In last week’s post we looked at the some of the reasons parents may unintentionally put too much pressure on their kids and discussed some of the harmful effects this pressure may have. Remember that your children are unlikely to tell you that they are feeling pressured for fear of disappointing you and you may have to ask a close friend or loved one to be excruciatingly honest in evaluating the amount of pressure you put on your kids. Many parents mistake high-pressure parenting for “involved” parenting, but it actually may have the opposite effect – because as long as you are pushing your children to achieve, you are not truly connecting with them as unique individuals. Okay – so now that we understand the problem, how do we go about finding a solution? Here are some of the things high-pressure parents can do to salvage their relationship with their children:
- Parenting can be really tough at times, so firstly try not to be too hard on yourself. Remind yourself that your role as a parent is to “support and nurture” rather than to “push & expect”. You have to be able to help your children understand that it is okay to fail, as long as they have learnt something from the experience.
- Listen to them and show a keen interest in their academic pursuits rather than attempting to direct their learning.
- Take up a hobby of your own. Pouring all your time and energy into getting your children to perform can be absolutely exhausting and you’ll most likely find yourself feeling rather burnt-out by the effort. From watching you enjoy your hobby your children are likely to learn the pride that one can feel in doing good work.
- Setting goals for your children should require teamwork – resist the urge to make all the decisions regarding your children’s activities or future by yourself. Rather discuss it with your self (and older kids if they are old enough to help in the decision making process) exactly what goals your children want to achieve and how to go about it reaching these goals without everyone feeling stressed.
- Focus on praising your children for their efforts rather than for their achievements.
- Allow your children to make some small decisions on their own and learn to compromise with them on some of the bigger issues.
Anel Annandale is a prominent Educational Psychologist with a passion for early childhood development and a special interest in neuropsychology.
She is experienced in the field and has established herself as an expert, often appearing on television shows such as Exspresso. She is also available as a guest speaker at relevant events and functions.