I really think parenting is ALL about them. How often do I unconsciously set my kids up to fail, simply because I didn’t think through my expectations? Do I clearly and carefully delineate a course for my children that is actually attainable by both them and me? Am I allowing for the bumps of daily life, respecting their different personalities, meeting their needs, aware of struggles of each child in the moment?
When I read my own words, my first thought is, “Wow, to parent like that means I have to be ON all the time. That sounds exhausting.” And then I realize that even my expectations for myself are skewed. Of course I have to be “on” all the time; my kids are always on, always absorbing information, always taking their bearings from my actions. With four children ages seven and under, that means there aren’t many breaks. I can carve out times of rest, but I can’t shut down when they need me. This time is hard, and it is also incredibly important. Life-changing for both them and me. And I’m ready to embrace that.
Habit training is repetitive. If the most common actions we repeat in our home are disobedience and punishment, we’re training our kids for a lifestyle of disobedience and misery. Our parenting expectations are too low; we’re expecting that they’ll fail and be disciplined and fail and be disciplined over and over, finally figuring out obedience in the end if we punish them enough times. What if, instead, every single time we tell them to do something, we make it almost impossible for them to disobey; they might just learn the new habit because it IS habit, instead of learning the best way to dodge the things they don’t want to do.
What have been the most frustrating moments of your parenting day lately? How could adjusting your expectations help to navigate those times?
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