I think they can make or break a child. Maybe not the expectations themselves, so much as the manner in which they are put on your child…
“Do your chores!”
“Do your homework!”
These expectations are perfectly within reason… What about the ones we need to examine further though?
“My son is going to grow up and be a doctor.”
“My daughter is going to grow up and get married to a nice man someday.”
“My son ain’t gonna like none of that girly shit!”
“My daughter is going to go to college and graduate at the top of her class”
“My son is going to work hard as a driller, just like his old man!”
“My daughter is going to learn to sew, just like her momma!”
Ummm…. It’s fine and dandy to want to best for your child, but that’s not always what you feel is best for them.
Sure, I would love it if my son grows up to be a doctor, or even if he went to college, or even if he doesn’t do either of those things… As long as he is HAPPY!
I will certainly encourage him to do things to better his life, but all I really expect of him is to be strong, and do what makes him happy, regardless of what other people think or say. If my son likes “girly shit,” cool! That doesn’t mean anything to me other than my son has the “balls” to like whatever he wants. As much as I don’t want to see him go through the potential torment for not liking things that are “specific to his gender,” I would rather that, than have him go his whole life feeling as though he is unable to express himself, or for him to be unhappy… I will hold his hand and have his back no matter what.If my son were to approach me in later years and tell me that he likes boys, or doesn’t feel like he is a boy, or something else to that effect, I’m sure it will be hard… Maybe not so much the liking boys thing, but if I were to go 14 years thinking I had a little boy, and he’s now telling me that he is in fact, my little girl, I’m sure it will be a hard adjustment, but it is one, even now, that I am willing to make… I really don’t understand how a parent could ever make their child feel unloved, especially when it is because their child didn’t turn out “as expected.” How can a parent live with themselves, after driving their children away? Maybe it’s because I was fortunate enough to come from a supportive family, but the concept of a family so broken eludes me. I will never understand. Maybe because I don’t want to understand, the thought of it saddens me deeply. My heart breaks for those members of the LGBTQ community who cannot go home, who were cast out by their families, who’s parents couldn’t pull their heads out of their asses and realize their child is still the same person inside….. Why? What good does it do? Why would you intentionally break your family into pieces?
I’m sure that at some point, we’ve all done things that didn’t live up to our parents’ expectations… One thing to keep in mind when raising children of your own.
I’m sure it wasn’t expected, when I was arrested for shoplifting at the age of fourteen.
I’m sure it wasn’t expected, when when my parents caught me smoking cigarettes (repeatedly) at a young age.
I’m sure it wasn’t expected, when my mother found condoms in my room at age fifteen.
I’m sure it wasn’t expected, when the elementary straight A student, ended up being a high school drop-out.
I’m sure it wasn’t expected, when I first admitted that I was in fact, addicted to pills.
I’m sure out of everything, there was so much more that wasn’t expected, when my parents envisioned the future they had hoped for me. No matter what, they were always there for me. Even when they had to do things that I didn’t understand at the time, they always had my back, they always let me know they loved me, and they always supported my decisions. That’s the future I envision for my son, a future with a supportive, loving family.
My expectations for my son are simple…
“Son, I want you to do your best to be responsible.”
“Son, I want you to do your best to show people kindness and understanding.”
“Son, I want you to do your best to be strong.”
“Son, I want you to be yourself.”
Son, I want you to be happy…