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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


The Question of Expectation from Your Children - How Much is Too Much

By Andrew Loh

The word “expectation” has many definitions all of which are almost similar in tone and tenor. According to, the basic definitions of the term “expectation” are:

  1. The act or the state of expecting: to wait in expectation.

  2. The act or state of looking forward or anticipating.

  3. An expectant mental attitude: a high pitch of expectation.

  4. Something expected; a thing looked forward to.

In the context of parenting, the term “expectation” means looking forward for something from children. This “something” could mean anything - good grades, better behavior, and tight discipline, pleasing mannerism and obeying parents. The term “expectation” may mean different things to different parents.

However, there is a differing sense of perception about expecting something from your children. You may expect anything from your children based on your needs and wants. You may want excellent grades from your children. Alternatively, you may want your children do everything according to your dictates and wishes. Unfortunately, such an approach could be extremely negative and disadvantageous because you can never tell when your expectations are realistic and when they are unrealistic. Sometimes, the expectations that you demand from your children might be not right and unfair.

Good and productive parenting relates to knowing the secrets of setting the right expectations for your children that catalyzes their skills and abilities without scrapping or discouraging their emotions and spirits. To ensure that you ignite your children's innermost desires and ambition to succeed in life, you may need to ask yourself four basic and sensitive questions:

Are the expectations that you demand from your children developmentally feasible?

Are you pushing your children beyond their limits? Are the expectations as desired by you, are stifling their creativity and intelligence? You may want to evaluate the current age of your children before expecting something bug from them. Every child has his or her own developmental calendar and you just cannot overlook this natural phenomenon. Make sure that you expect something from your children as and when they are ready.

Are your expectations realistic in life?

Are you expecting too much from your children? Similarly, are your expectations fair and reasonable? If your expectations are realistic, you can expect your children to achieve something tangible. On the contrary, if they are beyond children's capabilities, you may not see them achieving what you want and desire.

Are the expectations children oriented?

Did you expect something for your own self? Alternatively, do you expect your children to achieve something for their future? Make sure that any expectations that you have should correlate with your children's future alone and nothing else.

Are the expectations success and career oriented?

Are your expectations set a course of steps that eventually lead to children becoming independent, dependable, responsible and self-worthy? When you expect your children to do something or achieve a task, it should lead an accrual of success in career and profession.

Simply speaking, expectations are the behavioral patterns that you want your children display and achieve. It is a one-sided affair when most parents enforce their expectations on their children and demand that they fulfill their aspirations and expectations without fail. Setting some expectations is very easy. However, achieving them is an altogether different matter. However, when you set any expectations from your children, ensure that you are communicating in the following manner:

  • Communicate with your children in a clear and precise manner.

  • Inquire if they understand what you are expecting from them.

  • Ask for any clarification and doubts and let them understand what exactly you want them to do.

There is always a sense of difference in opinions of parents and children. For example, parents may want their children to clean and arrange their study table. However, children may have a different view at the time parents ask them to clean their tables. Children might be watching a game of football when parents asked them to complete the task and they might have a different view of when they want to finish the task. Likewise, many parents want their children score better marks and get superior grades. These are their expectations from children.

However, children may not be ready to achieve these tasks because of many critical reasons. They may not possess the skill or intelligence to score higher grades. They might not be ready to pass that test because they did not study hard enough. Parents' expectations from their children are always very high. However, children may not be mentally ready to satisfy the needs of their parents. It is a sort of mismatch between two sets of perceptions. Parents may want to evaluate their sense and level of perceptions. ‘How much is too much” - that is the most important question! Continue to read The Question of Expectation from Your Children - Simple Tips to Create Easy to Follow Expectations


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