I will never forget one of the most memorable moments of my life with my late mother Katie Horne. As you read this remember this… You always get what you expect when it comes to life and parenting. My memorable authoritative parenting / child moment story goes like this….
I remember bringing all A’s and B’s home one day and showing my mom my report card. I handed it to her as she sat in her brown lazy boy chair, she glanced at it for a moment, handed it back to me and said, “Good job baby.” I stood there for a moment or two awaiting the jubilant celebration that I thought that this report card would bring. You know… a parade, a fighter jet air show and possibly a fireworks show. Definitely more than just a “Good job baby.”
I stood there for a minute and then I asked my mom, “Is that it?” She smiled, looked up at me and said, “Baby, this is what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to bring home grades like these.” and went back to what she was doing. That was one of the best things that she could have ever done for me.
From that moment on I made it a point to work as hard as I could. I was not going to let her down. Why? Because I now knew that excelling was not a special occurrence. It was what I was supposed to do. I worked as hard as I could to give her what she expected. Wether you believe it or not your children are doing the same thing. They are giving you what you expect. You are doing the same thing to yourself with your life and life situations.
Let me give you an example. What if you were walking down the street and a friend of yours or someone that you know ran up to you and shouted in excitement.
“OH MY GOSH!! YOU ARE WALKING DOWN THE STREET! THAT IS SO AMAZING!”
What would you think about that person? You would probably chuckle and say something like…”Uh…yeah…I do it every day. No big deal.” Wether you believe it or not this is also what you are doing with life. There are things that you expect to happen and probably take for granted. They show up so easily and often that you take them for granted. The reason they show up so easily and often is because you expect them to. They are supposed to show up. You are “supposed” to have running water. You are supposed to feel healthy. You are supposed to… It shows up because that is what you believe.
One of the best things that we do for our children, and one of the best things that you can do for your children is to set them up for success before every event, class or activity.
Here is what we do, before we take our son to Tae Kwan Do we talk about being focused in class. We talk about what we expect from him while he is in class and what we will expect from him at the end of class. We go over every situation that might be a challenge to reaching that expectation and we tell him how we expect him to handle that situation should it arise. We do the same thing with our son who plays basketball and we will do the same thing with our daughter.
In addition to that, we make it a point to stay and watch their lessons and events as often as possible. That is the most important part of this equation. At the start of any new class, event or activity we make it a point to be present. We stay and watch every lesson, every event, every… until we can see that the behavior matches the/our expectation. We are talking about actually watching them throughout the entire event. No sitting and checking Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram. You would be surprised at how many times they check in with you visually when you are there. Then and only then, after we know that the expectation is being met, do we allow them to attend a class or two without us in attendance. We set the expectation and our children always deliver. Always!
Your children are doing the same.
Authoritative Parenting Tip
How do you change or raise expectations you ask?
It really depends on the age of your children and the amount of time that you have invested in your current parent child dynamic. If you are making the change with teenage children your journey towards new expectations should be a gradual, but it should also be quick. You have less time to help them achieve their greatness. Here are the basic steps for both older and younger kids. The only difference is the speed of implementation.
- First, you must get clear on what the new expectations will be.
- Everyone (Parents/Grand Parents/Guardians) must be clear on the goal.
- Expectations and consequences must be explained to the children before implementation.
- The new rules and consequences must be carried out as explained. (No editing until after implementation. Our kids are “The Great Debaters” but we get to be the great judge.)
- Loving words and actions must be shown in the in between moments as often as possible. (This is also key. Non-solicited you are really greats, I like how you dids and I am really proud of you at random times during the day are great confidence builders and will help your child reach the new expectations with ease.)
- *For teens sometimes current friends will ask them to push back against the new rules and expectations. Always remember that they are not your children, but your children are and they want to please you. Give them an out. Allow them (your children) to blame you for anything that frustrates or puzzles their friends. This was a HUGE gift for me as a kid. Anytime I had to follow the rules and my friends were choosing not to I would say. “Guys it’s my mom. She will kill me if I do _____. She has this new “thing” and she really freaks out when I …. I like you guys and I would also like to be able to hang out with you after today. If I do “this” she might actually kill me (chuckle) and if not, she would probably not let me hang out anymore. I’m gonna head out. See you guys tomorrow.” Being given permission from her to blame her made not getting in trouble a piece of cake.
Try it. You will be very surprised at the results.