Parent Support: 3 tips for setting realistic expectations
As a parent, you always want your child to succeed. However, "success" is different for everyone. It is your job to set realistic and attainable expectations for your kid to ensure they reach their potential AND maintain good mental and physical health.
Here’s 3 tips on how to set realistic expectations for your child.
1. Talk to your child’s teachers
Talk to your kid’s school teachers and their tutors here at Pinnacle to gauge what your child is capable of.
Ask questions like:
- “At what level should my child be performing in his or her studies?”
- “What do you think is realistic to expect from my child?”
- “Can you see some improvement?”
- "What do they struggle with?”
- “What are their strengths?”
If you hear good feedback from their teacher, it’s likely that your child is trying their best and their current marks are a good indication of what they’re capable of. In this case, you can suggest small improvements, like aiming for a 95% instead of 90% or a 70% instead of 65%. Asking for massive improvements is likely unattainable and will show your child that you do not appreciate their hard work and effort.
On the other hand, if the teacher reports that your child is not achieving their full potential, communicate to your child WHY you expect much more. But remember, large improvements do not happen overnight. Identify milestone goals (eg. a low band 6 on this test and a high band 6 on the next) that build towards a final achievement.
2. Remember that your child is an individual
Look at your kid’s individual strengths, weaknesses, interests and talents. Set your expectations based on YOUR child – NOT their siblings, their peers, your friend’s kids or even yourself. For example, just because one of your children achieved a State Ranking in Physics doesn’t mean your other children should as well. Setting expectations for your child based off your expectations for another person is counter-productive. Not only are you setting your child up to fail, causing them undue stress for disappointing you, but many children become unmotivated and simply give up as they feel like there’s “no point”.
3. Expect great things but praise effort
While it is important to set high expectations for your child, the last thing you want is for you kid to feel so disappointed that they didn’t meet your expectations that they give up. When you work hard to meet high standards, you make great process, even if you don’t exactly hit the mark. That’s why it’s important to praise your child’s EFFORT, not just their achievements. Tell your child when you notice that they’ve met a goal or exceeded your expectations – a simple “I’m proud of you”, or “You did a fantastic job” can go a long way in encouraging your child to keep trying their best and striving to achieve great results.