Impact of Society's Expectations on Teenagers

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Every day of your life you’re living with expectations, your parents expect you to go to school and do your chores, society expects you to be a good person and follow rules. You’re expected to show up here, not be late, and do your homework. From the begging of your life you’re taught to have expectations for everything from people to life. Expectations can be beneficial because they shape you into a better person and can motivate you to succeed and help you make goals, but what happens when those expectations turn bad? The expectations from you and the people around you shape your reality.

Bad or good they can change your life both emotionally and physically. As a teenager, expectations can both help you succeed and be harmful. The expectations that parents have of their children’s future adolescent behavior, whether bad or good, can influence their lives and decisions.

From the time you’re a child there are expectations about how you’re going to turn out.

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If a child cries and is fussy about things then they are going to be a difficult child. If a child disagrees with things and has a strong opinion, they’re also expected to turn out a difficult child. And even if that child does things like eat an extra cookie or stay up past their bed time then they’re sometimes considered a problem child. How people behave when they are children can correlate to how parents expect them to turn out later in life.

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Based on research with parents of younger children, investigators have argued that parents’ expectations about adolescence have implications for how parents interpret their children’s behavior as those children become adolescents, and therefore for the evolving relationship between parents and adolescents. A child that steals cookies may be expected to steal bigger more important things when they’re a teenager. Theses expectations are unhealthy, if a child is expected to mess up and parents act as if that child is going to mess up before they do then that can put more stress or pressure on that child. It can even effect how that child thinks of themselves.

Teenagers are often the focus when it comes to parents and expectations. They’re expected to complete their homework and be home by curfew, most are expected to go to college and know how they want their future to turn out. When it comes to parents and teenagers though, parents have been shown to sometimes expect the worst in their kids. Data from numerous studies suggest that parents’ ideas about their children influence parenting and parent–child relationships. When a parent expects the worst from their kid, it can lead to problems in the family and fights between teenagers and parents. Bad expectations like that, expecting the worst from someone when that’s not necessarily what is going to happen is bad for both people in the situation. The person thinking that they’ll be let down before they actually are isn’t helping themselves, and then the person who feels that they’ll mess up because the other person thinks they will can sometimes only prompt them to do just that. Both ways that kind of expectation isn’t healthy or helpful to anyone.

The reason some parents sometimes expect the worst from their kids is because of their past expectations or the way society influences them. In society, most teenagers aren’t shown in the best light and that carries over into the way people expect them to behave. American society has a strong stereotype, often conveyed through the media, of adolescence as a difficult time, involving such attributes as rebellion, parent-child conflict, risk-taking behavior, irresponsibility, and peer pressure. They’re expected to choose the wrong door even if they know the right one. They’re expected to be rebellious and go against the rules, to abuse substances and party, and to act like they’re invincible and can do whatever they want. Some parents can’t help but expect the worst from kids, especially if that kid has messed up in the past parents immediately expect them to mess up again. Those expectations hurt teenagers though, the stress from having their parents act distant or cold because they’re expecting you to mess up can lead to a lot of things. It can hurt their school work, cause them to get less sleep, and even make someone feel depressed.

While high expectations can be healthy, expecting too little or to much from kids will backfire.

In a study done, 44 parents and college student respondents answeres open-ended questions about the personality and behavior of typical and observed adolescents. They were asked to rate the degree to which 65 traits and behaviors are characteristics of typical adolescents. The study of expectations and stereotypes concerning adolescents was developed based on individual’s responses to an open-ended questionnaire asking them to describe, in their view, both the “stereotypical” and the “average” adolescent. The scale was developed from the results of the questionnaire. The results were what one might expect, Recklessness, Rebelliousness, alcohol and drug use, sexual activeness, risky behaviors, and rule breaking scored high on the scale.

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Impact of Society's Expectations on Teenagers. (2021, Mar 01). Retrieved from

Impact of Society's Expectations on Teenagers
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