Every parent has expectations from their children, but some have unreasonable expectations. These expectations are formed unconsciously from our own wants and desires. Often parents want to see their children achieve what they themselves couldn’t. This is an unreasonable expectation. It is not necessary that your child will have the same talent and aptitude that you may want him to have.
The key is to have positive and reasonable expectations for your children. How do you establish a set of positive child discipline expectations? How do you know if your child discipline expectation is even reasonable? These aren’t easy questions to answer.
To come to any reasonable conclusion about the reasonableness of your expectations you will have to do some research – inside and outside. Outside, compare your expectations with others; don’t compare your children with other’s children. Look into what the established child behavior guidelines are for your child’s age. If a child at one is not expected to construct a full sentence, don’t expect it from your child.
When you decide whether an expectation you have for you child is reasonable, you have to be as objective as possible. Look into what the established child behavior guidelines are for your child’s age. If the established guideline is that children don’t develop full sentence speech till they are at least a year old, expecting a full sentence out of your six-month old isn’t a responsible expectation.
Children cannot be compared, and it is one of the most common mistakes parents make when they compare their child with the neighbor’s. If your child happens to be average in studies, try your best to help him improve but learn to accept it. All children are not born to be geniuses. Your child might have some other talent; look for it and develop that instead of harping on grades.
Having unreasonable expectations of your children leads you to disappointment and your children to feeling like they can’t measure up. Neither of these situations is positive and should be avoided since they tend to lead to child behavioral problems.
Of course, you must set reasonable expectations in child behavior or child discipline in different areas. After that you should formulate a set of goals and hold to them. Let your child know when he meets those expectations by rewarding him. This will help you take him further on the road to success, but at his pace, not yours.
Often times, having had the success of reaching and meeting the first expectation, your children will be able to meet that higher expectation. The biggest thing to remember is to not push your desires onto your children. If you were never good in sports but you wanted to be the star athlete of your school, to make that dream come true, don’t push your child to be a superstar against his or her will. Also, don’t force your child into athletics just because he or she is good at it. That’s placing your expectations from your past onto your children. That only creates a negative environment, child behavior problems and child discipline issues. Reasonable expectations promote growth and positive self image and are an essential parenting skill.
“My 5 year old has just started school. Before school she was always polite, caring, helpful. Since going to school, while she still appears to be so with her teachers (so they say), she now really pushes the boundaries at home. Some kids at school have taught her to swear, talk back, talk about sex in very broad terms. She talks back and while fundamentally she is still a wonderful and very smart little girl, her smarts have turned into “smarty-pants”.
You might not sure how I should teach her to make the right choices about right vs. wrong. She has already missed school at the insistence of her 5 year old friend. How can you help her when she is not under your watchful eye at school? How do I ensure she will make the right choice on her own?
Hmmm, how indeed? Let’s look at the underlying principles.
Kids, like you and me, are doing their best to succeed in life. So their behaviors are their attempts to get good results for themselves, as they themselves would define them. Those “good results” might be to satisfy basic urges such as hunger and warmth, they might be to get approval and love – from their parents, or from their friends, or they might be simply to have fun and excitement.
They will demonstrate the behavior they believe will get them the need they have at that time.
Of course, not all behaviors are successful – and that is the whole learning process. Constantly through life we are experimenting with behaviors to find the ones that work best for us. In choosing what behaviors to experiment with, we take input from past experiences, from what we have been told, and from what we have seen others do (in real life and on TV) and we combine this with the skills, abilities, and personality that we have. From all of this we get a range of possible behaviors, and out of those we pick what we hope will serve us best.
After experimenting we will find the behaviors that meet our needs. We will use these behaviors to get what we want. The more we achieve a good result with a behavior, the more we demonstrate that behavior.
Returning to your 5 year old daughter. This behavior is a sign that she is in the process of experimenting. She is in a new situation at school and this has expanded her world. She is not sure how to react and is excited and nervous at the same time. She is testing different behaviors to determine which behaviors will end in an intended result.
Your daughter will most likely try a range of behaviors. Many of which will not occur ever again as they didn’t work. Some behaviors will become a part of her usual behavior. Which behaviors will your daughter stick to? It really depends on the results of each experience. She is at an age where having your approval and love is very important to her. She needs to see your reaction to her behaviors. Outside reactions from others also play a role. For example, punishments and rewards can be a big influence on her behavior. She will seek the approval of you, her teachers, and her friends.
You have a great deal of influence as her parent. When she is this young she will listen to you. Later on is another story. Your influence appears in two ways.
1. Your emotional reaction to her behaviors. Do you approve or disapprove of her behaviors?
2. Your control of external factors. You can decide what school she goes to, and the types of people she will meet at school and in your neighborhood. You can also impose rewards, punishments, and constraints (such as permissions to do or not do activities).
Putting all this together, and taking a strategic overview, these are the types of questions you would want to be asking yourself:
Does this look like it is just an experimental phase that will almost certainly pass? If so, then don’t get too stressed about it all – enjoy the phase of watching your kids growing up and exploring the world. (Hey, I remember sneaking out from home at about 7 to go and play in the school playground, in the dark, at about 9pm. I even put pillows in my bed to deceive my parents. And I turned out okay … I think…)
Bear in mind that if you over-react to things like her swearing that may, in itself, actually make the behavior seems MORE exciting rather than less. Generally, “chilling out” is the better way to go.
If you feel as if her bad behavior is escalating too much then you need to do something to combat it.
When this happens you will need to rely on your opinion of the situation. Are you doing all the things you can as a parent? Make sure that you are a positive role model. Remember, you have a significant influence on her.
Check out the school and your neighborhood. How have the children who were raised in this neighborhood do when they grew up? Do they become productive adults or do most of the kids spend their days being in trouble for most of their teenage years?
Take the time to talk with parents and teachers at school. Each school has a culture and perhaps your daughter is trying to fit into this culture. How concerned are the teachers? Does the behavior of most kids at the school improve as they grow up out their phases?
Unfortunately, you can’t watch over every influence in your child’s life. You also can’t be 100% sure that your daughter will learn right from wrong. However, you can improve the odds of this. Your influence as a parent is great and you should be a positive role model for your child.
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If you have young children then the chances are you will have had to endure the sometimes cringe-worthy temper tantrums they sometimes throw. It can cause other people present to laugh at the sight of your child rolling around the floor screaming because they cannot fit something in a hole or because you will not let them have a sweet or be able to do something. But it is embarrassing for the parent.
The amusement from the first couple of incidences will soon turn to the parent being perplexed by the tantrums. Mainly from not being able to know what to do to prevent the child from having a tantrum or not knowing what to do to once in the throes of one.
You may have to deal with the tantrum differently when out in public or at someone else’s house. Whereas at home you may send them to their bedroom or to a quiet place, there will not be this option if at the shops or a house they are not familiar with.
Blowing your top and screaming at your child will inflame the situation and may cause your child’s tantrum to get worse! So take a deep breath and speak slowly and calmly, rather than shouting. Try to reason with your child rather than throwing your weight around, you are much bigger and they may feel intimidated.
Conversely, if you respond by being overly concerned by it, they may in the future use tantrums as a way of gaining your attention as they are going to be assured of a response or reaction from you.
It is far easier to stop the tantrum before it escalates too much then to stop a full blown one. If your child is a toddler then try to distract them and take their focus away for their source of anger.
Stick to your guns. If they are having a tantrum because you would not let them do something, the worst thing to do is to give in and then let them have it, just so that the tantrum stops. This will teach them that you will give them what they want if they misbehave.
For preschool children, taking time out or getting them to sit in the corner of a quiet room or bottom step of the stairs can be an effective way to resolve the tantrum. Make them sit there for a minute or so, not too long or they will not remember why they have been put there.
If you wish you can make older children sit there for a slightly longer time, perhaps till they have calmed down and worked out what they did wrong. This will not work for toddlers as their memory is not as developed.
Whichever method of stopping the tantrums you use, you must always explain to the child, no matter what their age, why they cannot throw a tantrum and the reasons you have told them off or made them take time out. Once your child learns that their tantrum will not get them anywhere they will soon stop them.
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