Home > School and Learning > Your Child's Performance in School > Academic Achievements > Parents Have Unrealistic Academic Expectations
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Parents Have Unrealistic Academic Expectations

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: How do you handle a situation when a parent expects too much from a child academically? The child is a first grader and is a very bright child but at home he gets very emotional when he doesn't perform at the 100% level in schoolwork. It appears he is afraid he won't do well. What affect will this have on the child?

A: Parents who make unrealistic demands and/or have unrealistic expectations of their kids academically, or in any other sphere of their lives, risk seeing their kids' mental, emotional and physical well being severely compromised. Children under this kind of pressure often begin to refuse to attempt anything unless they are convinced that they will be the best at it. They fear being perceived by their parents as imperfect. I have counseled many academically bright kids whose parents' unrealistically high academic expectations have caused them to stop trying in school -- to the point of academic failure. They reason, "It's better to be known as a smart kid who isn't living up to his potential rather than a kid who can't achieve the high academic standards his parents insist upon regardless of how hard he tries." It's a life of fear, sadness and low self-worth to know that your best efforts might never be good enough for your parents -- that you, in fact, are not good enough for your parents.

Parents who put this kind of unhealthy pressure on their kids need to have discussions with teachers and counselors about the negative consequences of their unrealistic expectations. Their child might be doing well academically, but this does not mean their parenting approach is correct.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Fun Driveway and Sidewalk Games for Kids
Looking for classic outdoor games kids can play in the driveway or on the sidewalk, just like the good ol' days? From hopscotch to bubble-blowing contests, there's something for all ages!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Best Sun Safety Practices for Babies
Follow these sun safety practices for babies to ensure your little one stays safe on the beach and on sunny days all year long.