There are so many things that I love about school holidays but after six weeks with all six of us crammed into our little house things are a getting little fractious.
We’ve all enjoyed being a little (or a lot) lazy but lately it feels as thought we’ve let things slide almost to the point of insanity. Late nights, early mornings, too much TV, tantrums, crappy food, shouting…
It’s clearly time to get back on track and I’ve been thinking about the expectations we have of our kids, and for our family as a whole.
Are they too high? Too low?
Do I ask them to do too much or too little to help around the home?
Is the behavior I expect from them appropriate for their age and stage of development?
Are they really old enough to stop whining?
Are they actually capable of keeping their room under control?
Do I expect more of the boys because they have their older sisters to live up to?
Are my expectations in line with what I really want for my family?
The answer to all those questions is…
Most of the time I just don’t know.
Usually I take a wild stab in the dark and wait and see if things come crashing down around me or not. Not exactly the most enlightened way to parent huh?
But I’ve been thinking about it lately and really it’s hard to know exactly where my kids are at, what they are ready for, or what they could achieve if given the chance. I want to challenge them, to encourage them to be all they can be and do all they can do, but I don’t want to force them into things they are not ready for, that just makes everyone miserable.
So I’ve come up with an idea that just might answer my question…
Expect a little more… Accept a little less.
If I expect a little more than I might normally, I give my children the chance to shine, to try new things and grow and develop. At the same time, if I am happy to accept a little less then I am creating an environment where it is ok to ask for help, it’s ok to have a bad patch, to work on a skill at your own pace or make a mistake.
It doesn’t mean that I raise the bar way too high, or that I let them get away with murder… it’s just a way to hedge my bets a little, to let them walk the high wire with a safe place to fall onto.