What Kids Need: Expectations

The human psyche default, without any guidelines or expectations, is generally to the negative.  We must have some general guidelines that we provide as parents to our kids to avoid ending up in a sticky mess like this photo.  I don’t know if parents get tired, or they feel like they can’t do it all, or they think their kids are excellent and they can survive and develop on auto-pilot.  It may be all of the above, but keep going.  I am here today to encourage you to develop some personal standards by which others can recognize your kids.  They stand for a specific type of behavior, and they avoid certain types of lower non-productive conversations.  People know they are you, kids because they know what is expected of them and when confronted with those decisive moments, they avoid making mistakes that they will regret.

So often, I would hear parents say that kids don’t want the discipline and expectations make of them.  That isn’t true.  Once you work with kids, as I have for many years, you realize that they do want structure and expectations, and they like things to be fair.  The only way that things can be OK is to set some standards for expectations.  These can include grades, effort, involvement in sports, music, the arts, or just necessary behavior and treatment of others.  Regularly take time to review the standards with kids and make sure they are supportive of them, that they know why they are essential.

Sit and talk with your kids about their interpretations of the rules that you want them to follow.  Be willing to give a little and let them give their analysis, then try it with them.  If it doesn’t work, sit with them calmly and discuss it, why it didn’t work and how to modify it.  When kids know the expectations for them as individuals, they will deliver, but it takes time and effort.  As parents, you can’t give up, and at times the household will be disrupted because of a rule or standard.

I challenge you this weekend to sit with your kids and discuss some basic guidelines for behavior, for address adults, for dress and conduct in public when you’re not around and see what they can decide.  You may find that they have higher standards than you would have presented.  Enjoy the process, and as they grow and develop, you will notice that they have a certain glow about them when they are with others because of your efforts.  It is well worth it.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich