Home article This is MY Life – When Your Parents Have Different Hopes and Dreams Than You Do

This is MY Life – When Your Parents Have Different Hopes and Dreams Than You Do

This is MY Life – When Your Parents Have Different Hopes and Dreams Than You Do

From the minute you come into your parents’ lives, all they really want for you is success. In the early years, they watch you succeed at reaching developmental milestones, like smiling, crawling, walking and talking. This likely brought your parents so much joy that they have tons of videos and photos of everything you did!

As you get older, they hope you are successful in school, in your social life, and emotionally as well. Parents hate to watch their children suffer or struggle. Our hopes and dreams of you becoming an independent, well-adjusted, successful adult are second to none.

As you become a teen moving towards adulthood, all of these hopes and dreams that your parents hold for you become really big and important to them. Remember, they want you to be happy and successful. But what happens when your own desires, hopes and dreams for your own path and your own future don’t match up with those of your parents?

This happens more frequently than you might realize, and even though your parents are coming from a place of love and caring, this can be frustrating and cause a lot of conflict and confusion.

Do not confuse your parents’ hopes and dreams with your own. You parents might expect that you will go to college, and then medical school and become a doctor. You might even be really good at science and math. But if this isn’t your passion, and your heart isn’t in it, then this isn’t really what you should be doing with your life.

What if you really wanted to be an electrician or work in the automotive industry? What if you want to be an architect or a graphic designer? Will you be happy spending your life in medicine? If you follow someone else’s path rather than your own, you might always feel unhappy with your choices and wonder how different your life could have been if you followed your passion.

Here are some tips for how to proceed if your dreams are different from what your parents want:

  1. Remember that this is your life to live. When you’re out of your parents’ house and on your own, you will be responsible for yourself. Ask yourself if you want to be doing what you love or what they want you to do. Which will make you happier?
  2. Talk calmly and sincerely to your parents about your desires, dreams and goals. Tell them kindly and gently if you don’t share the goals and plans they have made for you.
  3. If your plan for yourself is different from what they had hoped for, make sure you have a well thought out alternative plan to present to them. Don’t just tell them you’re not going to be a doctor or you’re not going to college. Tell them what you actually want to do with your life and how you plan to achieve it. Present them with a list of art schools you’re interested in, or tell them about the trade school or job that you found for yourself.
  4. Talk to your college counselor at your high school. They can be very helpful in listening to your goals and helping you to find a good match and a solid plan. They can also advise you if college isn’t necessarily the best path for you to reach your goals. It is not for everyone anymore. There are many ways to find success.
  5. Consider a Gap Year if you’re unsure of your path. There are many things you can do to give yourself a little time to figure out where you are headed. You can do a volunteer program here or abroad. It will afford you an opportunity for personal growth and development, which can give you clarity. You could start taking classes at a community college and get a job. Having some work experience and exposure to a sampling of college classes can also help you define your path.

When it’s all said and done, everyone eventually finds their path. Success is yours if you want it. There are many different roads to success. Some are conventional and others are not. Follow your heart and always work your hardest to do your personal best. Your passions, talent, and dedication will guide you towards what it right for you.

Lori Freson Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.
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