Step One: Match Your Expectations To Your Child's True Self. To make sure that the expectation you set for your child are ones that stretch her potential without unintentionally zapping her self-worth, ask yourself this: "Are my expectations"...
- Developmentally appropriate. "Is my child developmentally ready for the tasks I'm requiring, or am I pushing him beyond the limits of his internal timetable?"
- Realistic. "Is my expectation fair and reasonable, or am I expecting too much?"
- Child Oriented. "Is what I'm expecting something my child wants, or is it something I want for myself?"
- Success Oriented. "Am I setting the kind of expectations that tell my child I believe he is responsible, reliable, and worthy?"
Don't get so wrapped up in your hopes and dreams for your child's future that you lose sight of what matters most in the here and now. After all, what could be more important than your child's knowing that you love and cherish her for who she is - not for what you hope she will become?
Step Two: Tune In To What's Really Going on With Your Kid. Put down that cell phone. Don't worry about the dust. Be intentional. Take time every day - I'm not talking hours, just a few minutes - to take a good look at your child's life and how things are going.
Step Three: Check Your Kid's Vital Signs. First the face: Are his eyes sparkling or flat? Is he scowling or smiling? Next the body language: Is she relaxed or stiff? Slumped down or coiled up? Finally, the voice: Is it tense and edgy or warm and resonant? Are you hearing whines or laughter? Any sudden changes in behavior: Clinginess? Anger or temper tantrums? Avoidance of situations? Negativity? Loss or big increase in appetite? Too little or too much sleep? Remember, your child isn't going to come up to you and say anything outright...but there are many ways, if you're sensitive, that you can see it for yourself.
Step Four: Identify the Specific Misfit Between Expectations and Reality. Is that accelerated class too hard? Is the coach too demanding? Are you too critical of your kids' grades? Is that clique you've encouraged her to join too upscale? Talk to your spouse, the teacher, or your best friend.
Step Five: Take Action to Remove the Mismatch Between Your Expectation and Reality. Find a better class. Take a break from soccer. Back off from stressing over grade point averages. Let your child choose her own friends. Remain vigilante and sensitive to your kid's needs. Never stop checking for stress and overload, identifying the potential causes and taking action to provide the remedy. (p. 72-73)
WOW!!! Just typing these steps, I can hear a little voice inside my head telling me what is not working in our family. When you read these, please be tuned in to your true self. That is such a huge problem for us I think. We really like a certain mom so we force our kids to invite over the child so we moms can visit, and what ends up happening is that we are compromising our children. Or, we really really really want our little baseball star to shine so we get on the most competitive team around and maybe the practices are just too much and if we would have chosen a less strenuous league our sons may not feel so drained. Listen to that little voice and do what is in her most natural mothering instinct to do.
Lets take the next two days to implement these steps into our daily lives and truly give 100% to being more sensitive to our kids' needs and to intentionally reading into everything they do. And, lets just see how we fare.
Remember, we will meet back here Friday for "Show and Tell" where we will share our struggles and our strengths to encourage each other and hold each other accountable as good buddies do. Our giveaway begins Friday so be sure to join us!!
Have a great week!