Watching children grow up and chase their dreams is a cherished part of any parents life. But what happens when their dreams aren’t exactly what mum or dad had imagined for them?
It’s a problem faced by an increasing number of parents, who whether they like it or not, find themselves planning out their child’s future and perhaps trying to reach the goals they couldn’t achieve growing up. No matter what the reason, it isn’t a healthy relationship to have, but unfortunately it’s the case for one mother who claimed her adult daughter “isn’t really what she imagined her to be”.
Reaching out to fellow mums via online forum Gransnet, the woman explained how she is struggling to connect with her 24-year-old daughter who has followed a different path than she had pictured for her.
While the mum described her daughter as a “very glamorous young woman” who has forged a successful career in the fashion industry, she is still disappointed her child hasn’t followed a different route and started a family.
“She’s not really the daughter I would’ve wanted,” the mum said. “At this age I imagined we’d be chatting about marriage/grandkids, she’d live near us, maybe have/or be studying for a more meaningful job like a vet or a doctor, as she was always an outstanding student and very clever.”
The mum continued by criticising her daughter’s life decisions adding: “Instead she’s rather cold and absent, lives far away from us in the city and is constantly dripping in obscenely expensive designer clothing and accessories, something I don’t really understand. It just seems shallow and materialistic to me. She’s not really interested in having kids, although she has an (equally ambitious) long-term partner”.
Feeling sad and depressed, the woman reached out to fellow forum users to ask for advice. However, her comments were mainly met with disapproving replies from parents who were shocked by her controlling nature.
“Your daughter is who she is. You can’t dictate how another adult should live her life. All you can do is accept her as she is,” one person exclaimed.
“Just love her and her talents, if you keep criticising her one day she may reject you altogether and you won’t like that either,” another said.
While a third suggested she overlook the differences they have and learn to cherish the relationship. “Your dreams of closeness may yet come to pass, but whilst they are yet unfulfilled can I urge you to admire what you can and overlook the differences between you – as our children sometimes have to do with us,” they commented.
Although it may seem harmless to parents as the just want the best from their children, the pressure from mums and dads to follow a specific path to success is known to have detrimental effects on a child’s life. In fact, according to psychologist Dr Lynn Margolies, even the brightest of kids may get poor grades as they are unable to withstand the pressure.
Detailing the tricky parent/child relationship on Psych Central, Margolies said the best way for parents to help their children reach their potential – even if this isn’t in an area they expected – is by focusing on what the child is actually interested in.
“Kids are most likely to do their best when parents set realistic goals consistent with kids’ interests and personalities, and focus on valuing and developing their unique strengths,” she explained.
“Once the stakes are not so high it is easier for kids to take initiative, test themselves, and persevere without being held back by fear.”