PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS—Are we overdoing them?
Created by Krishnakali Basu Updated on Sep 17, 2015
With the birth of every child, a parent is born. It’s a metamorphosis that a parent goes through. It is a stepping stone to the world of growing up, where not only the child evolves but we as parents grow too. It’s a journey of joy, a journey of mixed emotions, a journey of expectations. Now, when I speak of this word, I am actually scared of this term. A very dicey word indeed, one you can’t do without but if you use it, it has its cons--so how does one balance the term?
Have we fallen in the trap?
The moment a child enters the mother’s womb, the child becomes the priority of the parents. The world becomes child centric and we as urban parents want to aim for that pinnacle--the best. We, today, spend much more than our parents did on us, we research, compare, think and of course give a lot of importance to our child’s likes and dislikes, talents, their well being, and development. Embedded deep down within the quest of doing the best for the child, do we land ourselves in a conundrum which we don’t realise ourselves? Or do we not unconsciously start calculating that, since we are doing so much for the child, the child should be able to give results of all the effort. And when I talk of this conundrum, I include not only aspirations for academic excellence, but also holistic growth. In the midst of this, aren’t we pressing the child a bit too much?
Have we made academics boring?
The system of education is such that the things tend to become very compulsive in nature, and we parents fall into such pattern. The child’s doing well in school is not only child centric but society and ego satisfaction too. We get hyper, comparative and paranoid. Will this actually help us? Are we making the child love her work or have a hatred and withdrawal towards it? By fretting, worrying, we are the ones creating a distance and pushing the child towards treating everything as compulsion and distasteful rather than curiosity- invoking.
Are our children always trying to please us?
The bonding and attachment between a child and parent continues throughout a child’s life, but it changes through times in behaviour and intensity. Because of the child-parent relationship, a child is extremely sensitive to what pleases his parents. This relationship is a key to a child’s positive behaviour. A parent communicates desires or reinforcements verbally and non-verbally, until a child knows what exactly his or her parent wants. Is this fair on the child where to please the parental expectations, he does or does not do something, rather than for his own interest?
Manage your expectations
Expectations should be reasonable and not generate anxiety and a very little satisfaction.
1) Where we go wrong is the fact that our expectations are mainly based upon achievements rather than effort. Ensure your child enjoys what he does rather than just focus on getting on top of the crowd.
2) Unrealistic expectations can be harmful. There should be a maintained balance between desired results and achievable results so that the self esteem of the child does not take a hit.
3) Parental goal is not to have a control or dictate a child’s goal, but to guide the child in setting goals. Parental expectations are a cornerstone of discipline in children. When paired with loving supportive attitude, setting clear behavioural and academic expectations for children, they can help them learn social skills and learn manners.
4) However for expectations to lead to positive behaviour, parental rules shouldn’t gag the child-it should always be developmentally appropriate. Thus parents need to be mature themselves to understand the intangible needs of the children.
5) Do not push the child to a level where it cannot be taken in any more
6) Love your child, praise him or her amply.
7) Lets imbibe in them that they must do things with love and interest, then only will it help in a better future, including academics.
Let us as parents free our minds of societal pressures, our egos and create a humane human being.