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


The Question of Expectation from Your Children - Simple Tips to Create Easy to Follow Expectations

By Andrew Loh

Parental expectations from their children fall into two different categories - expectations of good and affable behavior and the other are the expectations to demand children succeed in achieving different goals. Both these expectations are good for your children. By expecting good behavior and better achievements from your children, you can ensure the following advantages:

  • Higher confidence levels.

  • Responsible nature.

  • Better self-esteem.

  • Superior self-worth.

  • A rise in inner motivational levels.

Setting a series of expectations for better and positive behaviors needs a careful strategy because good behavior does not come with applying force or demands. However, a well-conceived strategy would help parents to set a package of expectations that do not burden the young mind and tender psyche of children. Before setting any expectation for good behavior, you should consider the following steps that would help you formulate a workable strategy:

  • The type of behavior you are expecting from your children.

  • How far are you willing to discuss these expectations with children?

  • The quantum of time or duration for which you are ready to wait for verifiable results.

For example, if you are expecting your children to stop their defying nature within a week or so, you are probably expecting too much from them. Stopping defying behavior from your children may take a long time, as it is an intrinsic and psychological phenomenon. Do not force too much as it could be counter-productive.

Setting expectations for all future accomplishments are far more serious and critical. Most of the achievements are visible in nature and they relate to your children's career and personal spheres. Every child has his or her own aspirations that he or she want to seek in life. However, children do not possess the ability to express their minds in a clear manner. This might lead to a gap in communication between children and their parents. This will also result in parents misunderstanding their children and drawing wrong inferences about their personal abilities.

What happens when parental expectations reach wrong proportions? The most likely scenario that parents encounter when their expectations go wrong is utter disappointment and frustration about their children's inferior performance. In other words, children may not simply match their parents' expectations and they may end up as failure in front of parents.

What happens when children fail to match their parents' expectations? The result could be extremely negative and at times, disastrous. Here are some of the negative outcomes of excessive expectations from parents:

  • Showing a strong sense of urgency and impulsiveness to work towards a task.

  • No time for relaxing and a sense of working ceaselessly without any reasons.

  • An obsession to win every game even if it means to humiliate the opponent.

  • Trying to interact with children who are younger so that they can win easily and outperform them.

  • Extreme anger and impatient nature.

  • Trying to measure everything with a sense of evaluation might lead to a curt and impolite personality.

All the above-mentioned outcomes should be taken in combination to help children to lower current set of expectations. The best approach is to avoid hurrying and helping children to work on smaller and achievable goals. Excessive expectations may break a child's mind with their intense pressure and strain.

Here are some tips to help children work towards your expectations:

Sit with children and tell them what you want from them: Almost all children simply love their parents sitting by their side and talking to them. First, gain children's confidence and talking about your expectations. They could relate to getting good grades and marks in the class or mending their bad behavior. Tell them about the advantages of getting good grades and behaving politely in public and in front of others.

Set lower expectations and make your children work towards the goal: Make sure that you are setting lower expectations for your children so that they can work slowly towards achieving the goal. Once they reach a goal, they will feel confident about their abilities and develop the much needed urge to work on bigger and more difficult goals.

Adjust the level of your expectations as and when it is necessary: You may need to course correct your approach if you observe that children are feeling tough to work on your expectations. If you observe that there is no improvement, reduce the level of expectations to help children reach smaller goalposts with ease.

Gradually raise the bar of expectations and help children succeed: It is always better to deploy the classical approach of “one-step-at-a-time” to raise the bar an expectation as and when there is a necessity. Always set the bar at a level that is just below the “too much” level.

Parental expectations should never become a burden for children. The negative outcomes of excessive expectations far exceed the number of benefits of carefully calibrated set of expectations set by a parent.

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When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving Them Anyway, and Getting on with Our Lives
By Jane Adams, Ph.D

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In this groundbreaking book, a social psychologist who's been chronicling the lives of American families for over two decades confronts our deepest concerns, including our silence and self-imposed sense of isolation, when our grown kids have failed to thrive.


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