No Expectation Parenting

This guest post is written by Christian, a dad.

What would it be like to parent with no expectations?

This isn’t the same as expecting your child’s life to be ordinary. Rater, out of the complete universe of possibilities for your child, letting as many grow as possible.

Who knows what our kids will want to do in their life? They may not know. Whatever plans we make now may amount to something, may amount to nothing, and might even be responsible for closing door after door if our plans exist independently of our child’s. What would it be like to keep as many doors open as possible?

What would it be like to let go?

But not in the free-fall sense. Instead, to let go of the idea of a certain type of future. Happiness blooms in many forms and in so many ways…in ways that might be unimaginable now. In ways that might be wildly and fundamentally outside each parent’s experiences and knowledge.

So what would it be like to really be open to the possibility? What would it be like to really see your children, rather that what we might hope to see?

I have to admit I find this a little daunting as a father. It could be a wild ride. It might demand more from me than I currently know how to give. Maybe allowing them to grow will require me to grow as well.

I find seeing what is really in front of me takes some work. How many times do we have a bunch of stuff running around in our heads when we could be just listening or stopping and watching?

I’m not talking about sitting on a nest-egg of a genius child who will fulfill your dreams. I’m talking about something so much better. I’m talking about sitting on a nest-egg of something completely unknown and bursting with possibility and staying with that throughout their lives.

Is it possible to let go of what we want and really look at what we have, what we don’t control and don’t understand, and embrace that instead?

Children are full of possibility and the unknown. Can we let that grow?

Try it. Look into their eyes and think, I have no idea who you are.

Because you really don’t know.

And that’s so exciting.


Christian is a geek, scuba diver, writer and enthusiastic baby-wearing daddy. He has two small children – a 2.5 year old girl and 1 year old boy and writes iOS apps in his spare time.