Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Children?
Parents differ in their opinions about how much pressure kids need. In fact, a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Centre found that 64% of Americans say parents aren’t putting enough pressure on children to do well in school. When kids don't get enough pressure from parents, they may be less likely to perform at their best.
Other adults insist kids are under way too much pressure. They express concerns that kids can't be kids anymore because they're constantly pressured to perform well so they get into the most prestigious schools or get the best scholarships.
Of course, school isn’t the only place where parents put pressure on kids. Some parents put pressure on kids to perform well in sports, music, theatre or a vast number of other activities. High-pressure parents may insist kids practice constantly and perform well in competitions.
While having high expectations of your child can be helpful, placing your child under too much pressure could backfire. Kids will likely meet your expectations when those expectations are reasonable. But expecting your child to do more than she can handle, will cause her to give up early. She may begin to show signs of stress, which can include physical symptoms as well as psychological symptoms. Here are three telltale signs you’re putting too much pressure on your child:
1. You Micromanage Your Children Activities
High-pressure parents are at risk of becoming control freaks. If you hover over your children’s daily activities like homework, chores, and play to make sure that he’s doing everything right, you are likely putting too much pressure on him. While it’s important to be involved in your children life, micromanaging his activities could stunt his development.
If you want your child to perform well, allow him to make mistakes and face natural consequences when appropriate. Although it can be hard to watch your child do poorly on a test he didn’t study for or lose out on an opportunity because he didn’t put in the effort, those consequences can be some of life's greatest teachers.
2. You Draw Comparisons to Other Children
Constantly reminding your child of things like, “Your sister made it to the top round in the spelling bee because she practiced all the time,” or “Did you notice how many points Johnny got today? I think you could probably score more points than he did if you practiced more.” Comparing your child to other kids all the time puts him in constant competition with those around him and doesn’t take into account his individuality.
When kids are put under pressure by being compared to others, it can reduce their willingness to do things where they won’t excel. They may give up playing soccer if they’re not the fastest runner or they may decline to be on the math team if they’re not the smartest person on the team.
Encourage your child to become better by competing with himself. Talk about the importance of learning and practicing so he can become better today than he was yesterday regardless of how others around him are performing.
3. You’re Losing Your Cool Often
Putting kids under a lot of pressure means parents often feel the squeeze as well. When kids aren’t meeting parental expectations, it causes parents to grow frustrated fast. If you lose your temper because your child isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you may be putting too much pressure on your child.
Your child might never be a track star and may never be the valedictorian of his class. Putting pressure on him to become things he’s not interested in will only cause more stress for everyone. Find a healthy balance that encourages your child to be his best, without trying to force him to meet unrealistic expectations.