[Opinion] Parents’ expectations are set too high for children


Samantha Goldblum

A to-do-list of the unrealistic expectations students feel pressure to fulfill from their parents. Photo by Samantha Goldblum

Samantha Goldblum

The recent college admission scandal involving Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and other accused parents in March raises questions about parents’ high expectations for their children. Clearly, these accused parents were disappointed with their children’s ability to succeed academically and gain entry into the universities their parents deemed worthy.  

Many parents put unreasonable pressure on their children. Many parents expect their children to take the most rigorous classes offered at school, obtain excellent grades, receive high scores on standardized tests, uphold a job, have leadership positions in clubs and excel at a sport. Obviously, most students cannot execute such an extensive schedule, leading to students feeling overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.  

Sometimes when students cannot live up to their parents’ unreasonable expectations, the parents often take matters into their own hands. Some write papers for their children, others set up and run charitable foundations in their name and many complete their college applications for them. 

According to a national survey by Ask.com of 778 parents with kids younger than age 18 were asked if they do their child’s schoolwork. The survey showed that 43% of parents admitted to doing their child’s homework for them.

However, are these kinds of students really benefiting from their parents deceit? Can those students maintain success in college and beyond when they have not earned what they are facing? 

The parent’s motivations should be examined as well. Are the parents attempting to relive their unfulfilled dreams? Are parents so focused on their children achieving what they deem as success that they are overlooking what their children really want to focus their time and energy towards?

Parents and their children sometimes have different visions of what success looks like to them. There are many parents that might only consider their child a “success” if they graduate at the very top of their class in high school, gain entry into an elite college, and become a leader of an industry. However, these notions of success are not always shared between parent and child. A person who values their creativity more than their grade in pre-calculus will surely see success in an appreciation of their work or involvement in a visual installment, not their latest report card or class ranking.

If parents pushed their children to achieve more realistic goals, students will be less daunted by their expectations and elated when they achieved a certain goal. Perhaps a loosening of expectations will also result in a more harmonious relationship between between family members.