Sunday, September 9, 2007

Are Your Expectations Too High For Your Kids?

It doesn not matter whether it is academics or sports or both,
of course parents what the kids to be better than other kids.
Whether it is something simple like making their beds or drawing
a picture to achieving something more difficult like hitting a
home run or winning in gymnastics, young children want very much
to get their parents approval and find happiness in doing so.
But how much pushing is too much? Push too far and their spirits
will break and they will be set up for disappointment.

Parents who are too competitive often expect to many things from
their children. When a child is going through school and
participating in outside activities, the parents are less
concerned about the happiness of the child than they are about
good grades and winning. An example is when a parent expects an
A in every class even though the child has worked hard to get a
B. For these parents, mistakes are not an option. Rather than
accept that there could be other factors involved, these parent
have a need to put the blame on somebody because their child
'failed'. Even worse is when the parents demand reasons from the
child, who might not know why they were not able to meet their
parents expectations.

For What Reason Do Parents Demand So Much From Their

Family background: Following in the parents footsteps and
'family tradition' has importance to most parents. One example
is if a child comes from a family of lawyers, it is likely that
the child will be expected to be a lawyer, too, even if the
inclination or aptitude is not there. Continuing the family
'legacy' is important for most parents. High achieving parents
fail to see why their children should not have the some
abilities that they do.

Economic stress:: Sometimes kids are forced to be high
achievers by parents of average incomes so they can qualify for
grants and scholarships to reduce the out of pocket expenses of

Children owe it to them:: There are many parents who
think that giving a child everything will translate into that
child succeeding. So, of course, they have no reason not to

If another child can do it, why can't mine?: Self-doubt and envy
are often the result of hearing the boasting of other parents
about the successes of their children. This results in parents
pushing their kids harder.

Effects on Children:: Instilling competitiveness can be
constructive: children will strive harder and find out for
themselves what they are actually capable of. Another advantage
is monetary gain. Scholarship grants and other good offers are
awarded for good performance when high school and college levels
are reached. Of course, a certain amount of popularity and
prestige will be there, too, because of the 'shining ability of
the child'. Though there are benefits in encouraging
competitiveness in our kids, experts are in agreement that the
positives can be outweighed by the possible negatives. Below are
a few of them:

Children are misled:: knowledge and its acquisition are
no longer seen as goals when a child is under too much pressure.
Whether the child learns anything that will have value to him or
her is overshadowed by the grade becoming all important. The
child will also become a disagreeable competitor.

Frustration comes easily to children. Just one or two mistakes
and children who are highly pressured can become immensely
unhappy. A small setback can cause children to begin blaming
themselves. They will not be able to sleep at night. Every
mistake is seen as failure and the end of everything. Children's
self-perception can be damaged by a mindset that makes grades,
awards and other such achievements the measure of the personal

Children become fearful: Children might be afraid of
being punished when they don't quite come up to standard when
expectations are set too high. Support and guidance are
necessary early on when children have problems in some subjects
of areas. But out of fear of being a disappointment to their
parents, they will not say, "I am having trouble getting this".
Because no action is taken, there is no resolution. Because they
fear failure, children become unwilling to take any risks,
explore or try anything new, so their development is stunted.

Children become overly dependent on parents; When parents put
too much pressure on children, they become unable to think for
themselves. Their happiness with their efforts depends on mom
and dad being happy. Every move they make must be approve of by
their parents.

Children become isolated socially: When parents brag all the
time about their children, other often do not receive it well.
As a result, a wall is often created between the children and
others, such as friends, community, school and sometimes even
relatives. This can result in the development of an unhealthy
inferiority or superiority complex in a child. When a child
constantly has it drilled into him or her that he or she is
better than everyone else, other children will ostracize him or
her. By the same token, when a child feels inferior to other
children, he or she will pull back into a shell. Children
measure self-worth with accomplishments: "I am perfect, so mom
and dad love me," or "They don't think I am as good as everyone
else" are the kind of messages children get when parents compare
them to others. So children begin to feel a need to succeed so
they will feel accepted and loved. Self-doubt so develops into
severe anxiety without anyone noticing. This can then lead into
such serious problems as eating disorders, power struggles and
depression, even in young children.

Whether or not they get accolades, children should know they are
loved. Preschool children should have more guidance in mastering
skills that are age appropriate to lay the foundation of later
learning rather than focus on getting awards and medals. The
right to play is as much a universal right to children as having
shelter, food and education. So insuring that children have time
to relax and play is something that is important for parents to
make sure of. Be confident of your children's lead: Be there to
hold your childrens hand as he or she learns at his or her own
pace. Success in adulthood is not guaranteed by the
accomplishments made in infancy, toddler or preschool years, so
that must be kept in mind.

Loving and accepting children for who they are, is what parents
can do best for their children. Let your child be who he or she
is and let them find their own way to achieve their best. Every
child is different. Each child's own way of growing, learning
and thinking deserves respect. When it comes right down to it,
the guidance and values parents give a child will determine the
true measure of the child's greatness.

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