Baylor students share impact of parental expectations

Those whom have parents with higher expectations of them receive higher academic achievements, while students who have parents with lower expectations are less likely to receive the same achievements. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Clay Thompson | Intern

What kind of impact can parents have on their child in the world of academics? Two Baylor freshman recently talked about how their parents’ expectations have impacted their lives, particularly in college.

Houston’s Luke Workman, who is currently undecided on his major, said his parents have always been exact opposites when it comes to expectations but their different parenting styles often worked together.

“[Dad] wanted to see the results, and my mom was more about the process,” he said. “My dad would be like, ‘Get all A’s so you can get into a good college,’ and my mom was like, ‘Just try your hardest.’”

Workman said they worked well together as a parental unit, but they each had their own styles of parenting and along with that, different expectations.

“I do have an agreement with my dad that I would have to keep a 3.0 [GPA] in order to stay at Baylor, and if I ever got below a 3.0, I would have the next semester to get it back up or I would have to leave Baylor,” Workman said. “[Mom] has always just been really supportive and telling me to just do my best, and if I ever was down, she’s the person I can call so she can give me a pick-me-up.”

The decision Workman made to be undecided at Baylor for his first year was also influenced by his father. He said he initially wanted to enter Baylor as a computer science major, but his father wanted him to go in as undecided. He also mentioned that his father’s expectations have motivated him to work his hardest in college.

“I switched to undecided, and that wasn’t a good decision for my part. He does have a lot to say in my academics,” Workman said. “I’m definitely trying harder in college than I ever have in high school, and that’s because I want to stay at Baylor because I like Baylor, so I just have to work at it.”

Jack Anderson of Glastonbury, Conn., had a different experience with his parents. He says that both his mother and father were more laid back when it came to their parenting style and expectations.

“I think they just had expectations, and I typically met them,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t one to really act out anyways. Regarding grades and just expectations in school, if I would come home and think I got like a B or something and that was bad, they would like to reassure me, but you know, you can always improve off of it.”

Anderson said his parents were never angry, strict or held him back from socializing with friends because they knew that he would just keep moving forward and get his work done. As he transitioned into college, he said his work ethic became more specialized to what he was interested in learning. He said this work ethic he developed was influenced by his parent’s expectations as well.

“It was more of if you feel like you can improve and you can do better than what you’re doing right now then get to work,” Anderson said. “I think that has applied multiple times.”

According to a paper published by Yoko Yamamoto and Susan D. Holloway in Educational Psychology Review, “parental expectations have been found to play a critical role in their children’s academic success.” It also said those whom have parents with higher expectations of them receive higher academic achievements, while students who have parents with lower expectations are less likely to receive the same achievements.

Even though Workman and Anderson had differing influences and expectations from their parents, both say they are hopeful about their academic careers.

“I’m doing better this semester, but it was something I needed to learn about a different work ethic,” Workman said.

Anderson said his parents let him trust his own judgment when it came to academics.

“I didn’t necessarily feel as pressured to pursue a certain type of course load,” Anderson said. “I kind of get to make my own decisions, which I think also helps with a part of maturity. It’s always good to be able to rely on and be able to talk with your parents. They’re supposed to be one of your biggest role models.”