Friday, May 16, 2014

Too High-Expectations

As I walked into the mud room the other day, this is what I saw: 

My daughter and her 3 children live in the apartment we have in the basement. They come through the shared mudroom to get to their place. I was always finding coats on the floor. It was driving me crazy! Now I know, mom walks in with three children, one is a baby, probably groceries, a diaper bag, preschool materials etc. It is hectic coming in the house with 3 little children. Were my expectations too high? Literally they were...

The children couldn't hang their coats up because the hooks were too high! So I solved the problem. I just put hooks lower, explained to the children where their coats go now and problem solved! We have had no more coats on the floor!

This is a simple solution, I understand, but it got me thinking about other expectations. Do we expect too much sometimes from our children?
For example..

Toddlers: We give them a plate of food and tell them to eat all of it. Most times, the portions are what we give them. Is it too much? Toddlers will eat tons at one meal and nothing but a few bites at another. 

Adolescents: Do we tell them to come home from friends at a certain time, yet they don't have a watch with an alarm to tell them what time it is? Do we expect them to constantly watch the clock to be home on time?

Teenagers: What are our expectations with them? Do we think they should have adult brains and adult experiences to make the correct choices all the time? 

I did believe we should teach our children responsibility and teach consequences for our actions, but we shouldn't EXPECT them to always be able to do those things we think they should do. I often hear from parents... "He knows better". This statement is a true statement, but remember how many times you had to be taught before you could make the right choice sometimes. Expect to teach them over and over. 

I don't believe you lower your standards and values in your family, those are strong and stay high! I do believe we sometimes need to lower what we expect of our children. Our EXPECTATIONS can be too high. Remember, they are learning through out their childhood. Have faith in them through struggles (like the coats), problem solve with them and then see what they can do!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Values - Following the Leader

Often when I am facilitating a class, parents will say to me.. “The problem with children today is…”
The following is what someone said about youth:

“The world is passing through troubling times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.”

Does this sound like our children today?  This was actually written by:

Peter the Hermit
(c. 1050 – 8 July 1115) He was a priest of Amiens and a key figure during the First Crusade. (Wikipedia)

To me this is very interesting…  Each generation says the same thing about children and youth.  Do I believe there are problems with this generation?  Yes, as in all others.  I do believe however, that there are wonderful children and youth in the world.  We just don’t hear enough about them!  I have met them and had them in my home when my children were youth.

What we need to teach our children is values.  For each family this is different of course, but overall I believe our values are similar.  Honesty, kindness, integrity, empathy, respect, self-discipline, responsibility etc… (this list goes on and on).   Your core values in your home and the characteristics you want your children to have needs to come from you.  If you don’t teach, they will learn values from the world.  You don’t want this to happen!

So, how do we do this?  Number one and most important way is to model these values yourself.  

So, for example, let’s talk about empathy and kindness.  A child learns best when he sees others he respects and loves being kind, and loving.   Show kindness and concern to neighbors, friends, families in your school area, the homeless, or anyone that you see may need some compassion at the time.   Let your children help also.  Talk to them about what you are doing and why.   Can you see what they are learning at the time?  If you model kindness and talk to them about it, they are learning in two different ways.  

Watch what children are learning from media. The TV shows, games, movies, music , magazines, etc,  all have values that your children learn.  Are these values the ones you want to instil in them?   Why not turn the radio off?  Or a TV show?  Many (many) years ago, a show came on the TV.  It is still running today!  (I won’t mention any names in this post).  My husband walk in and one person on the show was speaking very disrespectfully to another.  (A child to a mother).  My husband walked right over and turned the TV off and announced… “that  was very rude, this show will not be on our TV in our home!”   A discussion followed, because the children were not in agreement with turning it off, but we were insistent that we were not watching that show in our home.  We discussed with the children why.   My adult children remember that discussion and hopefully learned what values we expect in our home.  I actually know they learned that lesson throughout their years, as they teach the same values to their children and that show is not watched in their homes either!

So, with any value you want to teach, model the behavior and value you want them to have.   If you do this, they will follow you and learn your values.  

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