What is so wrong with a mother having aspirations for a child? Or a spouse for a spouse? Or a boss for an employee? Or a sibling for a sibling? Or a child for a grandparent?
A few things:
1. Aspirations are primarily what we have for ourselves, not others. I know. This is hard. But ultimately my friend’s bright and capable daughter needs to decide for herself who she aspires to become.
2. When we try to coerce someone into wanting to achieve in particular ways, we run several risks: we may confuse them from doing their own investigation about what they want to work hard for, we may foster a stubborn resistance to caring or trying anything, we may end up decreasing our relationship access on an intimate level.
3. When we get too focused on what others “should” do, we may not be paying enough attention to our own goals and dreams.
Every relationship does indeed have a component of expectation. I expect Pete to not cheat on me; if he does, we’re going to have a problem. I expect my children to treat me decently; if my kids behave in ways that call into question our mutual love for one another, we’re going to have a conversation. These are not unreasonable expectations. I am not asking anyone to be different than who they are. I am not asking Scott to give me hugs 12 times a day or Michael to text me 4 times a day keeping me apprised of his schedule. I don’t ask my daughter to loan me her shoes. I don’t ask my husband to develop a sudden appreciation for mushrooms.
To say that there are no expectations in relationships is an over-statement. But I am so concerned that we keep heaping expectations on ourselves and others that I am willing to overstate my case. Check our expectations and reel ‘em in!