Good Expectations

My kids are always complaining that I expect too much. My rules are stricter than most parents’ — and I believe I expect more from my children than most parents. I feel like I’m swimming upstream. Any advice?

A core law of life: The harder you work at anything, the less company you have. The more important parenting is to you and the more you work at it, the less you will be like other parents.

Your standards are high. You actively pursue good parenthood.

Because you are different, your kids will be different. You are giving them extraordinary values that will carry them through the rest of their lives.

To walk apart from the parenting crowd takes enormous courage and stamina. Having high expectations for children has become somewhat out of fashion. There’s a mindset today that says parents don’t have the right to ask children to live up to their potential for fear of not allowing them to be kids or “overstressing” them or asking too much of them.

My experience is that, in general, our children are capable of much more — in the way of cooperation, self-restraint, respect, academics — than we ask of them.

Humans become strong by striving and reaching for their best. When those humans are children, parents must set the conditions for healthy striving.

You say you feel like you’re swimming upstream. You most likely are swimming upstream. God bless you for it. You will be rewarded many times over. So will your kids.

Dr. Ray Guarendi is a clinical psychologist, speaker and author of You’re a Better Parent Than You Think!

and Back to the Family. Watch his new EWTN show, Living Right With Dr. Ray, Mondays at 1pm Eastern.