Encouraging “Just Right” Standards for Your Kids
When parents' expectations for their kids are set at the right level - not too high and not too low - kids do very well in life. Mighty Mommy has 6 tools for setting reasonable expectations that all parents can follow to move their children forward at their own pace.
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Tool #2: Adjust to Changing Circumstances
Sometimes, what starts out as a realistic expectation becomes unreasonable. Circumstances change along the way. Perhaps an expectation to win a gymnastics title becomes impossible due to a leg injury. Maybe failing one test early in a semester makes a final A all but impossible. When these setbacks occur, be willing to adjust the expectation to one that is achievable. Don’t set your child up for failure or disappointment when the unexpected gets in the way. Help your child set a new goal that is within reach, therefore validating their setback but encouraging some other type of win.
For example, my daughter is a junior in high school. She has always had to work twice as hard as her friends and some of my other kids to get good grades. She easily spends over 3 hours per night on homework to maintain a solid B average. She desperately wanted to take an accelerated Chemistry class this year, even though she knew it might be too difficult. Although I was afraid she was setting herself up for disappointment, I admired her “can do” attitude. Two months into the course she realized she was in way over her head and had to drop the class. We discussed why it just didn’t work for her and she decided a regular Chemistry class was still important, so she switched into a less-pressured class. She earned a 93 in the new chemistry class and although it wasn’t the accelerated class on her transcript, she was pleased because she knew enough to change course and stick with a class she could handle.
Try to be supportive of the activities your child loves most
Tool #3: Encourage Your Child’s Passion
Some children are very clear about the things they love: art, music, sports, dance, computers, drama etc., while others may need some direction. When trying to teach your child to have higher expectations of himself, try to be supportive of the activities he loves most. Forcing a child who loves to play the saxophone to become a star baseball player like his father can backfire.
Sometimes it’s possible to do more than one thing well, but children can also get distracted if they are pulled in too many directions at one time. Perhaps you can get your son enrolled in some extra music classes, but still carve out time for him to play on a recreational baseball team just for fun. This encourages his passion for the saxophone but still gives him the chance to participate in a physical sport without the pressure.