It’s backed up by studies that children are most likely to get the grades their parents expect them to get. A recent research published this month adds to this by cautioning that these expectations shouldn’t be too high or they might backfire.
“Although parental aspiration can help improve children’s academic performance, excessive parental aspiration can be poisonous,” said lead author Kou Murayama, PhD, of the University of Reading in the U.S.
Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study analyzed data from two previous studies. For the first, the researchers analyzed data involving more than 3,000 students and their parents in Germany. The study assessed the students’ math achievements and compared these to each parents’ aspirations (defined by how much they want their child to earn a particular grade) and expectations (defined by how much they believe their child can achieve a certain grade).
They did the same with the second study which involved over 12,000 students and their parents in the U.S. They came to one similar conclusion from the two separate analyzed studies. Parents’ overly high aspirations of their children lead to poor academic performance.
“This study suggests that the focus of such educational programs should not be on blindly increasing parental aspiration but on giving parents the information they need to develop realistic expectations,” says a press release.
There are different reasons as to why parents might have overly high expectations of their children often times causing harmful pressure on the students. Experts told Smart Parenting some of the most common reasons why.
The first being family background. Pediatrician and child psychologist Joseph Regalado explained that when parents are achievers themselves, they don’t see any reason for their talents not to manifest themselves in their children.
The second is economic stress. Guidance counselor at South Crest School in Muntinlupa Marivic Racho acknowledges, “Some average-income earners force kids to excel beyond their abilities so they can avail of scholarship grants and minimize the cost of schooling in their budget.”
Some parents feel that their children owe it to them to succeed and be achievers, says Regalado, this being the third most probable reason. And the last might be due to envy. A parent thinking “If her child can do it, why can’t mine?”
Children need to know that they are loved for who they are and not for their achievements. “It is important that parents find ways for children to also relax and have fun,” says Regalado.
Source: Nov. 17, 2015. "Parents Aiming Too High Can Harm Child's Academic Performance". apa.org