Parenting Connection: Achievement Pressure

Parenting Connection


It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Achievement Pressure.

School is back — but for many kids, that means pressure to perform. Child experts say, when kids are held to strict, and sometimes, unrealistic standards — it can lead to unhealthy levels of perfectionism that include them being constantly afraid of making mistakes, a fear of criticism, and high anxiety.

When we measure our children by external attributes, we are then teaching them that these are the only things that matter. Child experts say, we shouldn’t shy away from placing achievement goals on our kids, even challenging ones, just don’t go overboard.

“We want kids to experience stress and pressure, but in healthy ways,” says MSU Child Development Expert Kendra Moyses. “When that becomes unhealthy is when expectations are tied to a child for performing well. What we really want to try and focus on as parents and caregivers is not so much the outcome, but how a child does during that experience.”

Here are some suggestions from the Michigan State University Extension:

*Check your expectations. Experts say, they should be fair, flexible, and developmentally appropriate for your kids.

*Let them set their own goals and decide what their measure of success includes.

*Support failure and help your child frame these failures as opportunities to learn.

*Offer praise for their effort. Your kids need to know you appreciate their hard work and support them unconditionally.

*Implement healthy habits.

Child experts tell me, your goal is to build self-efficacy. That means helping your child learn a belief they have the power to control their own world, and even when they fail, they’re capable of dealing with it.

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