Expectations: How High Should They Be?

How hard should you push young kids when it comes to sports? It’s a dilemma for many parents.

On one hand, you want children to learn about hard work, and what it means to feel the rewards from that. On the other hand, you may revert to over-pushing because you know your child can do better.

So where’s the balance? And how high should your expectations be in order to encourage children to perform to their potential? A study out of the University of Reading showed that too-high expectations can be detrimental to academic performance, and expectations of any kind can only help if they’re realistic.

When it comes to youth sports, the question becomes: What types of expectations are realistic? I like to encourage parents to give up THEIR expectations, and find out what their child wants and needs — and to focus on that.

Here are four more tips on keeping expectations viable. Some may seem obvious, but yet it’s easy to forget.

Be age appropriate: What you expect out of your 8-year-old playing should be vastly different from what you expect of your 18-year-old.

Stay realistic: To help, bring your child into the conversation. Ask them what their goals are. If you think the goal is not challenging enough, ask them this: “If you had to take that goal one step further, what would it be?” Then challenge them to take that step. Let them know that you believe in them and want to see them reach their goal.

Keep things challenging: In an effort to “be realistic,” many parents lower their expectations too much. Sometimes parents do this because they don’t want to be disappointed themselves.

Instead, let your child know it’s okay to be challenged, and to be stretched. Then, when they reach the goal, celebrate with them; when they don’t, let them know you are proud of their efforts and encourage them to try again.

Be forgiving: Your child needs to know that you love them and still believe in them even when they blow it. Remember they may also be disappointed in themselves because they did not meet their goal or your expectations.

Ultimately, remember that your expectations are there to help your children reach their potential.



Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. Learn more about how she helps parents: https://jbmcoaching.lpages.co/invitation-for-free-coaching-call/

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