Expectations of Parents and Children
by Anita Sud
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
by Alexander Pope
The moment a parent conceives a child, the journey of expectations commences.
The baby’s arrival brings great joy and fulfilment to the lives of parents, who happily adapt to their new lifestyle with alacrity, hitherto unknown to them.
The parents learn when to expect the baby to cry for attention, food and sleep. They are sensitive to all the needs of their precious bundle of joy.
From a toddler, who needs constant supervision, to a school going child, the transition is much too quick!
Expectations kick in. Teachers, parents, friends, relatives, every person the child comes into contact expects specific behaviour.
The child is under constant pressure. In some cases, it’s subtle, while in others more direct.
Responses of children to the expectations of elders also differ, some take it in their stride, others succumb to the stress, impacting their behaviour, self-esteem and personality.
Success and failure are relative to expectations. It is essential that as parents, we recognize how fragile a child is, and allow them the freedom to choose and make decisions, without burdening them with our expectations.
Parents must empower the child with love, knowledge and confidence. They have to stop reliving their childhood through their children, expecting them to fulfil their unachieved dreams, propelling them to follow a path that is not what they want.
As a child grows, he has aspirations and expectations that are self-driven. Often the goals are beyond reach, and lack of capability or circumstances lead to failure.
Parents, teachers and elders must fortify children with the ability to accept and react to disappointment appropriately.
Equip them with the understanding to retract, to reset goals, or change tactics and deal with failure rationally.
It is essential to understand that no two children are similar. An issue may be insignificant to one, but crucial to another.
Reactions to situations differ; a child may be overly sensitive and need help processing and dealing, unlike his friend.
Sensitivity to the needs of our children and students is so crucial, yet often disregarded.
As adults, we must be vigilant and look out for the telltale signs, which may manifest itself in different ways. Unexpected quietness, anger, tantrums, inconsolable crying, sleeping longer, loss of appetite, stomach aches, distancing from friends are all cues that we cannot ignore.
Give children the attention they need in the formative years and do not burden them with your expectations. Set an example by appropriate behaviour, and children will imbibe the right attitudes and values effortlessly.
Our collective endeavour should be to direct children to make responsible choices, have the confidence to attempt difficult tasks and learn from their mistakes.
Our children must have the freedom to discover themselves and find their calling. As a parent, extend support and understanding, restrain from being judgmental and see your child blossom.
Wisdom is in having no expectations. If you learn to stop expecting, you will find happiness, and the choices your child makes will more than meet your expectations.