When Parent’s Impose Their Expectations On Their Kids, It All Goes To Hell.

So, good luck with that.

Anthony C. Fireman
6 min readMay 26, 2021


Photo by Joeyy Lee

Long ago, my wife and I agreed that I’d stay home with my now elementary school-age kids. Yep, when they get home from school, mom or a nanny aren’t there to dish out the cookies and milk. Instead, they get me. I’m at the door wearing cargo shorts, crocs, and a faded, slightly torn, Led Zeppelin t-shirt. Occasionally, to feel like a man, I smoke a cigar.

And in this role, I’ve learned, when it comes to loving kids, it is not about putting your arm around them so they feel better after a long, hard day.

Nor is it the triumph you feel after you’ve willed them to ride a two-wheel bike.

And, it is certainly not when you dupe yourself into believing they’ll say great to see you the moment they get off the bus.

No, love is none of these things. Why? Because a parents’ expectations about what they think will happen don’t match the reality. In other words, mom’s expectations are clay pigeons and her sharpshootin’ kids are holding a loaded rifle ready, willing, and able to fire. And to see your expectations obliterated, that, right there, is hard.

Take when children come home from school. You, as a mom or dad, want to know they’re learning a little more than the day before, so you ask your son, “how was school today?”

Now love tells you that you’re posing a simple question only for the simple reason: you want to connect with him on a deep level.

And in your mind, the dream goes deeper. After he eats said cookies and gives up the goods, you’re certain he can head outside and play with his friends knowing you’re are behind him and him knowing he’s good.

But that’s not what happens. Instead, he says what all children say, “nothing”. That’s correct. According to little Jimmy, nothing happened at school. My daughter has a clever way of putting it, she says, “the ‘uge”.

Now, any wise guardian knows that “nothing” didn’t happen. Something happened, and unless you’re willing to extract his molars one by one, you are left locked out and frustrated because the boy, in a sense, cut the wire that allows for…



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Anthony C. Fireman

Comedian breaking every rule on this thing.