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<< the squashing of arbitrary *no's* has forced
me to be conscious of just how much i'm operating on autopilot sometimes,
listening to the whispering ghosts of my parents' rules and expectations
and relaying them into *rules* that my own children must abide by. >>

Just wanted to point out that use of "expectations," right between rules and

Candid, honest use of a word, evidence of where it can commonly be found.
There's another place it sits: "parental expectations"
That just doesn't sound as useful to me as "parental generosity" or "parental