The key to happiness has been found! Yes, do not despair. All you need to do is make sure that your standards or expectations are low, by doing so you will seldom be disappointed and this will eventually lead to happiness. Imagine…
Today I asked my students, “If your parents had to pick up a magazine and in that magazine there was an article which conveyed a message that you wanted your parents to read, regarding life at school or a topic that is close to your heart, what would it be?”
The answer was almost unanimous, EXPECTATIONS.
“Expectations? Could having expectations really be that awful?” I thought.
There was way more to it though. Some students felt that their parents’ expectations were, at times, unrealistic. Additionally, they felt that no matter what their achievements or accomplishments, it just never seemed to be enough. The world is a competitive place. By creating a certain expectation, it provides a path to work towards. However, at the same time, children do not want to disappoint and they are fearful of this.
What are we doing wrong?
Through this discussion I became aware of so many points and realized where I have faltered as a parent.
- If your own child has improved in a subject, be cognizant of their progress. It is not only important if they have achieved an A grade. If a child received a C grade previously and has improved, praise them. They will be motivated to do more and to further improve.
- Don’t diminish their accomplishments. If they received 75%, don’t say, “Well, you still did not achieve an A or 100%”. If they were happy with their results because they gave it everything they could, then be pleased with them. They need this in order to become secure in themselves. If they do not feel acknowledged they will continue to seek affirmation and this could be negative.
- We must not devalue what they perceive as important. If they really believe that their workload is excessive then we should not compare it to our day. Accept what they say; we don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but rather acknowledge how they feel.
What are we actually doing right?
Having high expectations of our children shows that we believe in them and that they can believe in themselves.
There have been various studies that show that having high expectations usually involves an active parent. Children who have an active parent with high or reasonable expectations feel the pressure to do better in their academics and various other areas. These children eventually become well–rounded adults.
Expectations are fantastic. They are great. Have high expectations, but don’t have expectations that seem impossible to achieve nor should we neglect to praise the process that it takes for them to reach those expectations or goals.
On another note regarding expectations. A happy relationship equals low standards and very low expectations. So there we go, people, couples counseling in a nutshell.