Home Child Development Setting High Expectations: A Good Practice or Not

Setting High Expectations: A Good Practice or Not

Athlete training on steep old worn concrete stairs - toned image for dramatic feel.

Not too long ago I read the book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, and I was shocked. Truly! I’d read a page, shake my head, and say to myself, “This woman is nuts!” I made it through the last page, closed the book, and then said to myself, “I am not pushing my children enough.” Does this make me crazy, or am I just like many parents struggling to advocate for children without overdoing it?

If you read, Mrs. Chua’s blog, http://amychua.com, she proposes a more tempered approach to parenting. Having high standards for our kids can be instrumental to their development. The looming question is what are those standards and how high should they be?

The answer to this question is unique to each child. Standard solutions are nonexistent as Amy Chua found in raising her two very different daughters. The constant, however, is a belief in our children’s capacity to work hard, be disciplined, and believe in themselves. Regardless of whether they make it to the pro’s or the intramural team, they have internalized a life-lasting confidence and work ethic. Of course, pushing our children can be a slippery slope. The art is giving them unconditional love while still holding them to high standards. Simple in words but challenging in action.

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Dr. Richard Ginsburg
Dr. Richard D. Ginsburg is a clinical psychologist and sport psychology consultant. He is co-director of the Massachusetts General Hospital PACES Institute of Sport Psychology and is an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ginsburg also serves as staff psychologist in the Newton Wellesley Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department and is the director of Behavioral Health for the Boston Red Sox. Dr. Ginsburg offers a broad range of clinical services to children, adolescents and adults and conducts youth and professional sport research. He is author of the book, Whose Game Is It, Anyway, A guide to helping your child get the most from sports, organized by age and stage and has served as a sport psychology consultant for a variety of professional and college-level sports teams, including lacrosse, soccer, water polo and ice hockey at Harvard University. He is a member of the US Lacrosse Safety and Science Committee and provides talks and consultations nationally to youth, high school, and collegiate athletic programs. Dr. Ginsburg played lacrosse and soccer at Kenyon College, where he won all-conference and all-Midwest honors. He is also a former independent school teacher and coach. He lives with his wife, Teri, and their two children in Newton, Massachusetts.