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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    Balancing Emotional Freedom and Parental Expectations

    Rockets screaming by overhead; that's what it was like when you first tasted freedom. Your parents’ expectations melt away with the summer night, the entire world was an open possibility. Of course, you still had to live under the same roof and listen to their dictations. Yet, a sense of independence descended upon you - for the time being.

    The sunsets returned to normal and your rebellious streak faced the fact that once again, childhood was a phase of submission and obedience; despite being able to purchase your own freedom, you were prisoner in your heart. As emotions of validity and self-expression clashed with your parents’ expectations, you felt like Alice in a room swallowed up by a pocket of reality all its own.

    Societal norms dictate respect and reverence towards those above you, especially your parents. But, those same parents want your dreams and aspirations to always come true. You feel empowered but restrained all at the same time, a battle of wills taking place within yourself as you want to succeed while also ensuring your parents don't take control of your life. The dissonance between these two is often jarring and can lead to immense frustration and confusion.

    You don’t want to deny your parents due respect and yet, you also don’t want to stunt your development. Here are a few ideas to assist you in balancing parental expectations with emotional freedom:

    Understand Their Perspective: It can be helpful to recognize your situation in the larger context - your parents only want the best for you. Even if it doesn’t feel like it during heated arguments, remember the intention behind their words and actions.

    Express Your Feelings and Dreams Openly: Rallying behind closed doors will only alienate you from your family. Tell your parents about your dreams and inspire them to support them and be part of your journey.

    Set Boundaries and Create Compromises: Human relations run smoothest when both sides understand each other’s limitations - explain how you don’t want to be dragged down with something that isn’t beneficial to you while explaining why they’re concerned. Creating a compromise which suits both parties needs is ideal.

    Retreat the Big Picture: You may not see it now, but this parental oppression could end up aiding you in the future. It could possibly manifest into you not making the same mistakes they did or in assisting you in honing discipline and acceptance of responsibility. Shift your focus to how this temporary difficulty may end up providing lifetime dividends.

    Sometimes, it may be difficult to break free from a prison built on expectations, but in these times where society is progressing and moving away from the habits of their parents, remind yourself of the greater cause, your individual dreams and passions, and figure out the best way to communicate it with the people who are most important to you. With broadened perspective and understanding, everyone involved will thank you for it in the long run.

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