Agony Aunt’s expert advice on dealing with parental expectations

Living up to parental expectations

I am a 17-year-old boy. I took up Science after my board exams, because I scored really good marks and science seemed like the paved out path for me. However, now I find it very difficult to cope with my studies and don’t enjoy it at all. I know for sure that I don’t want to do this in future. I want to explore other career options and am slightly inclined towards Arts. But my parents are hell bent on making me an engineer. I don’t know how to convince them about me trying out other options. What do I do?

Ans: Often the mindset regarding certain things might influence our decision making capacity. In your parents case the mindset is such that higher the score better are chances in the science field. In order to convince them to let you explore other options, it is important for them to be oriented with the other options. Thus, help them understand what other options you wish to explore along with the pros and cons and take into consideration their apprehensions as well. Unless you honestly put forth your reluctance to study engineering, it might not lead to result you want.

A housewife’s desire  

I am a 38-year-old housewife. My husband works in a bank and I have two school-going children. My entire day is spent in taking care of their needs. I wish to start something of my own since a very long time. But, I have been relegated to these daily chores so much, that I don’t have time to start anything or even plan it out. Also, I don’t know how supportive my children would be about the same and if they will be able to handle their own work. I cannot make a decision. I am highly confused. What do I do?

Ans: Your confusion is laced with lot of anxiety as to how will the kids manage on their own if you take up work. In order to calm yourself and also focus on establishing your own set up for work, it is essential to first understand that guilt would not be instrumental. You are simply delegating the tasks that your kids and husband are able to handle and starting to do so gradually is essential. Delegating work related to kids with husband could also help you worry less. The transition here is to make yourself feel comfortable with doing things for yourself without feeling guilty that it is taking off time from your other responsibilities. The key is to strike a balance between the two roles.

The gender games

 I am a 27-year-old married man. I have been married since three years and we do not have any children. I am very unsure about my sexuality. I have been attracted to the same-sex in the initial years of my adolescence and even after that. But I have always avoided pondering about it and figuring it out. However recently, I met a man of about my age through work and have felt very strongly for him. I care for my wife a lot, but there is a severe lack of passion and romance between us. I do not wish to be in this relationship. I don’t know how to confront my wife about this since that will completely change both our lives. Please help me out.

Ans: The realisation about your sexuality has to become an acceptance for you to begin with. Once you have gained that acceptance with self, discussing this with your wife would be more with assertiveness than simply apprehension. Since you have decided that you do not wish to be in this relationship the more you will try and delay the conversation, the more hurt might develop in the process. Both of you could also seek professional help in order to help deal with the changes individually as well as a couple.

Smoking is injurious for personal life

I am a 37-year-old man. I have been working at a bank for the past 10 years. Not long back, I picked up the habit of smoking from a few of my friends at work. I think I’m addicted to smoking. This has also affected my relationship with my wife. She gets very angry at me without reasons and I retaliate with anger. I am trying to quit smoking, but it is not coming easy. What should I do about this?

Ans: One of the most important fact to bear in mind is that you realise smoking being an issue and that you are addicted to it without others pointing it out to you. Quitting can be approached in various ways, usually pharmacotherapy works in form of nicotine patches or nicotine replacement therapy to begin with in order to get a head start with the quitting process. Once you see that there is satisfactory result, you can also opt for counselling so that any underlying reason for a relapse with regards to an emotional upheaval can be addressed.

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