Are you expecting too much from your children? Watch out for these 5 things.
Many parents feel that a good way to assess their parenting is having their children reach age-appropriate targets.
That target could be toilet training, sitting and doing homework for an hour at a time, or pencil holding (don’t get me started on this one).
Of course, we want our children to reach their developmental milestones. But the fact is that too often, parents’ expectations for their children’s behavior tends to be too high. Growing research shows that by not accurately estimating our child’s abilities, we are expecting them to do things that are beyond their grasp, and then we judge and punish them according to our expectations.
It can help to understand that each child’s development can be dramatically different. Your child may be the first to read in their class, but the last to figure out how to tie their shoelaces. Another child may excel in math, but struggle with controlling their emotions.
When we stop comparing our children’s abilities with our own at their age, with their cousins/siblings, with their peers….we remove the stress that we’ve placed on them. Bearing down on them with unreasonable expectations can make them irritable and try to avoid our instructions. In fact, they will be so put off whatever skill or activity we are trying to force on them, that they will refuse to do it at all.
If you are facing this struggle in your home, try to build your child’s skill set by focusing on process. Any progress towards the final outcome that you want should be praised, without making demands, and gradually by encouraging positive steps, you will insh’Allah get the result that you want.
In the meantime, check your expectations:
1. Don’t expect them to be good all the time.
No one is, so give your children some grace. Overlooking some of the “bad things” when they’re non-priorities and do no harm to your child or others will make your parenting journey smoother.
2. Don’t expect them to act older than they are.
Know that kids will be kids and encourage them to explain how they’re feeling or why they’re acting a bit younger. Be attentive to those kids who act older than they are. Just because your child acts older than she is doesn’t make her an adult.
3. Don’t expect them to behave like other kids.
Teach your child that you expect his best, and that his best is always enough.
Focus on your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and set realistic expectations.
4. Don’t expect them to conform to the ‘norm’.
Trust that you are a good enough parent and be ready to stand by your parenting choices. Remember that your children learn much from watching you. When you stand by your beliefs, you teach them that their beliefs are valid. Accept that your child is an individual in her own right.
5. Don’t expect them to be like you.
Even when our children look like us and resemble us in some ways, they are not our carbon copies. So, before you push them to follow your interests, or show disappointment that they have different interests, stop yourself. Accept that your children are exactly who they’re supposed to be – themselves.