Demanding Parents: 7 Ways They Are Wrong

Ideas to prevent problems in education by parents with high expectations.

Raising and educating a child well is not easy. Although most parents want the best for their children, not all subjects work in the same way the different ways of educating. Thus, the educational strategies used are not always the most appropriate to achieve the autonomy and correct development of a child. 

Overprotection, authoritarianism, ambiguity … all this can lead to children forming an idea of ​​reality that may or may not serve for their correct adaptation to the vital circumstances in which they live. Among all these characteristics of different types of education we can find the exaggerated demand, which can cause various problems in children. For this reason, this article is going to focus on demanding parents and the seven things they are wrong about.

Demanding too much: when discipline and effort go too far

There are very different ways of educating. The pattern of behavior that we use when educating our children, the way in which parents and children interact, how they are taught, reinforced, motivated and expressed are what is called parental style.

It is common that, in an increasingly liquid and dynamic society, many families choose to try to instill discipline in their progeny, trying to instill a culture of effort and motivate their children to always aspire to the maximum and seek to achieve perfection. These types of parents tend to demand that their offspring be active, make the best effort possible and achieve all the objectives that are proposed to them as efficiently as possible.

Overly demanding parents tend to have an authoritarian parenting style, characterized by having a basically unidirectional and not very expressive type of communication, with a clear hierarchy and providing clear and rigid rules, granting little autonomy to the child and presenting a high level of control and high expectations of them. However, although discipline and effort are important, an excess of demand can cause difficulties in the psycho-emotional development of children, such as those that can be seen below.

7 common mistakes derived from high parental demands

Using the requirement occasionally as a way to increase performance can be effective. However, if it is a consistent behavior pattern and is not accompanied by efficient communication and coherent expression of feelings, in some subjects this educational style can contribute to causing different adaptation problems. 

Some of the mistakes that especially demanding parents make include the following.

1. Overextension does not increase performance

While promoting effort and improving results can be useful to increase performance in a timely manner, maintaining a high level of demand over time can in fact have the opposite effect: performance can decrease by thinking that it is not it is good enough, or because of the persevering search for an improvement in the results obtained.

2. Intolerance to mistakes

It is common for demanding parents not to sufficiently reinforce the efforts of their children, however noticing the presence of some errors. For this reason, the idea that is transmitted to the children is that the error is something bad, that it should be avoided. An intolerance towards error is thus formed, which can lead to the next point, the birth of perfectionism.

3. An excess of perfectionism is not good

An excess of demand in childhood can cause children to feel that what they do is never enough, not feeling satisfied with what they do throughout their lives. Thus, these people develop the need to do their best, seeking perfection. In the long run, this means that people do not finish the tasks, since they repeat them over and over again in order to improve them.

4. Unrealizable expectations are created

Believing in your own and others’ possibilities is good. However, these expectations need to be realistic. Hopes that are too high and unrealizable cause frustration at the inability to meet them, which in turn can lead to negative self-perception of one’s abilities.

5. Demanding a lot can cause insecurity and low self-esteem

If the demand is not followed by recognition of the effort made, the child will not feel that their efforts have been worth it. In the long run they can develop severe problems of anxiety and depression, as well as  helplessness learned from thinking that their efforts will not change the end result.

6. Focusing on complying can cause lack of self-motivation

Making a child focus too much on what to do can cause him to ignore what he wants to do. If this situation persists, said child in adulthood will present  emotional blocks and inability or difficulty to motivate himself, because they have not finished developing their own interests in childhood.

7. It can cause problems in personal relationships

Children of very demanding parents tend to learn the level of demand from their parents, and reproduce it in the future. In this way, it may be more difficult for them to socialize due to the high level of demand that they can present both towards themselves and towards other people in their relationships.

Recommendations to avoid these mistakes

The aspects cited so far are mainly due to the presence of high pressure and expectations, intolerance of errors and lack of reinforcement for one’s own behavior. However, the fact of being a demanding parent does not necessarily imply that these problems appear, and they can be avoided with sufficient communication and emotional expression. Some tips or recommendations when it comes to avoiding the indicated deficits could be the following.

Accompany better than instruct

The pressure these children feel is very high, sometimes being unable to do what they would like to do at the level that their loved ones would want. To avoid this, it is recommended that the expectations transmitted to the children are realistic and adjusted to the capacities demonstrated by the minor, avoiding extremism.

With regard to intolerance of mistakes, this does not occur if the child in question is taught that making mistakes is not bad or does not mean failure, but rather an opportunity to improve and learn. And that even in the case of failure, this does not imply that they stop loving them.

Value their effort and not their achievements

A large part of the problem that this type of education produces is the failure to value the effort carried out. The solution is to consider the importance of the effort made by the children, regardless of the results, and to help this effort come to fruition. This is especially important when the child does an activity correctly, in which sometimes they do not congratulate themselves as something normal and expected.

Confidence in children’s abilities is essential in order to motivate them and  increase their self-esteem. In order not to devalue the capacities of children, it is recommended that if there is something that you want to correct, you try to indicate in a positive way and without incurring criticism, or at all, focus it on the activity or the objective to.

Bibliographic references:

  • Baumrind, D. (1991). Parenting styles and adolescent development. In J. Brooks-Gun, R. Lerner, and AC Petersen (Eds.), The encyclopaedia of adolescence (pp. 746-758). New York: Garland.
  • Baumrind, D. (1996). The Discipline Controversy Revisted. Family Relations, 4 (4), 405-414.
  • Chen, X., Dong, Q., and Zhou, H. (1997). Authoritative and authoritarian parenting practices and social and school performance in Chinese children. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21, 855-873.
  • Del Barrio, MV and Roa, ML (2004). Parenting practices, maternal personality and social class. Proceedings of the II Hispano-Portuguese Congress of Psychology

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