The Not So Great Expectations

I have a teenage son. So for those parents out there who are feeling a wee bit frustrated (or perhaps to the point of tearing out your hair), Hey, just to let you know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I fully empathize with you.

Some days he's like an angel. But on other days, you would probably want to disown him. It's a very confusing state. I don't even want to talk about why. It's just the way it is.

If your teenager doesn't fall into that category, then I congratulate you. Please don't read any further. This clearly won't apply to you. But if you are having some difficulty coping with this kind of love-hate relationship like me, you are welcome to carry on reading.

Clearly, I do not qualify to counsel anyone about raising teenage kids. Being a Paediatrician does not automatically qualify you either. So, just get that out of the way. I am just figuring this out as I go along. As a father. So, bear with me.

I have been pondering about the arguments that we have. After some thoughts, I realize the emergence of a pattern. I think I am beginning to understand that in the midst of the clashes of insults and more insults, embedded within is that incongruity in expectations from both sides. I think this may well be the root of the problem.

If you can work out the conflict in expectations and interests, and come to a reasonable compromise, maybe... just maybe we can begin to see eye to eye on issues from cleaning up his bedroom to college decisions etc. Now, that's of course going to require some studying. I am currently studying his behaviour. Trying to understand his standpoint and expectations. It's very puzzling and still pretty much mind boggling. But I suppose it's life long learning. We have to work it out as we go along. Hopefully by the time you figure it out, he would have outgrown his teenage years and moved on with life. I wouldn't mind that at all....

Well, just to tie in with running. I think it is a certain 'Great Expectations' on running that got me into injuries and more injuries. I need to get to know my body well and start listening to it too. After all, I am no Superman. When you are 40, you better start paying some attention to what your body is trying to tell you. So it's high time to consider making appropriate adjustment and not to push yourself to the point where you may end up with long term repercussion. Now, what's the point in that?

I am not trying to deflate your super ego. I am sure I am not you and certainly you are capable of going all the way. But, some of you may well be like me. I am sure of it. Adidas may say to you "IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING". But I now believe that this isn't for everyone. Just like running marathon is not for everyone either. So, let's not get too emotionally stirred and psych up that we get way ahead of ourselves and lose our perspective.

But hey, I didn't say I'll quit running. But suffice to say that I have learned to take it a little easy on my aging body and pay closer attention of taking care of it instead of abusing it. My expectations can come down to that level. So, I guess you can too. (Of course, if this applies to you).

I guess the "NOT SO GREAT EXPECTATIONS" isn't such a bad idea after all.


  1. Hi. Well, even a psychologist also cant read one's behavior/ cognition ACCURATELY, especially a now generation teen. They are undergoing a transition period, by exploring their independence and developing a sense of self ( Identity vs Confusion). But this stage of behavior will soon emerge once they enter to young/early adulthood. Try to provide proper encouragement and reinforcement to him and NOT argument!
    [P/S: I know u may think tat i'm not a parent thus won't understand ur feeling BUT I hope u still remember what course i'm taking ;) this period is short yet important for a teen and parents, patience and toleration are 200% needed for parents!] 养儿一百岁,长忧九十九 - Chinese says....I know.

  2. 养儿一百岁,长忧九十九??!! That sounds depressing....but thanks for advice anyway!

  3. Hi Francis, you are lucky to have teenage son at your relatively young age... my 3 "mercedes benzs" have still long way to go before I can fully understand what you experience...:P

    I guess you have another "teenage son" trapped in your ~40-year-old body too... the one that always expect more, contradicts to the usual believe of the ~40 side...:)

    Am fully agreed with your that "Impossible Is Nothing" can be misleading, and even lethal! Sometimes what we need is just as simple as this: common sense.

    Oh... Good Luck and Have Fun in HK Marathon!

  4. Totally agree! Thanks, well, will not torment myself in HK. Will try to enjoy it as much as I can. After all, I still have Tokyo Marathon up ahead a week after HK.


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