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Encouraging “Just Right” Standards for Your Kids

When parents' expectations for their kids are set at the right level - not too high and not too low - kids do very well in life.  Mighty Mommy has 6 tools for setting reasonable expectations that all parents can follow to move their children forward at their own pace.

 

By
Cheryl Butler
July 23, 2013
Episode #239

Page 1 of 3

With each of my 8 kids, I want nothing more than for them to be the best human beings they can possibly be. I don’t expect one of them to be the next President of the United States (unless that is their own dream) but I do have reasonable expectations for them to make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small or big.

When parents' expectations for their kids are set at the right level - not too high and not too low - kids tend to do very well in life.  Mighty Mommy has 6 specific tools for setting reasonable expectations that all parents can follow to move their children forward at their own pace.

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Tool #1: Know Your Child and Adjust to His/Her Level

Forget about your kids' peers and don’t get too carried away by everything you read in parenting books. When it comes to figuring out what makes your own child tick, ask yourself some simple questions: What is reasonable to expect from this particular child? What are her abilities, needs, accomplishments? What's her basic temperament? What's her current stage of development? In order to set appropriate expectations for your child, you have to really know them.

When you're assessing your child for “reasonable” behavior, take temperament and development into consideration, and adjust your expectations to meet capabilities. Three of my kids had significant learning delays, but regardless, I knew that if I didn’t set certain standards for them, they could very well flounder and perform at a lower level than they were capable of.  One of their very wise teachers once told me —“If your child can't tolerate an elevator ride to the top of the Empire State Building, then chances are he won't tolerate the wonderful plane ride to Disney World either.”  

That message empowered me to set the bar higher than their teachers did.  I didn’t care if they couldn’t perform at their peer level, but I did care if they weren’t at least given the chance.  Don’t underestimate your kids’ individual strengths and talents — they may not be the same as their peers, but they do have unique abilities and need to be given the chance to develop them.

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