Articles - Parenting

When Parents expect too much

Our son was around 4 years old and one of my least favourite things to do each day was to get him to make his bed.

My Mum was visiting and watched me work with him for a couple days. By the time we sat down to breakfast, Michael was out of sorts and he had a cranky mum.

My Mum took me aside and told me she didn’t think he had the ability to get the sheets, blanket and spread on the bed the way I wanted, especially since the bed was against a wall. She asked if she could get him a doona.

The next morning, Grandma told Michael she would get the sheet and blanket straight and he got to pull the doona up and put his pillow and stuffed animals where he wanted them, as long as it looked neat.

A happy boy and his happy mum and grandma sat down to breakfast to start a very good day.  

I was expecting Michael to do something he was not yet capable of doing. He wasn’t OLD enough to do it the way I wanted, meaning he didn’t have the physical dexterity or mental capacity to understand why or how I wanted the bed made. What seemed simple to me was anything but simple to him.

Simplifying the task (this is the boundary) solved this problem for both of us. I learned this lesson well, and made sure my expectations were not set at perfectionist standards when dealing with my children.

“Practical Parenting” Joey and Carla Link

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