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Family Legacies and Expectations

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It is completely understandable that we frequently tend to make choices for our children, interfering with their desires and decision-making. We apply what we consider to be more beneficial for them, all with the good intentions that characterize parenting. However, sometimes it is necessary to stop for a moment and reflect on these momentary interferences with our children and ask ourselves the following question: How much of me and my personal history am I depositing in my son / daughter? This is the question that we will examine in the following article. We live in an era in which the values of acceptance, validation and tolerance towards those we consider different prevails. However, many may have difficulty putting these values of acceptance and validation into practice, resulting in potential reoccurring conflicts within the family. This can result in a feeling of inadequacy in those parents who feel that, despite applying guidelines that they consider to be appropriate and beneficial, observe a deepening in the distance between themselves and their children. There are a multitude of elements that are open for consideration within this topic and so we will focus on the issue of: family legacies and expectations to be fulfilled.

Throughout my experience as a psychologist, I have frequently met parents concerned about the changes in the behavior of their children who come to the consultation seeking answers (and even questions) to the changing attitude of their offspring. They highlight changes in academic results, communication between parent and child or even in friendships. On many occasions, these phenomenological descriptions fail to identify the true feelings of the child, who when consulted, attribute the issues described by the parent to the perceived restriction of their freedom or their decision-making. "My father will never accept it", "They always tell me what I have to do", “My parents want me to study X" are common verbalizations made by young people who come to therapy. They feel deeply that their own preferences and tastes are an authentic disappointment to the values that have been instilled in them and to the expectations placed upon them. This is not a trivial issue. Young people need to feel accepted by their fathers and mothers. For children it is important to feel the support of the defining figures in their lives who provide the template for their self-worth and self-esteem. Fathers and mothers play a fundamental role in this sense: they provide, through their words and actions, a feeling that, in an ideal situation, translates into affection and acceptance and, ultimately, in the acquisition of freedom. On occasion this does not happen, and this is where the difficulties in the filial parental relationship can arise. The solution(s) for the problem(s) caused by this are difficult to elaborate on in a brief article such as this. However, every solution starts with a question, so let us return to the question that was posed at the beginning: How much of me and my personal history am I depositing in my son / daughter? and let's expand it: What expectations are not being met from my point of view? Let's end by asking ourselves: Am I really letting my son / daughter live their own life?

SINEWS intends to provide, for all those who feel identified with this article, a safe and reliable space to address the difficulties outlined here.  

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