Do parents expect too much from their children and teachers in HK?

Yes, parents love their children, and want only the best for them. They tend to push their children to strive to be the better version of them. Their love for their children is so strong that they will fight and push teachers for the benefit of their children.

So, should you as a parent push your child or a teacher to the limits? I will be straight-forward and answer the titular question right away. No you should not. While many parents in Hong Kong tend to expect too much from their children and teachers, and this has several ramifications.

A Quick Summary:

  • Parents expect too much from their children which will only lead to adverse consequences.
  • Expecting too much from children and teachers is unfortunate and unfair. While teachers love their students just as much as parents do, they are equally trying hard to provide each child with the best education possible.
  • Allow your child to be innocent and creative, by balancing both studies and allowing them to enjoy the best days of their childhood.
  • Set a trend where parents start accepting their child the way she or he is, by giving them enough room to pursue their passion.

Parents’ expectations from their children

Asian parents with their child encouraging

Hong Kong is a city with a high regard for education and academia. Students are expected to perform well in school. Not just that, many local parents also enrol their children in extra tutorial sessions as well as additional skills such as music and foreign language lessons. The intentions are good here, of course. Many people might say that those children are blessed to have such parents; while there are parents who do not expect anything of their children and do not provide them with enough resources. However, going to the extreme, on the other end is not much better either.

Perhaps all of this is an Asian problem. It is not just the ethnically local Hong Kong’ers, but parents of ethnic minorities, such as Nepalese, Indians and Bangladeshis, who tend to be quite strict and expect their sons or daughters to be the first in class or get a super high score.

Allow them to be innocent and creative

Child with paint in his hands

As someone who has somewhat grown up in that environment and as a teacher who deals with a lot of students and parents, I have firsthand seen this happen a lot. Something they perhaps forget is that their children are, well, after all kids. They still have the innocence and freedom from the stress they have to later deal from adult life. This is their time to be as creative and enjoy their childhood as much as they want.

It is important to push them. Well, yes, you should “encourage” them, but pushing them too far will only lead them over the edge in negative ways leaving you to deal with other problems later in their lives.

Are you considering the stress every child undergoes?

Child looking stressed

Firstly, it must be made clear that all the strictness can easily backfire. Children can feel too stressed to perform properly in their studies and extra lessons. Well, either that or they can feel rebellious, which will also result in poor academic performance. However, it is not all about studies. They will suffer from negative self-esteem because they will feel that they are never able to please their parents.

Also read: Tips to help students with their homework.

Children’s psyches are very inconsistent, and it is very easy to hurt them and cause them to be weaker emotionally as they grow up if they are constantly reminded to be failures. Also, as children, they want to play with their friends and discover new things. It is, therefore, inevitable that children will begin to resent their parents in one form another in the future, if not in the present when their parents’ expectations always loom over them.

Aside from these, acting authoritarian will slowly but surely push children to look elsewhere for comfort and acceptance. This can nudge towards bad companies and negative influence.

Parents’ expectations from teachers

Asian Teacher - TEFL Teacher

The amount of pressure parents put on teachers, and the level of expectations they have from them is something that is not discussed as much. However, it is another issue I have noticed since working as a teacher for the past few years.

One thing I have realized is that teachers, at least the good ones, try very hard to execute their role. There is a sense of responsibility, and most teachers attempt to fulfil multiple roles. They try to be good role models which, of course, affects their lifestyles. They try to be counsellors when their students are not feeling well. Well, many times, teachers are also trying to pick up students who are feeling down due to their parents’ expectations.

Unlike plenty of other jobs where you clock in and clock out and do not care about the job, most teachers do care. I have had plenty of teachers who have taken time out of their personal lives to help me with studies, to give me advice or to celebrate when I do well in my studies. I have a newfound respect for teachers honestly because I know how hard we try and how much we care.

Teachers are humans

Nobody is perfect, and most teachers are already trying their best. Parents only have their children to care about, but teachers have many more, and they have to give their best to look after all of them and provide them with enough attention.

Parents being too harsh on the teachers is especially true for tutors or teachers from learning centres. There are plenty of parents who have this notion that their children need to show improvement in every area at the earliest.

If there are any mistakes in their homework or if a student does not perform up to par in any subject, they feel unsatisfied. However, the whole process is a teamwork between the teacher, the student and the parents. Improvement takes time and patience.

To Sum Up

When it comes to children, having too many expectations leads to nothing positive. Parents will not be happy because they will never be satisfied. Children will not be happy either due to the feeling of incompetence which can, honestly, really kill them from the inside.

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to be mindful of your expectations and have good communication with your children. It is important to explain to them nicely why they are expected to do well, and it crucial not to have such high expectations. Praise them when they objectively do a good job and encourage them to do better instead of outright scolding them or being passive-aggressive.

When it comes to teachers, I am not saying that it is wrong to complain to them. If they are not doing a good job, it is important to explain your dissatisfaction to them. However, it is also important to understand them, be patient with them and communicate your feelings properly with them. Many teachers will be willing to work with you because they also want their students to do well.

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This article was originally published on December 17, 2020 and was last updated on August 30, 2021.

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