Expectations for students go beyond helpful

High school is the start of a teenager’s life. From searching for colleges, hanging out in classrooms to getting good grades, they have to deal with a certain amount of expectations. Most of these expectations come from parents with some pretty high standards. Parents also try live through their children because of their own shortcomings.

I understand that parents want to see their kids succeed and go to greater places, but sadly this has all gone into students having a 4.0 GPA and getting grounded or have a materialistic item taken away if there’s any less on their report cards. This is really mind blowing to me because there is no such thing as perfection. I see high school more as a fun academic experience with at least a 2.5 GPA and joining one or two extra curricular classes. A student doesn’t have to be in all the AP classes or on every club to gain a great high school experience. Yes, a student has more chances of getting into a certain college, but the college the student picks should be of his/her choice, not because the student was given certain options of where to go, but to fulfill dreams.

Parents even go as far as picking their child’s future car. For instance, a senior graduates from high school and goes to Harvard because the graduate wishes to pursue his/her parents’ dream for the graduate. Students need to think on their own and do what they want. Maybe law at Harvard isn’t for that person. I try to stick to the basics and allow myself to do what I want to do, not what others want to do. Students seem to take their parents advice too far most of the time when it comes to picking majors. The job a teenager wants may seem to pay less than expected, but at least the teen found something he/she loves.

Parents really do seem to take things too far in a teenager’s life. They are there to guide a child through life, not pick and choose things for them. Independence is one important factor that some people are missing, and it all starts in the later years of a child’s existence. Unrealistic and almost impractical expectations can lead to anxiety and discouragement by putting down every aspect of their accomplishments. Saying Mom or Dad would have done better is no way of going after a bright future.

Parents should consider all aspects of their children by knowing their child’s maturity and skill level, not to mention passions and interests. With a healthy environment and constant motivation to try their best, students will go far. I don’t suggest grounding a teenager for having a 2.0 GPA. In reality most students will pressure themselves anyway with clear rules and a small set of boundaries. Hands off parenting is what I’m getting at, because these anxieties can harm college students and their self-esteem by making it hard for them to adjust to school, and it’s all because of the expectations. While most students were meeting or exceeding their parents expectations, many still thought they were falling short, and those students reported lower self-worth in high school and throughout adulthood.  According to sciecencedaily.com students who perceive they have at least one authoritative parent – someone whose style combines warmth, a demanding nature and democracy – adjust better to college than students whose parenting styles are too authoritarian, permissive or neglectful.

I just really can’t imagine the pressure, stress or even the workload that high school students have to endure just to get into a high and mighty college that may not even be right for them. Also, the relationship with the parents can’t even be that great because there may not even be a relationship to begin with. Parents need to understand that it’s the child’s future, not theirs. Struggling for money may make things tough, but if a child has a true passion of writing for the local paper or doing art shows, it’s the child’s choice. Sometimes people need to be happy with what they are doing and not what others say they should be doing.