Dr. Joyce W. Teal Editorial Columnist
Parents: Research has shown that parental expectations for children’s academic achievement predict educational outcomes more than any other measures of parental involvement. So please know that the expectations parents have for their sons’ behavior also matter! The expectations parents have for their sons’ school attainment influence their sons’ expectations and achievement. Knowing that this is so, you’ll want to make it clear to your son that you expect him to achieve and you expect him to behave appropriately.
Parental expectations are more likely to affect children when parent-child relationships are characterized by closeness and warmth. Parental expectations influence children’s outcomes through numerous pathways. Parental expectations directly affect the amount of parent-child communication about school. Additionally, families with high educational aspirations for their sons take the time to provide out-of-school learning opportunities for them. Students who say their parents expect them to attend college have better attendance and more positive attitudes toward school, according to one study.
Parental expectations also impact your sons’ own aspirations and personal expectations. Studies suggest that parents’ expectations for their children’s academic attainment have a moderate to strong influence on students’ own goals for postsecondary education. Further, both sets of expectations are moderated by characteristics of the parent, child, and community.
Begin early in your sons’ lives making them aware that you have expectations for them and assuring that they know what your expectations are.
One of the main reasons many boys get off track in school is because their parents do not talk with them on a regular basis regarding what they expect. Many parents wait until their sons get in trouble, either behaviorally or academically, before they have a serious conversation with them about appropriate behavior and the importance of putting forth their best efforts. They are seemingly reluctant to talk to their sons about what they, as parents, expect them to do and what they expect them not to do. Both are important!
Summer is just about over. The new academic year is imminent. No matter what grade level your young son, tween or teen is entering this new school year, provide him the opportunity to enter with your clear, parental expectations firmly fixed in his psyche. This is one of the best things you can do for your son!
Make sure you are clear and specific and that your son understands that certain expectations are not negotiable, that you expect this to always happen. Specific, non-negotiable items should include:
- Respectful speech and attitude (most especially with adult authorities)
- All written communication sent by the school will be given to you promptly
- All homework and in-school assignments will be completed
- There will be no bullying (ever)
- You will choose appropriate friends and associates
Parents: It is very important for your sons to know that you have expectations for them and also equally important that they know what your expectations are. Clarifying your expectations prior to the beginning of the new school year, and then providing frequent reminders to keep the expectations fresh on your sons’ minds will serve to help them maintain their focus.
Special note: Readers are invited to tune in to Dr. Teal’s weekly internet radio talk show @ www.kebnradio.com; 10 a.m. Saturdays CST and to check out her BLOG by visiting www.untealthen.com.