Not So Great Expectations

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I often find myself in conversations with other people about appropriate expectations for young children. These conversations generally revolve around schools and preschools and the sometimes elevated expectations adults have of young children’s behavior. However, last Friday I was at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting where the speaker was talking to us about being nurturing parents. She had a lot of really great points regarding love and discipline, but the point I have found most useful was regarding expectations. The speaker told us to expect that our children are going to do bad things because they are, and if we are expecting it we won’t be quite as shocked. She was not implying that we let our children do whatever they want or get away with inappropriate behavior. She was simply saying that kids are going to do things you don’t want them to do. If you are expecting it, you can deal with the behavior…not your own disappointment regarding their behavior. I have found this bit of advice to be most useful this week because it has spared me a lot of frustration with the girls. For instance, I prepared myself ahead of time yesterday to expect the girls to interrupt me while I was trying to clean the bathroom. I gave myself the same little reminder as I was preparing dinner last night and again while writing this blog this morning. (Not that interrupting me is “bad behavior”…just a little annoying at times.) I have also been working on anticipating situations that I know will be more difficult transitions for the girls. This has allowed me to be able to plan ahead for how to manage their behavior if or when it does occur. Changing my expectations of the girls and their behavior has really helped me be more patient with them, and it has made the time I spend with them so much more enjoyable.

2 Responses to “Not So Great Expectations”

  1. Kristy Zagami says:

    I’ve always thought that a remote control with a “pause” button would be quite helpful. We could aim it at our little ones and put them on “pause” until we’ve completed the task at hand. The other option would be to heed the wise wisdom you were given and plan ahead to be interrupted. In doing so, we model patience, kindness, and putting the needs of others first to our children. These are character qualities that we want our children to have. Leading by example would be prudent. I’ll be the first to admit that after being interrupted 87 times by noon, that becomes a challenge. It helps me to remember that bathrooms will always be dirty, dinners are endless, blogs will continue to be written, but our children will eventually grow up and cease to interrupt us. That thought almost makes me treasure the interruption. Right on time – here comes my four year old. Good advice! Thanks.

    • migratorymama says:

      So true! That is the other thing I have to remind myself about regularly…the fact that they will grow up and not need me sooner than I can imagine! It’s great to hear from you!

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