Expectations for Kids

Are Your Expectations for Your Kids Realistic?

ExpectationsforKids-ShirinSherkatIn our last article we began discussing the 3 Secrets to Understanding Your Kids’ Perspective. In this article we will talk about evaluating your expectations for your kids.

Before judging your kids for something they have or haven’t done, make sure your expectations are based on their ability and maturity.

Oftentimes, parents base their expectations of their kids on what they think their children should be able to do and understand at their age.

Your child’s cognitive abilities, emotional security, and developmental IQ are all important. I am not advising you to refer to a detailed chart that spells out exactly what your child should or should not be capable of every time you want to make a request or judge your child’s behavior! For one, such a comprehensive and detailed chart, based solely on your individual kid, doesn’t exist. And second, it is not necessary.

You are an expert on your child.

You know your child’s ability, personality, feelings, hang-ups, quirks, habits and intelligence level. And so, what I am advising is to keep the following in mind when looking at the world from your child’s perspective:

  • Work within your kid’s communication zone. Children develop at different levels and paces. For example, one five-year-old is not capable of the same level of communication as another. Build on your child’s strengths. Make sure what you expect from your child is appropriate and consistent with his/her individual level of development and not just based on comparisons with other kids his age.
  • FearfulKid-ShirinSherkatDon’t project your agenda, fears, and aspirations onto your child. If you expect your nine-year-old son to be more responsible and less of a risk-taker, be sure you aren’t expecting something from your child based on your risk-taking behavior when you were his age. Your child is not you. Projecting your own fears and concerns onto your kid doesn’t help him learn to be more responsible, just more anxious.
  • Make sure your peers and family don’t influence you to expect certain behaviors from your child. Often, well-meaning family members share stories about cousin so-and-so, who was able to read at age three. Good for cousin, but don’t expect more from your child or assume your kids must have the same “reading gene.”

In our next and final article in this series, we’ll talking about “Asking your kid…inviting his input” to understand his perspective.

Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.

Contact her at 425-772-6698.

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