E is for Expectations…

It’s a phrase that you always hear: I wish my parents didn’t have such high expectations of me.

I’ve uttered it. Somewhere along the line, you’ve uttered it. I get it. I understand.

Now that I am older, and less egocentric, I now realise that the pressure that I felt from the hawk-like eyes of my parents wasn’t because they thought I was a failure and could do better. It was for a whole other reason entirely.

From the time you are born, parents spend pretty much every waking second with you. Of course, as you get older and reach a certain level of independence, you see them less, but they still see you more than any other person in the world. As a result, they are the people that have the most insight into who you are and what you are capable of. Sometimes, they have more insight than you, yourself – especially when you are an egocentric and pigheaded teenager (don’t argue with me, all teenagers are egocentric and pigheaded, that’s just the way it is).

When I was a teenager, I thought that my parents’ expectations of me were unrealistic and downright unfair. How could they set me up like that? I felt like they had tied my shoe laces and that I was destined to attempt a couple of steps before faceplanting directly into a puddle of muddy water.

What they had really done, was measure the size of the wings that I kept hidden, even from myself, and given me a flight plan that they knew very well I would be more than capable of, if I had just given myself the chance.

Of course, due to my stubbornness, I clipped my wings and declared myself flightless.

I have seen many posts on social media, especially Tumblr, that outline how outraged young people are with their parents’ ability to pressurise their kids so much that said kids are a giant ball of nervous wreck with a side of a pint of ice-cream for comfort.

Now, I don’t want to invalidate any of their feelings on this subject. I am sure that the pressure that they are feeling is every bit as intense and debilitating as what they are making it out to be … but … we have to take the parents’ feeling into account as well. This is where the “less egocentric” bit comes in …

It is a known fact that parents want what’s best for their children. Being older and wiser, their gauge of what is best is usually right, no matter what the child may think on the subject. Parents want their child to have a better life and better opportunities than the ones that they had. That‘s why they set their expectations so high.

Though the parents are in no way faultless – causing frustration, fear of failure, nervousness and stress within their children – their intentions are good. They see what you have inside you and pair it with what their own experiences at your age and place it on your shoulders.

I guess what I am really saying is:

Parents: Please understand that your children are trying their hardest to not let you down, not make a fool of themselves and you. They are still developing who they are and would appreciate it if you gave them a little room in order to let them find that out for themselves.

Kids: Understand that your parents are just looking out for you – like they have all of your life. They aren’t trying to drive you into the dirt, or set the bar so high you can’t even jump to reach it. They want you to have the life they never got the chance to have. Give them a break. Never think that you are alone; don’t let the expectations overwhelm you. You’ll get there. I promise.

Out of Reach

Curled up, knees to chest, leaning against the door. The room is dark, and the world is asleep.
You’ve been up doing homework for hours. Virtually ever since you stepped over the threshold after school. The only time you stopped was to eat, and even then, you had equations eating at your brain cells.
They said you had to take AP Calculus. That was non-negotiable. It’s not like you hated math, but you would have liked the choice for yourself.
It seems like they always have their fingers in your pie. They move you around like Pinocchio – not realising that you are, in fact, already a “real boy”.
Don’t they realise that pushing you makes you panic, makes you freeze, makes you like … this.
You take a breath, use the sleeve of your school jumper to dry the tears that have soaked your cheeks.
‘Mum, I got a C in AP Calculus,’ could never be the words that you say to her.
‘Mrs Miller, Carlie got a C for the latest calculus test,’ was what she would eventually hear from the teacher.
You hit your head with a muffled thump against the door.
Why?

 

It’s been a while since I posted an A-Z post. I thought it was time!
Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about The Lost Tudor. It’s on my to-do list!!! …a list that is a foot long …

Last A-Z Post

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