Often times it’s hard to distinguish what we can expect from our children and as a result get upset with them over something in which we shouldn’t have or could have prevented if we thought ahead. Are we expecting too much when we require them to sit at the dinning room table when they are only 2? Should I be upset with my child when she doesn’t want to perform in a school play? The October 2007 issue of Parents Magazine addressed this issue and helped to spotlight what we can expect from our children. (The ones in parenthesis are my own thoughts.) Here are a few of my favorites:
Unreasonable: Your 2 year old will be the cutest little flower girl in your sister’s wedding-walking down the aisle and posing for photos like an angel
Reasonable: She’ll get overwhelmed by all the attention, need you to carry he down the aisle, pose in very few group photos, and will be out of her dress before dinner is served.
(If you give a kid a wall to climb they will try to climb it)
Unreasonable: Soon after you’ve finally ditched diapers during the day, your child we be able to sleep through the night wearing his undies
Reasonable: Potty training usually comes in two parts: daytime and nighttime. It may be months- even years – before he’s dry all night
Unreasonable: Your 4 year old will sit patiently and watch his cousin open his birthday presents
Reasonable: He’ll freak out because he hasn’t gotten any gifts, and he’ll want to unwrap the birthday boy’s for him.
(If you give a two year old a marker, it won’t stay only on paper)
Unreasonable: Your 6 yr old can answer the telephone and say “I’ll get mommy”
Reasonable: Normally a motormouth, she’s suddenly speechless after she picks up the phone and then decides to hang up.
If a child is well prepared they can do better in these kinds of circumstances, but it’s still not reasonable to expect them to react/respond the way you would. If you go in with a reasonable mindset, you’ll find that you won’t get upset and are able to be proactive instead of reactive when the reasonable things happen. Kids will be kids, how we respond to them is important – getting upset won’t help the situation. Instead the thought process needs to be more about “how can I guide my child through this and help her feel successful in the end?” or “what can I do before we enter this situation to prepare myself and my child better?”