it to your parents, they will get the picture that you know what you want and probably let you be.
Be responsible so they can trust you
When you claim that you want independence to make your own decisions, be sure that you have proved you can do this. When you are a responsible individual, your parents will trust you more with your decisions.
However, when you are constantly screwing up and always letting them pick the pieces, don’t be mad when they can’t trust you with your own life.
A responsible individual earns trust. When you show them that you can make sane decisions on your own, they trust you and let you make decisions without micromanaging you.
Seek out to find your own path
If your need for independence is screaming from within you, seek out to find your own path. Your parents’ expectations of you may not be what you want out of your life.
You can get out there and seek out your path. They may not agree with it at first, but once they see you know what you are doing, they will let you be.
Take it easy on yourself, it takes time
If you are feeling that you are not meeting the set expectations, don’t be too hard on yourself. Some things take time. I was talking to a 24-year-old who felt that she was disappointing her parents because so far she did not have the financial stability she desired and still depended on the parents from time to time. Her parents were more than willing to help her and yet she was still hard on herself.
Some things don’t work so fast for many of us and we still need the help of our parents from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. So long as you are not wasting your life and you are genuinely trying to make it work, keep up on it, and take it easy.
Cut them some slack
I agree some parents are very pushy and their expectations too much. However, for most of them, the good ones, all they want is the best for their child. Cut them some slack for wanting the best for you and pushing to make this happen.
Don’t rebel at everything the parents say without considering whether it is reasonable or not. Just as you want them to understand you, try to understand them as well. It is a two-way path.
Self-educate to learn more about yourself
Self-educate and learn skills outside your education. Some skills that are not taught in schools are the skills that will help you forge through life. Learn some soft skills. Self-educate and learn other schools of thought besides those taught by parents and the education system.
For example, through self-education, I learned about the aspect of mindset, and that ability is not fixed. This way, I taught myself not to think that I am not good at something but instead, try out an area as long as I am interested in it, put in the hours, persist and use grit, and see how it goes. This is how I found myself making a living through writing, something I had never considered before.
Experiment more to find your line
You will never know what else you can do until you get out there and try it out. If you feel that what your parents want you to be is not what you want, get out there and try it out.
I have written numerous times about how much your 20s should be about experimenting especially in careers. Take jobs outside your fields and develop different skills. Through this form of experimentation, it is how you learn what else you can do and you may just find your dream career.
Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone
You may be talking about how much your parents have great expectations of you and yet you are not ready to move out of their safe cocoon. You may still be depending on them financially and yet you complain when they tell you what to do.
Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. If you want your independence, you have to pay for it, sometimes, the hard way. Work extra hard, take different jobs, learn new skills, and buy your independence by getting out of your comfort zone.
Stepping out is the best thing you can do, and is the first step to self discovery. It means ownership, to own your masters, to own your art, to own your future and to write your own story.
Sure it’s scary, and it sometimes is paralyzing. Often than not, you don’t get it right the first time. Isn’t that the point though? To live, is to explore and discover.
Thank you Njoki. It’s scary to step out but it is worth it in the end