Not Logged in.
Book Jacket
For Today I Am a Boy
"A sharply written debut novel. A coming-of-age tale for our time."
-...
More about this book

Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

Created: 05/27/15

Replies: 11

Posted May. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1358

Expert

Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

Do you think any of the Huang children lived up to their parents' expectations? Were their expectations reasonable or overly demanding? In the end, do you think either parent was proud of any of their children? Do you think the parents truly knew or understood any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?


Posted Jun. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 158

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

I think the Huangs, as immigrants, were always on edge, always expecting something would happen to upset the life they had struggled so hard to create. For this reason, they were constantly nagging their children to fit within the limits they had set for themselves. The children, on the other hand, were essentially Americans and felt their parents' limits were confining and unreasonable. I don't think the parents truly appreciated the potential of each of their children. I think the mother seemed resigned to what she felt each child had become, but she was not happy because she wanted them to be what she herself had wanted to be and never accomplished. She seemed to know her children better but that didn't make her more accepting. On the other hand, the siblings seemed to know each other very well, even if they didn't seem to be so self aware, and were quite accepting of each other.


Posted Jun. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 250

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

The father seemed to have expectations for his son, and that was what was important to him. Obviously Peter was not reaching those expectations. The girls, well they were girls. The mother seemed to be constantly fighting her own demons to worry about what would happen to each child. The children were often confused as to just what that expectation should be--keep their culture and traditions or move on to this new life.


Posted Jun. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 171

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

I think any parent has hopes for his/her child. To label these hopes as expectations is to limit the potential growth of a child's intellect. The Huang parents had expectations and Helen was the only child who came close to fulfilling them. But even she was unable to keep to the life path her father expected. I think the sisters understood each other more than they were willing to admit. They expressed this understanding with jealousy and sometimes contempt, rather than sympathy, but were ultimately growing closer where the author chose to leave them at the end of the book.


Posted Jun. 02, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cameronr

Join Date: 06/02/15

Posts: 12

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

This family was pretty dysfunctional, all around -- but what family doesn't have its issues? It seemed there wasn't much honesty about expectations and desires. It's almost like they all just ignored the elephant(s) in the room and hoped all would go well -- which it rarely does when handled this way.
But it is easy to judge this family or any family. No one truly knows how they would react when placed in a similar situation. I think there were cultural ramifications going on ... or am I believing the stereotype that, particularly older, Asians are more reserved with their emotions and feelings??
My brother and I are pretty honest with each other. Sometimes blatantly honest but it works for us, especially since it is all grounded in humor. But we've never had to deal with anything too hard - like the death of a parent or splitting assets - just his divorce and we both agreed his (ex)wife was a you-know-what :)


Posted Jun. 07, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindaj

Join Date: 03/18/14

Posts: 20

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

Overly demanding, definitely. The father was a tyrant and the mother was a milquetoast. I felt very sorry for Peter and his sisters, and I"m amazed one or more didn't end up dead!


Posted Jun. 08, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 111

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

The parents expectations were totally overly demanding. I think this is not so abnormal given who the mother/father were and their circumstances. The children struggled on many fronts each acting out the family dysfunction in their different ways. The children did not live up to the hope/demands of the father or mother. And no, the parents did not know their children nor did they express or demonstrate any desire to know their children. Sad, lost children. I hope they find happiness together.


Posted Jun. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

The patents drove their children away. Their tyrannical and controlling ways divided the family along with constructing to their personal challenges. Each child suffers some personal issue, no doubt their upbringing has some culpability. Each child couldn't wait to escape at 18, they seldom visited once embarking on their own, that itself speaks volumes. As the story progresses we discover parents were disappointed in their children in some form and the children were clearly disappointed in their parents. Parents hardly knew their children intimately, rather family with familiar with the superficial aspect along with assuming. The siblings understood each other dead on.


Posted Jun. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 58

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

For me parents' expectations for their children is a blend of ambitions they had for themselves but for whatever reason did not achieve, cultural expectations, societal expectations, realities of ones economic status, gender, and limitations of one's societies, and understanding of each child. In each family and often for each child the percentages of each of those parts will vary. I think it is often hard in the moment to understand if the expectations are reasonable or overly demanding and I also think that even as a child too often may feel the "expectations" are too over demanding but children with no expectations do not necessarily have anything to achieve.

There were definitely expectations for the "son" and very less so for the daughters.
The daughters did what they wanted it seemed with a lot less interaction from the parents, the father would take the success but really did not do much when the daughters were running wild.

How interesting that they all were interested in "running" away as soon as they could and never wanting to return.


Posted Jun. 11, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

There is certainly a stereotype of Asian parents pushing their children to get a good education. This has been true for the few Asian parents I know (like my daughter-in-law). The parents in the book didn't seem to know their children, or understand their lives, or care to.


Posted Jun. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kathleenb

Join Date: 09/14/12

Posts: 72

Expert

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

Unreasonable there was no direction or help just demands. Peter the powerful king was supposed to be the best. Helen did the best she completed college. The other girls failed miserably. So out of four only one succeeded.


Posted Jul. 02, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
poniesnpearls

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 30

RE: Were the parents' expectations reasonable or overly demanding? did any of the children live up to them? Do you think the parents truly knew any of their children? How well do you think the siblings understood each other?

I didn't get the sense that any of these family members truly understood or knew one another very well. There was more of a sense of hopelessness and escape attached to this family.


Reply

Please login to post a response.