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Getting expectations of kids right

2 August
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Parental expectations are tricky things.

If they are too low kids will probably reach them, but if you expect little of your kids then be prepared for them to give up when things get tough.

If they are too high, or at least higher than their capability then many kids just give up. It’s better than trying and failing, which can seem like letting down their parents. Alternatively, they may make excuses for not taking part in an activity, game or sport.

Some children will try to meet abnormally high parent expectations, but their efforts may well come at a cost. They may experience stress, anxiety and in some cases, depression due to excessive pressure to perform. First borns, who are often perfectionists can suffer when parental expecatations are excessive, and out of reach. These kids become risk-averse and stick to the straight and narrow.

Expectations are most helpful when they are realistic, which means they are in line with children’s age, abilities and their interests. These types of expectations are the most motivating for kids, as well as the most healthy for kids’ well-being.Are your expectations de-motivating your child........ or worse, damaging their mental health?Ideally, all kids will be self-motivated, not needing adults to lead the way.

But it’s stupid to think that, as many of us need a push to reach a little higher. We just need to make sure that the push is not excessive, and the end result is worth pursuing.

The same logic applies to kids and the expectations we apply to them. Not only should our expectations be within reasonable reach, but they must reflect children’s, rather than our own interests.

So how do your expectations of kids’ behaviour and achievement rate? Too low, too high or just about right?

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