That Thin Line: High Expectations -VS- Pushing Your Kids Too Far

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Of course you want your kids to succeed in life and to meet the goals you feel them capable of achieving. You have full confidence in your children’s abilities and growth. Your wanting them to succeed comes from a deep sense of concern and pride. You set goals and expectations for your children that you not only feel confident can be reached but also will be good for them in the long run. You want for them to get into good schools and go on to successful careers and amazing lives. As a parent, this is only natural.
The first thing to realize is that you are coming from a good place. You are not being a tyrant just by placing tough expectations on your children. The urge to challenge and push them to the top of their performance abilities is as natural as parenting itself. But when do you cross the line from setting up those needed high expectations into pressuring your kids in a way that may be harmful to their development?
Watch Your Child’s Demeanor
It is important to keep an eye on your children to see how they are coping with the expectations you have set for them. For example, if you have given your expectations for their grades this year, watch for signs that your goals may have been set a little too high or beyond their basic abilities. Do they appear fatigued or worn out? Do they appear sloppy in presentation or withdrawn from their friends or activities they had previously enjoyed? If this is the case, then you may be pushing them a little too hard. It is fine to set expectations, but if this comes at the expense of your children’s happiness then you will want to set the bar a little lower.

The last thing you want is to have your child become frustrated and depressed by struggling to meet expectations you have placed that go beyond their realm of capability; this can lead to self-esteem issues and can also cause them to resent you as a parent.
Work As a Team
One thing you never want to do is to set high expectations without offering the support your children need. The rehab specialists at say that setting high goals and then fading into the background is not the proper way to drive your children to succeed. This will make them feel as if they have been left alone to cope with a set of high expectations and lead to the type of withdrawal and resentment that causes parental relationships to break down in the long run.
The key is to back up the goals you have set with the support and assistance your children need in order to meet them. Offer to personally help if they have any questions or issues with any particular subject. Get them tutoring for any weak spots. Overall, just make sure that they feel supported in reaching their goals. Knowing this, the goals that you set will feel less like pressure to them and more like achievable mile markers in their development.
Make Sure They Know the Reasons
Another key to setting goals for your children is to make sure they fully understand why these goals are in place. If you simply set the expectations without letting them know why you are doing so and why it is important that they achieve them, then this may work to have the opposite effect that you had hoped for. If you are pushing for high grades from your child this year, make sure to let them know why this is an important goal. Let them know that it will help them get into a good school and that it will make them eligible for scholarships. Make your children feel as if you are working together as a team to achieve these goals. Once they truly understand what is at stake and realize that you are setting these expectations for a specific reason, they will be much more understanding and feel less pressured.

When it comes to setting goals for your children, everybody needs to be on the same page. Your children need to know why these goals have been set and feel that they are fully supported in achieving them. Once you have established this, your children will feel less pressured and be more likely to achieve the expectations you have set for them.

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