Putting Too Much Pressure on Children to Achieve at School Can Push Their Grades Down

All parents want their kids to do well. But unrealistic expectations not only have potentially damaging long-term psychological effects, they can hurt kids academically in the here and now. That’s according to a new study that finds getting kids to do well is even more of a tightrope than we thought. Some pressure does help children achieve more, but expecting the unachievable only makes them do worse.

Researchers at the UK's University of Reading looked at the numbers from a study of more than 3,500 students in Germany from 2002 to 2007. The study, according to an article in Science Daily, “assessed student math achievement as well as parental aspiration (how much they want their child to earn a particular grade) and expectation (how much they believe their child can achieve a certain grade) on an annual basis.” They found that when parents pushed kids to achieve, they did rise to meet the expectations. But when parents tried to nudge kids past their realistic potential, the effort backfired, and the students actually did worse.

To double down on those findings, researchers reviewed the results of a study involving 12,000 kids and parents in the U.S. The two-year investigation came up with the same findings as the German survey, and offers a cautionary tale for parents.

"Much of the previous literature conveyed a simple, straightforward message to parents—aim high for your children and they will achieve more," says Kou Murayama, who led the study. "Unrealistically high aspiration may hinder academic performance. Simply raising aspiration cannot be an effective solution to improve success in education."

Murayama added that too much parental aspiration can be “poisonous.”

(h/t Science Daily)


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.