Set High Expectations
Welcome back! In the previous lesson, you read about how to teach your children basic study skills in order to help them become better students. Today, you will read about how setting high expectations for your children will help them become more successful students.
During the nine years that I have taught in the elementary classroom, I have learned many things, but one thing always resonates that I have applied to my own parenting style: Children will always perform to the level you expect of them. This is unless, of course, the child has some type of learning challenge, but they can be challenged as well. This being said, if you expect a great deal from your children, they will rise to the occasion; if you don’t, they won’t. The question becomes: How do you set high expectations for your children without putting undue stress upon them? Most of this will be alleviated if you follow the steps outlined in the previous eight lessons; however, there are extra measures you can take to avoid making your child feel overwhelmed.
Let them know you’re human. If your children know that you were not the perfect specimen of a student, then not only does it connect you to them on a deeper level, but it also makes them more secure with their own weaknesses. Let them in on anecdotes about your childhood and life as a student. However, do this in a way that doesn’t seal their fate—for instance, refer back to Lesson 4 and do not impart your own weaknesses on your children. Nevertheless, telling them things about in your past where you may have made the wrong decision and suffered the consequences may serve as a cautionary tale.
Celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Setting high expectations for your child doesn’t necessarily mean that the expectation has to be for someone exactly like you, the valedictorian, or your next-door neighbor. Hold your child to a high standard that is set for specifically for them. Setting realistic, achievable goals is a necessary component to keeping a child motivated. If you’re constantly holding them to a standard that is unattainable for them, then they will constantly feel that they are disappointing you and themselves. Set the bar high, but set it to where your child can reach it with confidence.
Create a safe space. You do not want to hold your children to such high standards that they are afraid to disappoint you. Then, they will begin withholding information from you, not opening up, and becoming resentful of the fact that they are not allowed to be less than perfect. Therefore, the environment you create for your child after Lesson 6 (Letting them Fail) is extremely important. Your child failed at something—they fell from grace, so to speak. Learn from it and move on.
Tomorrow’s culminating lesson will address the “troubleshooting” topics that may arise during this process. Let’s face it, our children are creatures of free will, and circumstances may pop up that do not go along with this neatly packaged nine-step plan. I hope you have put some of these methods into practice. I’d love to hear your feedback and questions.
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