I think that through the different parenting techniques that each family believes in, it helps us to understand where or how we view life, and ultimately defines us as human beings. It seems strange that to me, how my son's deafening squeal at the museum's exit doors can teach me more about life than any college or university that I have attended. By losing our dignity, not caring about how society views us, and digging up worms in the backyard, we can change the world for the better...my son has taught me that we never own anything, singing Tupac's latest album in the ER is perfectly okay, and that we should quit competing with one another; but, especially trying to push our children to these "universal standards" that seem to be nothing more than a nag that judges no aspect of intelligence or happiness. Who cares if Susie knows all 50 hues of red...as long as she is independent, happy and resilient then let her dig for worms.
This is tricky. Because we want to push our children but also do not want to push them too far and expect too much. I am a therapist and deal with this often. I am also a parent and have been guilty of expecting too much. I encourage my clients to ask themselves a question "if no one else were there, what would you think of the behavior?" Often parents get stressed in restaurants, church, plays, family gatherings, etc. because they worry about what others might think. So, if the behavior is acceptable at home, patiently encourage calmly and remember they do not have social development yet. If it is a behavior that is not allowed at home either, then I would discipline the same way you would at home. Stick in there.
Expecting too much of a child may also depend on the other children in your family's life. For instance, my niece is 10 months older than my son (18 months). I've learned so much from watching my sister and my niece, but sometimes (admittedly) find myself comparing my son to my niece. My niece never throws tantrums or tells her mom "No!". It starts my wheels turning, "what am I doing wrong?" That's not fair to me or to my son -- they're two little people who deserve to have their own specialties and quircks.
Thank you to Ms. Martin for her mention of our instinct as parents to except more from our children than they expect from themselves, and our true intent to be fair in those expectations. It helped.
Along with expecting too much from our children, maybe we, as moms, expect too much of ourselves sometimes. We're all human - us and our beautiful kiddos. "It's not about the falling down. It's about the way you get back up." Good luck to us all.
I LOVE what you wrote! "so long as she is independent, happy and resilient then let her dig for worms" Although I know better.. its so easy in my busy life to forget sometimes to stay attuned to my kids needs, whatever they may be in the moment - sleep, to play, to explore, to connect with me...the happy thing is ..if I screw up and place them in challenging situations that could easily conflict with my needs to support a quiet, clean public environment...I can always fix it. Just this morning, one of my sons, a little hugger usually, didn't want to hug me...and he is in the process of fighting a cold (fun as his twin brother also has it). His nose has been running like crazy..and I've been trying to wipe it so he doesn't swallow it! He had been getting very upset (he's 2). Then it dawned on me..he just wants to be able to choose what's happening to his body..I think. So, he had a dribble..and he was asking to be breastfed ( I'm still breastfeeding in the morning and at night). I asked him if it would be ok IF i wiped his nose first because I didn;t want the goobies on me..THEN..he could breastfeed...and he said YES> He stood still, let me completely wipe his nose..then I breast fed him. Thewn I asked if he was finished because I wanted to finish making lunch for him and he said OK. This has been an issue the past few days with his cold and I pushed my schedule without attending to his added needs for comfort, especially while under the weather. Then..about 15 minutes later...he came to the kitchen and asked me to pick him up. Usually I finish whatever I'm doing then try to attend to him. Today, I remembered my determination to make connection with him my priority and he hugged me so deep and warm for a few minutes and give me the biggest smile. A smile I had not seen for awhile. I asked if I could put him down because I needed to finish cooking (usually I just put him down when I was done without asking. He smiled and said yes...and went his merry way playing with something in the other room. When I needed to leave to get some work done, instead of getting very upset like the past few days..he gave me a hug and kiss and continued playing. I know this may be off topic a bit, but it was such a HUGE aha for me. I KNOW to do all this, but in my stress of everything I'm trying to get doen, and their cold..I just plain forgot and then his needs and my needs were not met and we were both upset! I focus on the relationship first..try to figure out what the current need is...which I guessed was choice and connection...and I got my lovey dovey toddler back again! even though he's still sick and coughing and has a runny nose!..and I was able to get all I needed to get done this morning..just by taking a two minute break to give a huge bear hug to my adorable huggy little guy. Yesterday..Trying to push my schedule without attending for a few brief minutes to his needs resulted in being late for a client and him in tears and me stressed and very sad. Yesterday afternoon I came across something that reinspired and remined me of my parenting goals- "Go within yourself and connect back to your true self, the beautiful soul you are. Find and connect with the beauty in your children—not in what they do, but who they are." - Rebecca Thompson This reminded me to look beyond the "behaviour" to the beautiful little soul within desperately trying to meet a need..but not knowing how to do it in a way to be heard without frustrating and stressing everyone out!