Parental Expectations Are Absurd!

As a child, you would have had an idea of what career you wanted to pursue. When I was younger, I had to think, “Would this make my parents happy?” Parental expectations can make a severely negative impact on children. They strive to perform at their full potential and reach their parent’s expectations. Unfortunately, many children are incapable of fulfilling their parent’s expectations. Stress from schoolwork is common for adolescents, it is essential that parents are supportive so do the best they can; according to the Child Trends Institute, there are many factors which could affect parents’ academic expectations for their children. Households that have an income of >$30,000 will have higher expectations towards their children; wanting them to at least obtain a bachelor’s degree.

72% of parents born and raised in Australia expect their child to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher whilst 73% of immigrants expect their child to attain a high degree. As a child of immigrant parents, I feel that their expectations tend to be higher than my Australian born peers. My parents moved to Australia from Vietnam to help us achieve an ideal future and tend to compare its education system with Australia’s. My father assumes that the education Australia provides for us is ‘luxurious and effortless’. I appreciate what my parents have sacrificed to move to Australia (leaving their homeland and family having to adapt in a country where they knew no one and didn’t understand the culture and language) but their expectations for me can get a bit overwhelming. I spend my weekdays at school and make sure I spend a sufficient amount of time studying.

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On the weekends I have tuition, swimming and more homework I need to complete. I only get about 3-4 hours of sleep daily, and that is making an impact on my performance at school. I’m afraid to tell them when I don’t get a good mark. Many times I have come home from school and hide my grades somewhere in my bedroom to avoid being scolded. My parents consider their expectations as ‘tough love’ and that I should be grateful for my privileges.

I believe that overly-high expectations can be counterproductive and absurd. Their behaviour could potentially backfire and lead to unwanted results. A lack of support can escalate psychological disorders. To reduce stress, parents should acknowledge their children’s capabilities and be realistic with their expectations. If your child isn’t necessarily performing well during class, focus on their effort as opposed to their outcomes.

Though it is good to set expectations, make sure they can fulfil their ambitions; if you give them a sense of freedom, your child can build confidence. If you’re talking to your child often, they can trust, share, and discuss their concerns with you. This will help to develop a stronger relationship. This was something my parents and I lack, which damages our bond. I want parents to understand that their behaviour can make a significant impact on how a student performs during school.

If you expect your child to have a bright and successful future and career, you need to be weary of your own behaviour. “Instead of parents pointing their fingers at their children, maybe we all need to turn them around and point them out ourselves and figure out what it is that we’re doing (and not doing) that’s contributing to our children’s failures, and better, what we can do to make a change.” – Kristen Chase.