top of page

How expectant are you in your parenting?

No expectations, no disappointments, right?

Well, as much as this can take any course, I believe that in parenting, we do and should have expectations on our kids. But the kind of expectations we have and whether or not we are going about them the right way, is a cause for another day, another blog, etc.

In this blog, I want to share about the Pygmalion Effect and it’s impact on parenting. The Pygmalion Effect, also known as the Rosenthal Effect was founded back in 1963 by Robert Rosenthal. defines this psychological phenomenon as “people improving their performance when others have high expectations of them”.

In essence, the Pygmalion Effect focuses on the cycle that follows how the beliefs we hold of others influences our actions towards them; how our actions then impact what others believe of themselves and thereafter, the ripple effect that actually causes them to behave in ways that reinforce what we believed about them in the first place. Check diagram below for a simple illustration.

When in comes to parenting and the impact that the Pygmalion Effect might have on how we parent our kids, there’s a number of factors we need to be cognisant of.

What we believe of our kids will definitely influence how we treat them, what we expose them to, what we say to them, how we speak to them, etc. The parenting relationship by nature is delicate. This is why it is important for us as parents to be mindful of the language we use when we speak to our children. We all know that there is power in the tongue, right? (Proverbs 18:21).

When Bontle was younger, I remember countless times saying to her, “don’t run so fast, you will fall” and that actually happening a few moments later. This is what all of us, over-protective parents do. Ours is to defend and protect at all costs. But, we do this without realising that we are actually instilling certain beliefs in our children by imposing our preconceived ideas and biases into their brain’s elasticity. I acknowledge that sometimes we get it right, because of our parental intuition but other times, we really don’t. And when we don’t, we need to acknowledge it to ourselves and to our kids.