Last week I listened to two parents from separate families talk about their expectations for their children. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in expectations. In fact, as a classroom teacher I was always sure to set the bar high in terms of behaviour, work ethic and respect. What I encountered with these parents however, were unrealistic expectations for their children: in one word, pressure.
The line between reasonable expectations and unreasonable expectations may be somewhat fine. I get that. Yet when the expectations become unreasonable, we begin to see anxiety and feelings of defeat develop in our children. Even worse, they may begin to dislike school or the process of learning. Consciously or not, some kids begin to resent those adults holding that bar far out of their reach.
As important as it is for expectations to be in place, we can only expect our children to work to their potential: as we tell them in school, to do their best. For some (for most actually), that best work might not be top of the class. And that’s okay. When they are encouraged to do their best they will challenge themselves, take pride in their work, be more engaged in the learning process and ultimately, they will be happy. What more can we ask?