Your Expectations That Your Teen Will Appreciate In The Future

Your Expectations That Your Teen Will Appreciate In The Future

The older teens grow, the more autonomy and independence they crave. In the midst of the constant battle of wills with your teen, it might come as a surprise to learn that you, the parent, have the greatest influence on your child’s behavior.

The best way you can exercise that influence is by setting high expectations for your teens. This is one area where The Rule of Expectations comes into play. According to this rule, individuals tend to make decisions based on how others expect them to perform.

Your teens will, therefore, live up or down to your expectations. If you think that teenagers make horrible decisions and are difficult, irresponsible and irrational, you’ll inadvertently communicate this to your child and they’ll exhibit stereotypical difficult teen behavior. On the flip side, if you view adolescence as a period of experimentation, creativity, growth and idealism, your teen son or daughter will be motivated to live up to their best selves.

Since expectations translate into behavior, you must not only lay down clearly defined expectations for your teen but also communicate them. Talking to your teen will also give you the chance to help them understand that their behavior and decisions have consequences.

Setting Reasonable Expectations

Again, we emphasize the importance of keeping your expectations high and communicating them to your teen as what seems obvious to you may not be as clear to them.

Here are some realistic expectations to have:

  • Good grades. As your teen progresses through high school, be sure to tell them that you expect them to score good grades. Also, reassure them that the workload is manageable and that you have faith in their ability to excel.
  • Respectfulness. Teach your kids the values you’d like them to have and let them know how you expect them to behave. Your kids learn from you so model proper behavior by being respectful to your family, friends and other people in the community.
  • Abstinence from substance abuse. Research shows that teens whose parents tell them that alcohol and substance abuse is completely unacceptable are less likely to experiment with drugs. Sending a consistent message that you expect your teens to avoid substance abuse helps them steer clear of temptation.
  • Responsibility. It’s normal for teens to crave more privileges and independence. Be clear that this comes with more responsibility and communicate how you expect them to handle responsibilities such as household chores, driving, dating, etc. Additionally, lay down consequences for not meeting these responsibilities and follow through when the need arises.

Ironically, lowering the expectations you have for your teen can actually lead them to make bad choices.

We at the Parent Learning Center understand how difficult it can be to set expectations for teenagers. That is why we have different parental courses to teach you the requisite skills to help your struggling teen. Get in touch with us for more information on how we can be of assistance.

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