Our expectations from our little ones – How much is too much?

Are you too focused on academic performance? What can you do to ensure school success without putting too much pressure on your child? 

Recently, I was with a group of parents who were dissecting the annual results of their kids. Some were swollen with pride since their kids achieved Super-High marks and got awards while some were very upset because their kids couldn’t become the topper due to TWO FULL marks. Tch, tch.

Later, the discussion headed towards the strategies to apply next school year since it will be a crucial milestone for the kids. Which extra classes to go, which group tuition will give them an extra edge and don’t forget the other extra-curricular activities – dancing, swimming, arts and so on. After all, the kid has to become the all-rounder champion and has to be the best among all.

Surprisingly, while the parents were engaged in the hot conversation, kids were playing happily nearby. Carefree and in their own sweet world, oblivious to all the talks of their parents.

Are we as parents emphasizing way too much on academic performance? This point surely needs some pondering. Every parent wants that their offspring should do great in the school and shine among peers. Nothing incorrect in this thought. When parents toil whole day, go through stress of work and life, do their best for the family, it is but natural to expect that kids reward them with the achievements.

The trouble starts when we go overboard with our expectations about our own kids. We expect that the kid should get the highest most grades in all subjects, should know all types of arts and sports and should become what we as a child couldn’t become! Bad, too bad. In this process, we start to put more stress on the kid by comparing them with other kids, by iterating and reiterating what we want them to do. We overload their timetable with infinite classes, activities and so on!

Result: Bored and stressed kid who looks lost, not interested in anything, making frequent mistakes, demotivated and displaying lack of self-esteem who ultimately does not do well – academically or otherwise. Then disappointed parents start more nagging, more classes, and more methods to get success by any means. Really, is it that necessary to do? What would you prefer – a kid who acts like a robot; too perfect to be true OR a kid who is happy, makes mistakes and learns from them and keeps moving forward by small steps?

Ultimately, all parents want their kids to be happy. It is just that we need to realize that academic performance alone does not guarantee happiness and success in the future.

What can we do then?

1. Understand what truly your kid wants – we cannot insist that they should become a lawyer when we clearly see that they have a potential to be a great painter.

2. Make sure not to compare them with other kids and indulge in unhealthy competition. It is good to learn from others and encourage the kid to do that.

3. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Remember that and incorporate playing, enjoying, sheer relaxing in their daily schedule.

4. Get regular updates from their teachers – school and tuition. Check for any bottlenecks that might be causing issues and work with your kids to eliminate the weaknesses.

5. Merely sending them to tuition won’t work. As a parent, you have to work with the kids. Do the study together, help them, even learn from them.

6. Listen to them! Hear out patiently their little complaints, displeasure and clap for their achievements however small they might be.

7. Chill and indulge in some together-stuff with your little ones. Enjoy and don’t get obsessed with kids studies, don’t lose your own sleep over it.



Happy New Academic year to all of us!

PS: I wrote this article first for theAsianparent – leading parenting magazine in Singapore. Here is a link to the original article -http://sg.theasianparent.com/academic-performance-our-expectations-from-our-little-ones/



Sharing is Caring!

51 comments on “Our expectations from our little ones – How much is too much?”

  1. Deb B. Reply

    I absolutely love this post because I am surrounded by families that focus only on academic performance and what’s written on paper. And I can’t disagree more with that way of thinking. It’s true – academic performance doesn’t guarantee a successful life. Your tips for supporting our children are great!

  2. Tiffany Yong Reply

    It’s very easy to fall into the pit hole or cycle of comparing. My parents did that to me and my siblings, and I hope when I become a parent, I can avoid doing that!

  3. nicoleflintkontrol Reply

    Growing up my parents made sure I stayed on top academically. During the week it was strictly business but on weekends is when I was able to be a kid.

  4. chewoutloud Reply

    arggh, #7 is a toughie for me. really, all of them are challenging for me as a mama of 3 rowdy boys, but i’m not great at slowing down and listening like i want to …always busy with too many things and juggling in every direction. it’s a great reminder get down to their level and just chill and listen 🙂

  5. Ana Ojha Reply

    I don’t know why some parents put a lot of pressure on their kids! At the end of the day, they should understand that every child is different.

  6. alainamonster Reply

    I agree with the point that you make about us pushing our kids more and more academically. I think we are setting the bar too high. It’s so important for kids to get outside and be free to play.

  7. Ellie Plummer Reply

    I loved reading this. To this day, I don’t feel like I can live up to my dads expectations and nothing is ever quite good enough. I loved reading that not everyone is like that and you have your own ways of preventing that.

  8. Kristi McAllister Reply

    I think kids aren’t allowed to be kids much anymore. I see so many of my friends pushing pushing pushing them to the point that they hate going to school because they are expected to be the best at everything. So much pressure! Your post makes a lot of valid points. And I especially like how you said it’s tough to make a kid want to go to law school when they’d be a really great painter. Ah, perspective!

  9. Jagriti Roy Reply

    Understanding the child’s capacity and knack is the only thing every parents should do before directing them towards any rat race.. It’s not like that excellent academic performance is the only thing to focus in life..

  10. Flora_the_Sweaterist Reply

    Even as a university student, I can relate to this on so many levels! I feel like part of me acts like an exacting parent while my other half would just like to do what brings me a sense of contentedness. Great post, and certainly most useful for parents.

  11. Pen My Blog Reply

    Somehow I can relate to this post. Most parents are more inclined to have their kids as chart toppers but as long as they do well and have a great childhood, I do agree that is more important. Doing well is great but its best to take it at the child's own pace.

  12. Debs G from Owls Well Reply

    Yup- it's so easy to get caught up in the school stress, especially when you start listening to the kiasu parents talking about all the 100things they are doing to stay ahead of the game!

  13. Danessa Foo Reply

    I do my part to help my 5-year-old daughter with her weekly homework and prepare her for spelling. And most of the time, she initiates the work. So I am proud not because she can complete the work, but because she shows great attitude and responsibility towards her own tasks. The only enrichment class that my girl goes to is Chinese, because none of us speaks the language at home! 😛

  14. Angie. S Reply

    With my child now in P2, the expectation to get full marks for all spelling, tingxies and tests are simply unrealistic. I want her to grow up loving her lessons, not dreading the marks from exams…

  15. --andy-- Reply

    I always remind myself not to impose my "own" expectations on the kids.
    More important for them to enjoy their short childhood.

    cheers, Andy

  16. Phoebe Lau Reply

    I am still trying to balance play and work for my kids. Considering that they only have 1 tuition since Primary school… I guess they did have their fair share of childhood when play and free time is in concern..

  17. mAy Reply

    I don't know how things might be when mine go to primary school. My cousin chided my nephew for missing that mark to 100. I told her she's mad but her rationale? "Trying your best is not making careless mistakes. If his best is 100, then 99 isn't his best. If his best is only 60, then I'll accept 60 since that's his best." So there are different kinds of expectations from different parents and only those parents know best. I just hope I do not push my children blindly when the time comes.

  18. Bumble Bee Mum Reply

    Oops, I am the exact opposite with all play and no work. Though that will probably change when my kids go to Primary school. Oh well.. At least I managed to maintain a zero enrichment record while my kids are in pre-school.. which is pretty rare in Singapore I think?

  19. Ivy Kam Reply

    Often we heard news that kids nowadays very stress in their study and do all the funny funny things, agree with your suggestion, especially the don't compare them with others 🙂

  20. Lori Reply

    I admit that this is a topic I find myself talk a lot about these days, as I am preparing to send my son to kindergarten (in autumn). I see so many people – parents – expecting their children to be perfect, to be aces in everything since they are born – and it is not ok. Life is to be lived and I don't believe in putting too much pressure on them. It seems that, year after year, the requirements and expectation grow…

  21. Missy Missy Reply

    Times have become so competitive and parents are also pushing the pressure to the kids. Lots of difference from my growing up times. Most importantly is the kids have their breaks and all so that they have sufficient rest which is important for both their physical and emotional developments.

  22. Miera Nadhirah Tan Reply

    I absolutely second your thoughts and opinions… we should not take the childhood from the child and let them enjoy their tender years.. education is somewhat important, but so is their well being and their ability to grow and adapt with things around them.. there are many cases of grads or SPM students with straight As who cannot even make a living and those who just go so so grades still exceeding in life… so it is not all about academic performance…

  23. Michael Yip Reply

    I prefer to let my children discover their own potential, I always tell them that they need to know what they want. If there's a particular sports they like, go try it. If they like it, then work hard in getting good in it. Same goes with studies. It's not all about memorizing stuff off the text books in order to score plenty of As.

  24. lee rosales Reply

    I always encourage my kid to do anything with art. I tried enrolling her in balley class. Buy her lota of coloring books and books as well so she will be encourage to learn mor and have reading bonding time with me

  25. 仙妮 Reply

    a nice write up Shub 🙂 proud of you as a good mum to your little ones 🙂 yeah! we need to encourage & motivate, but not pressure the kids. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  26. Tiffany Yong W.T. Reply

    With the society getting more and more competitive, it might be unhealthy but kids should also slowly learn to handle stress, so that they will know how to handle them when they are out in the working society!

  27. Sunshine Kelly Reply

    Sometimes i feel sad for the children when their parents become competitive. Actually each child has their own ability and uniqueness. Some might not be good in school but perfect at outdoor activities or arts.

  28. Sharon Lee Reply

    Kids would love more encouragement and more love from the parents. The most important is what the kids can be truly happy and growing healthy in life. Thanks for the tips too!

  29. Cloud Cws Reply

    Great advice for all the parents out there.
    I believe it's important for kids to have fun once in awhile, too busy with academic performance will make the kids feel stress.

  30. Franc Reply

    I think you need to achieve balance. Teach them to excel but give enough leeway from them to fail at times and learn. Once they value their goals and they start owning up to it, they'll be great. Just be there always for a little comfort when needed.

  31. Emily Reply

    Education is important no doubt, but I believe parents should help to discover or uncover the passion of the child and to help him/her to pursue that. This is better rather than being an all-rounder.

  32. Mums Babies Reply

    Totally agree and specially here in Sg i find it too stressful and kids sometime don't get any opportunity to express and follow their interest.

  33. Joanne Wee Reply

    "It is a harsh reality but grades are still the gauge whether a student gets promoted to the next grade or not. Grades are still important to be able to get into the best colleges. Grades are still important to get the best jobs after graduation. Yet we all know that schooling should NOT be all about grades." – I agree with this

    Too pressure can make a kid situation go worst than unhappy, such as mentally ill. Better to understand what they needs, and support them, not compare them.

  34. George Felix Reply

    I can talk about India. All the points you brought to light are so relatable to my surrounding. Parents shun their kids when they want to go for a movie or even to play. The "tuition" culture is seen in almost every family.
    I'm lucky to have been studying independently for over 10 years. And my parents always ask me what I want academically instead of deciding it themselves.

  35. PJ Zafra Reply

    Great post. There's a lot of pressure these days especially for the young ones. When I was still in high school, I definitely felt it. I had to make life decisions at age 17. Support and balance in life always pays off. I would always encourage children and teenagers to always make time for their passions because that's important too. Thank you for sharing this. Keep it up!

  36. Elizabeth O. Reply

    Putting too much pressure only leads to a series of disappointments and it's not even your child's fault but yours. It's really important to show support and understanding rather than setting the bar too high.

  37. Arisa Chow Reply

    Seriously, growing up in a traditional chinese household where academics is put first (for boasting purposes) instead of a child's well being, produces not only an unhappy child but a demotivated one.
    so always encourage them to do better, not compare.

  38. Fred Hawson Reply

    It is a harsh reality but grades are still the gauge whether a student gets promoted to the next grade or not. Grades are still important to be able to get into the best colleges. Grades are still important to get the best jobs after graduation. Yet we all know that schooling should NOT be all about grades.

  39. Jerwel De Perio Reply

    It sometimes can be hard to keep up with the ever stricter rules that most school are implementing. One of the things that we could do to help learners are to make sure to stay with them all the time. And make sure that they are well praised for the achievements they make.

  40. Anonymous Reply

    Most importantly, we need to make sure their weekend is full of fun, if not weekdays.

  41. Bhushavali N Reply

    This is a crazy world where schooling has become more and more jail like and extra curricular also have got so much high expectations!!! Sad….

Your comments are always valuable. Please do comment.

Switch to mobile version