The Biggest Parenting Mistakes: #3

Every day this week, I’ll be posting a different big "parenting mistake", so make sure to check back tomorrow!

MISTAKE #3: Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Correct: Use developmentally appropriate, realistic, child and success-oriented expectations.

Research proves a powerful determiner of kids' success is the kind of expectations their parents set. Expecting too little limits kids' success because they're robbed from trying new possibilities. Unrealistic expectations are also damaging: “Why didn't you get all A's?” “How did you not make the team?” “You got a 98%- which two did you miss?” and may be misinterpreted as, “You're not good enough.” These four questions help ensure expectations gently stretch kids' potential to become their best without pushing them to be more than they can be:

  • Developmentally appropriate.  Is your child developmentally ready for the tasks you're requiring or are you pushing him beyond his internal timetable? Learn what's appropriate for your child's age, but still keep in mind that developmental guidelines are not etched in stone. It's always best to start from where your child is.
  • Realistic. Is my expectation fair and reasonable, or am I expecting too much? Realistic expectations stretch kids to aim higher, without pushing them beyond their capabilities. Be careful of setting too high of standards. Putting your kid in too difficult of situations, puts him at the risk of failing and lowering his feelings of competence. Aim for “one step more.”
  • Child's goal, not yours.  Is what you're expecting something your child wants, or is it something you want for yourself? We all want our kids to be successful, but we have to constantly be wary of setting goals for our kids that are our dreams, and not those of our kids.
  • Success oriented. Are you sending the kind of expectations that tell your child you believe he's responsible, reliable, and worthy? Effective expectations encourage kids to be their best, so that they can develop a solid belief in themselves.

Michele Borba's 5 Biggest Parenting Mistakes:

  1. Failing to Teach “Replacer” Behaviors
  2. Not Using the Right Words the Right Way
  3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
  4. Not Using the Rule of 21
  5. Not Letting Kids Experience Failure


Come back tomorrow for the next "biggest parenting mistake"!

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