Don’t sweat it, Mom and Dad, once again you are not the only ones out there. You have expectations of your kid and that is okay, but where does it become not okay? When do the expectations become a problem rather than useful direction for a kid to follow? What happens when your kid starts to become angry or withdrawn from your expectations and begins to decide “eh, maybe I’ll shoot for the opposite”.

Every day high-school and college kids are bombarded with not only actual expectations but perceived expectations as well. This is typically a big source of stress for young people and ultimately could turn into more than just feeling stressed out.  

We will keep this one short and sweet, below are six things to think about when discussing, developing, changing, or even simply thinking about expectations and the impact it may have on your kid.

6 Things to Know About Your Expectations and Your Kids

1.THE PAST IS NOT A PROLOGUE FOR YOU OR YOUR KID.

What we mean by this is that just because your parents raised you a certain way doesn’t mean it was right, or that it even works for your own kid. Take a step outside of this storyline and find new ways to develop helpful goals for your child.

2. KIDS SEE EXPECTATIONS AS BINDING WITH LITTLE ROOM FOR MESSING UP.

Try using the word “guidance” instead of “expectations” when developing these principles. If you try running your household like a boot-camp be ready for ample (and creative) push-back down the line. Help guide rather than enforce.

3. YOU SURE AS HELL BETTER BE KEEPING UP YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN.

First try and identify for yourself what kind of expectations you have for your kid. Now, dig a little deeper and see if you actually hold yourself to those standards (obviously replacing topics with those that are relevant to you).

4. ONCE YOUR KID FEELS THEY ARE OUT OF CONTROL, LET THE ANXIETY AND STRESS SET IN.

Parents typically have expectations that are with ability or outcome If your kid has little or virtually no control over the outcome or if the ability has little to do with the actual outcome they will begin to feel their behaviors and efforts have no real impact on the result. Focus on identifying the controllable with them.

5. IF YOU ARE WELL ENOUGH TO SET THE EXPECTATION, YOU ARE WELL ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THEM WITH IT.

Don’t be that parent that simply shouts out expectations and waits for it to magically appear by the grace of your kids singular efforts and abilities. You set the expectation as a parent, you support them as a parent. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living if you expect something from your kid help them by setting smaller milestones in order to achieve it.

6. HOW HIGH IS TOO HIGH?

Studies show high parental expectations are connected to high academic performance. While this may be true, we also know that there are such things as too high of parental expectations and these can cause a lot of unwanted side effects. It will take some time and practice to find the balance. You don’t want your kid flying under the radar while being held to mediocre standards, while at the same time you want to stay away from your kid feeling controlled by these expectations. Adjusting expectations, open communication about them, and consistent follow-up can help.

One major thing to keep in mind moving forward is that good parenting is not simply seen through your child’s behaviors but is also witnessed through the parent’s behaviors as well.

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