Our dreams drive our lives. Dreams provide a sense of stability in the unstable, unpredictable times. But often our parents' expectations become a burden on our shoulders and their dreams, an obligation. Many parents in India tend to impose their decisions on their kids when it comes to career building. While they intend to make their children doctors, scientists, and engineers they unknowingly kill their child's innocence and set them up for a lifetime of rat race, showing complete disregard for their aspirations and happiness.
The academic performance or co-curricular talents possessed by others' children influence the parents and they wish these to be mirrored in their own kids.
In our country, the common mentality among parents is that kids are too immature to know what is good for them. While this might be true to some extent, do they ever consider what interests their child? A hand that could paint beautiful canvases is handed a stethoscope. A mind that had an extraordinary prowess to weave stories is made to solve equations and figure math problems. Can a person who is made to give up on their dreams for the sake of a secure career ever find happiness? Is it fair of parents to force children into fulfilling their dreams even when they know the career path curated for them is of no interest to the child? Here are a few reasons why parents have this tendency to force their dreams on their children.
Be it the kid of a neighbor, a relative or their friend, Indian parents enter their children into unsolicited competition with every child they know. With differing interests, contrasting learning speeds and distinct retaining powers, everyone is unique. The academic performance or co-curricular talents possessed by others' children influence the parents and they wish these to be mirrored in their own kids. The constant comparison not only adds to the pressure but also gives them a sense of inferiority, thus adversely affecting their self-esteem.
Why cannot parents accept that just as no two children are identical, their strengths and weakness cannot be the same? While one child may excel in rote learning others may be good at sports or arts. This doesn't mean that the latter kind, who may not score top marks in school is not intelligent or talented.
In a world that runs on money, our parents are concerned more about the package we get in the future than the life we want to lead. There are many who expect their children to focus only on getting into IITs and similar institutes to be able to grab the heftiest package. They need to understand those fat paychecks can't earn us happiness. Pushing us to do something that doesn't make us happy sets us up for a lifetime of discontent.
"A good score in the tenth grade means that you are fit for the Science stream; one cannot earn by writing books, selling paintings, or clicking photographs; engineering and medical fields are the only reputed careers", these are some of the myths that have stayed with parents over the past few decades. They are not willing to let their children take up a different route or walk on a road unknown, as they are too afraid that they'd fail. But isn't life all about failing and rising all over again? Besides, why must success be always measured in terms of money earned, or promotions at work?
Circumstances forced many parents in India to give up on their dreams. It is very common among such parents to impose those dreams on their children.
The Indian education system, based on rote learning glorifies marks, rarely putting any value on incurring knowledge. Apparently, a mark sheet is reflective of the intellect of a student and this is one of the biggest myths ingrained in the minds of the parents. Children are reprimanded if they do not get enough marks on a 25 marks paper that nobody would remember a few weeks later. This system that gives importance to scoring makes parents expect a lot from the children and that too consistently. Students simply do not get a break from fulfilling parental expectations, be it for a unit test or their final exams.
But guess what. only when you grow up, do you realise that no one cares about your percentage in the eighth standard, or how many marks did you score in maths midterm tests in the tenth standard. So can parents give their children and break? Even those who excel in rote learning have to bear the pressure of parental pressure to constantly top their class and that is just not fair.
Circumstances forced many parents in India to give up on their dreams. It is very common among such parents to impose those dreams on their children. The fact is that by doing so they make their children go through the same torment of giving up their ambitions. They should understand we do not have to carry the onus of running the races that they could not, just because we are their children.
So, dear parents, foisting your dreams on your children would kill their individualism and rob them of their aspirations. They would either succumb to your expectations or won't attain the happiness they deserve. There is no silver lining to this cloud. so if you truly love your child, just set them free of your expectations and let them live their dreams.
Saavriti is an author with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author's own.