Helping our children succeed in life is likely one aspiration most parents share. Did you know that your mindset and the way you view your child impacts how he or she views themselves and ultimately how they grow and develop? As a parent, one of our goals is to help our children realize and fulfill their potential. A parent’s mindset impacts the way they encourage, discipline, challenge, and engage their children.
The Pygmalion Effect
In the 1960s and 70s, researchers did a social experiment with children in school. They told the teacher that one group of students was gifted and talented when in fact, they were no different than any other group of students. This impacted how the teachers treated the kids and ultimately how the kids performed. It was a pretty cool experiment and the results were profound. If you’re into science/theories and want some nitty-gritty details, check out this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect
The Parenting Connection
So, what does this have to do with parenting? Well, if we see the positive in our children, we encourage them and intentionally cultivate that potential with our words and actions. The result is that more than likely, we will see them excel. The expectations of parents greatly impact our children. The beliefs we hold about our children help form their self-image. Essentially, we get what we expect and our actions significantly impact whether our children succeed in life!
How do we communicate our expectations?
- The words we use
- The way we say them
- Our facial expressions and gestures
- When we choose to pay attention and when we don’t
What expectations do I hold for my children?
- Take time to reflect on your attitudes and beliefs about your child / children.
- What positive thoughts do you hold about him/her?
- What negative thoughts do you hold?
- Have you labeled them or do you continue to reinforce a negative (undesirable trait)?
- What are your dreams for them or the things they excel at…how can you begin to reinforce those things?
How am I wired?
- Am I a glass half full or a half empty type of person?
- Do I naturally encourage others or do I have to work at it?
- Am I on top of my parenting game (e.g. practicing positive parenting skills) or am I stuck in a rut (e.g. getting easily frustrated with my kids.).
- Be a role model by establishing high standards for yourself
- Celebrate small wins
- Don’t view setbacks as failures, but talk about them, identify what was learned, and what can be done differently next time
- Avoid talking about your child’s struggles with other family members, friends or neighbors
- Don’t participate in gripe sessions about the challenges you face with your child
- Establish high expectations for your kids by providing opportunities for them to be challenged, grow in independence, succeed as well as fail
- Find one thing to celebrate today and tell your child how proud you are of him or her
Parenting constructively is hard work! It’s not realistic that any of us will be perfect all of the time! Consider the expectatons you hold for your children, how you communicate those expectations, and how your own preferences influences the way you parent. It’s helpful to pause, reflect, and create a game plan for moving forward. I’d love to hear what tips you have used to create and communicate positive expectations with your kids. The practical steps above will help you work towards your goal of helping your children succeed!
For more ideas about how to intentionally cultivate your vision and values in your family sign up for the FREE 5 day intentional family challenge. Click here to learn more!