Expectations: 5 Ways To Manage Parental Hopes and Dreams

5 tips to deal with pushy parents.

Children 29th Dec, 2020

Whatever type of relationship you have with your parents, it is likely there have been times where their expectations of you have been a burden. Whether it is your choice not to go to university, go self employed, or not to have children, your parents will have an opinion. This is perfectly normal, they are entitled to their thoughts. However, you do not have to live your life according to your parents wishes. From people who have a healthy and close relationship with parents, to those who have a fractious and complicated one, you can benefit from managing expectations of your choices and behaviour.


Accept There Will Always Be Expectations:

You need to start by understanding there will always be assumptions and predictions made about your future. This is standard behaviour and not something you have to engage with every time one of your parents gives an opinion. When you learn not to react instantly, or at all, unless a response is required, you will be responding as a grown adult. Not the knee-jerk reaction of a child which is then used to justify your need for parental advice.

Be True To Yourself:

No matter how much you may want to please your parents, you are the one living your life, with all the decisions and actions. Therefore, regardless of whether you are living up to expectations, or doing something totally different, you have to live with the consequences. Make sure your choices are based on your needs and not your parents wishes.

Be Gracious When They Are Right:

There are times when you will be adamant that you do not want to do something and your parents are just as adamant you will love it. On the occasions when they are right, be gracious. Depending on your relationship, you may be teased, or hear ‘I told you so.’, try to stay calm and admit they were right. Then point out that you weren’t ready until now. You could tease back that you might have been ready sooner if they hadn’t mentioned it so often.

Understand Decisions Are Yours To Make:

While you may ask for advice and talk things through with your parents, any action you then take, needs to be your decision. When you start making decisions for yourself, your parents often start to accept that you are a fully grown adult, capable of running your own life. If you rely heavily on parental advice and always follow it, you will struggle to manage their expectations of you, as they will still believe you need to follow their guidance.

Choose Your Advice:

Sometimes advice helps, other times it will infuriate you, it is important to learn when to listen, even change a decision based on it and when to ignore it. If it is a decision you are having difficulty making, discuss it with friends as well as family.

Then your parents will see you have a network of support around you that is bigger than them. If you have asked for advice and they say something you do not like, still give it consideration, they may be wrong, but may also have struck a nerve that you need to address.

In the long run, once you start to manage your parents expectations, you may find it improves your friendship with them. When you make it clear that, while you understand they have their opinions and you respect that, you are not always going to follow their advice, you often become more of an adult in their eyes. You can then have discussions as equals, rather than parent and child (where they always know best), leading to a healthier relationship.

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