Expectations – Disappointment Under Construction?

“The expectations of others were the bars I used for own cage” – Anonymous

Keeping High Expectations From Your Child! - Expectations – Disappointment Under Construction?

When a child is born, we want him/her to be healthy and beautiful and intelligent and what not.. But do we expect them to be all of the above? No. But somewhere along, as the years pass by, this “want” changes to “must” which basically translates to expectations. This change does not happen overnight but gradually. “Expectations” is a very adult thing. And so when we think that our kids have “grown up” (even though they never stop growing, right?), we start “expecting” them to behave in a certain way.

I am not all against having expectations. I know many children work fairly well on the concept. Parents expect something of the child, and the child excels in it because they want to make their parents proud. Fair enough right? You could say that’s not fair because just to make the parents happy, the child might do something well, but not actually have an interest in it. I say, it works well with really small kids who cannot be really taking decisions with their lives at a young age. Also, all children might not be very keen on taking education seriously at a young age and that does not mean we should let them opt out of it.

But other than the essentialities, I find expectations to be a dampener in all relationships. Especially our relationship with our kids. When we don’t expect our kids to do something or be like someone, we find everything that they do is a miracle or a blessing or something wonderful hitherto unseen. Pretty much like our baby’s’ first crawl, first step, and first word. We know all babies do it. And yet we marvel at our child’s ability to do it. Almost as if we didn’t think they would be able to do it. Isn’t it such a happy situation? The child learns at his/her own pace, we don’t take any stress, and at the end, everyone is happy. Contrast this with situations when our kids “grow up” and we expect them to top their class, ace the race or be the exemplary student/child with the perfect manners. We unduly put them under a lot of pressure. The children do it because they “have to”, we stress over our child’s ability whether he/she will be able to do it, and at the end of it, EVEN IF the result is achieved, not everyone is happy. Is it worth it then? Does happiness have to be one sided when we grow up? Us or the parents?

I find this expectation business pretty much like the dowry system. It just never ends. As long as you feed it, it keeps returning for more. There is no end to it. And for it’s worth, it always ends up souring relationships. It’s not that we should not expect or set up achievable goals for our children to meet, because that’s how we teach them to dream big and work harder. But if the children fail to achieve those goals, it does not mean that the child is not talented enough. It means that the child just needs another chance to do it better. It does not mean that the child does not respect you. It just means that he/she may do better in other areas of life. Always hope, but never expect. And that, parents, is the growing up that we need to do 😉

Ghata has been quite the center of attention during her school and college days due to her unique name, but now she enjoys her new found title of Mommy to her 5 month old hyper active princess. She is an Engineering Graduate and works with an MNC for a living. But what she really loves is reading books, spending time with her baby and writing about anything that catches her fancy. She blogs at My World. Also, she is the author of a future bestseller. At least in her head 🙂

  • By putting the burden of our expectations on the kids, we unduly pressurise them to do what they would rather not do, and thus end a nascent dream….Uncanny, but that’s what I wrote about too!! 🙂

    • ghata singhal

      ohh,…is it? Let me go and read that! 🙂

  • Great post. I despise expectations, but it is only human to be warped into it. I think it is particularly damaging for children in such ways like expecting them to study one thing over another. Kids have such diverse personalities, who are we to control?
    I think expectations also hurt other relationships such as marriages and especially relationships with inlaws. Like you can’t expect your mother-in-law to do things exactly as your mother, and so forth.

    • ghata singhal

      true Alexandra. But i believe it hurts kids the most because sometimes they don’t even know hat’s happening! Glad you liked the post 🙂

  • Tanima Shrawan Bhattacharjee

    Unduly expectations can definitely hamper a child’s achievements but having no expectations can also be harmful. So, If you know your kid, and you are honest about what kind of kid you have, then you should be able to set realistically high expectations. You don’t send a middling academic kid to Eton, nor do you tutor a struggling kid to get her into Harvard. Because life at Eton, or at Harvard without a tutor, is a hotbed of achievement that can be daunting for all but the most academically able kids (whose parents somehow set exactly the right level of aspiration during their formative years). You can log on to parentlane app goo.gl/5zHIIV f they have useful ideas and articles on parenting.