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Are Your Expectations Too High For Your Kids? There Is A Difference Between Pressure And Motivation

Ken Mathie
 


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It does 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 Children?

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 college.

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 excel.

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 worth.

Children become fearful: Children might be afraid of being punished when they do not 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 do not 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 childrens 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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