The chances of becoming President of the United States are pretty slim — some number crunching suggests the chances are one in 15.8 million. Yet, parents are renowned for having presidential aspirations for their offspring… “My little Michael is so smart and charismatic. He’s going to be President one day.”
While few parents really expect their kid to lead the free world, many parents do set lofty goals for their children. Dr Sunita Stewart, a psychologist at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, says it’s best to support a child’s natural talents and encourage him to believe his interests are both important and worthwhile.
“It is important to encourage our kids’ natural talents and interests,” says Dr Stewart. “This fosters feelings of self-esteem, confidence, and resilience in our children — personal traits that are so crucial to their success in academic, social, and professional realms.”
Setting unrealistic or unattainable goals can actually harm your child’s potential. Parents who set demands too high or push their kids toward goals that don’t ring true with their abilities, interests, or temperament may inadvertently send the message “I want to change you” or “Your choices and interests are not important.”
“It is so important that, as parents, we remind our kids that there are many paths to success and happiness,” Dr Stewart says.
So, he isn’t going to be the next President of the United States. Police officers, teachers and engineers have made their parents proud, too. Even if their phone calls home didn’t come from the Oval Office.