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 #4: Encourage Commitment
Kids often claim they want to try a new activity that requires a significant expenditure on the part of their parents. Mighty Mommy knows—I’ve dished out hundreds of dollars on musical instruments and sports equipment only to have my children decide they are no longer interested only weeks into their new hobby. I finally learned that commitment on my child’s part was the key ingredient before I invested too much time, money, or effort into their activities.
Last year one of my teenage sons decided he wanted to take up golf. He immediately asked for a new set of clubs. We told him that we would help him get a used set of clubs and if he stuck with it for the entire spring and summer, we would help him purchase his own clubs, but wouldn’t buy them for him. After a month, he fell in love with the game and found some odd jobs to earn some money towards his own clubs. A year later, he’s still playing and he bought the new clubs with his own money.
If your children want to do an activity that requires significant resources, have them sign a contract first. For sports, this might mean agreeing to complete at least one season. For musical instruments, it might mean agreeing to take a specific number of lessons. You can also have them agree in advance to be willing to listen to their teachers/coaches and to be committed to learning and following through, even when they are frustrated and it becomes difficult (which it will).
Tool #5: Don’t Accept Excuses
Help children recognize excuses for what they are. When they have made a commitment and then say they don’t feel like practicing or going to class, or that it’s too hard or not fun anymore, remind them that this it is just another challenge for them to overcome. Helping kids push through obstacles is a great way to teach them an important life lesson. Quitting is sometimes more painful than pushing through, making mistakes, and continuing to work towards our goals.
Tool #6: Encourage Children to Ask for Feedback
A great way for anyone to improve their talent is to not be afraid to ask for feedback or constructive criticism from others. If your daughter is passionate about painting, surround her with opportunities to learn from other artists. A trained eye can offer a fresh perspective that can help her improve her craft. If children can be comfortable asking for feedback at a young age, they will learn that criticism can be helpful, not just hurtful, and it will be a skill that can help them all throughout life.
How do you help set higher standards for your child? Share your thoughts in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or e-mail me at email@example.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
Have fun and get excited when you explore your children’s passions—you might learn something extraordinary about them in the process! Until next time---happy parenting!