How to Deal with Parental Expectations
Today during Alex Banayan's Third Door Mentor Sessions, his mom joined us as a special guest! Having been on both the receiving and giving end of parental expectations, Mrs. Banayan had some incredible wisdom to share with us. In this post you'll find the four main questions that were asked as well as my summary of Mrs. Banayan's answers.
1. Why do my parents not believe in me and my Goals?
Mrs. Banayan shared that she was once the parent who tried to stop her son from going after his dreams. She had a plan for her son: to go to college, become a doctor, and to live a happy life with his family. When Alex began to deviate from that path, she did whatever she could to stop him.
She was acting in fear, as she was afraid that Alex would get hurt and fail. Not only that, she was also afraid of what her life would be like if he went off to follow his own dreams. She would have many sleepless nights and would have to deal with shame from her family and community. She wanted Alex to have the least amount of risk in life as possible.
Mrs. Banayan made it clear that her lack of support wasn't actually about Alex at all, but about her own pain and fear.
Keep in mind:
Your parents are living in their own world with their own beliefs. As their child, when your dreams and goals do not fit in their world, it is natural for them to be worried for you and for themselves. The negative messages your parents tell you come from a place of fear, while they are blind to their love and compassion for you.
You do not have to get stuck in their world. Their world is just a different channel, and you can change the channel. Once you discover your new world, invite them with you, and maybe they'll even come along for the ride. If they don't, no worries, that just means that they are more comfortable staying on the same channel, which is no fault of your own.
"When anyone is in fear, all they want to do is to pull back."
2. What Should I Do if my Parents Don't support my dreams?
Even if you love your parents, you can’t live your life if you are focused on pleasing them. You will regret it if you don't go after your dreams. There are 2 things you can do in order to achieve your dreams even if your parents don't support you.
1. Believe in yourself
Believe in yourself so much that you can ignore their negative chatter. The bigger your belief is, the less their words impact you.
If you truly believe in yourself, you can use your energy to build your own world rather than to fight with your parents.
David Deida once said“Live as if your father is dead.” What would your life decisions look like if you didn't allow yourself to be held back by your parents' judgments?
2. Find an uplifting tribe
Even if you don't have supportive parents, you can always pick your own support group.
When your family isn’t there to support you, your uplifting tribe will be.
Find your people who can keep you moving forward. Here's how.
“There’s a reason the desire is in me. I have to trust that desire.“
3. How can I start to rebuild My relationship with my parents?
Once you are sure of yourself and your life path in your own world, you can slowly start to invite your parents back into your life.
The Main Keys:
Always lead with love and compassion. You may forgive your parents for the horrific things they said to you, even if you choose not to take their advice.
Reach out when you are healthy and strong, so that they can see how sure you are in yourself. Take it one day at a time, rebuilding a relationship takes time.
No matter what, fill your cup with love first, so that you will be ready to give love to your parents. Remember the love your parents have for you and continue to love yourself.
“If you are trying to please your parents all the time, it will be very hard to live your own life.”
4. What advice do you have for parents?
When Alex was pulling away to build his own world and to pursue his interviews, Mrs. Banayan did everything she could do to stop him. She realized she had three options:
Stop the train: Yell & scream and tell him he can’t go
Ignore the train: Disown Alex and stop talking to him
Get on the train: Accept his journey and join him on it
She tried all three, and eventually she did get on the train. It wasn't easy though because that went against her belief system and her dreams for Alex.
Parents must set aside the worry of shame from their community and their own parents if they want to support their child on their own journey. It can be very challenging to be a supportive parent while also taking care of your own needs, but always treat yourself with compassion.
Trust yourself and trust that you raised your child right. Know that sometimes you will make mistakes, and that is okay. Above all, believe in your child.