I am guessing that you, like most parents, have high expectations for your child. You know how smart your student can be. You see all the little “aha!” moments of exceptional brilliance, social adeptness, athletic prowess and/or perceptive insight. You know deep in your heart that if he just applies himself, your child could set the world on fire.
However, we’ve all seen and heard about children who are pushed too hard. Leah goes from soccer to piano to dance to religious school and barely has time for homework. Steven is taking online classes to graduate a year early, and loses sleep because of his academic burden.
How do we know how hard to push? When does “just enough” become “too much?”
Like most things in parenting, a careful balance is the key to a high-achieving student who still makes time for social events, family functions, relaxation and old-fashioned fun. You know your child best, so the first priority is to trust your instincts. If you feel that your child is spending too much or too little time on homework or extra-curricular activities, say so. Have an honest talk with your student to figure out what goals he has for himself, what requirements and obligations he currently maintains and what can be juggled to achieve a reasonable schedule that combines academic achievement with other objectives. Help him look at his calendar and specifically list all of his activities. This will give your child a visual of whether or not he is balancing all the balls he has in the air.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid to express your high expectations to your child. Letting him know the goals you have for him will set the bar and give him something to strive towards.
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