Tuesday, May 13, 2014

On Rough Days: lower expectations

We had a rough start this morning. I was frustrated with my kids (namely the boy) by 9:00 am (probably even a little earlier). Things didn't get better as the day went on.

I just don't know how to teach him to keep his hands to himself. Can kids be taught that? Surely they can. Who knows?

The day just kept escalating and good behavior only came after a rather hard swat on the bum. Yes, I'm admitting it; I spanked my child. And it wasn't a soft landing. That ought to teach him to keep his hands to himself, huh?

Oh fail.

This past Sunday, during our Mother's Day lesson at Church, one of the moms talked about lowering our expectations. There were many good bits of advice, but I think that was the one I needed most. I don't feel like I have over the top expectations. I don't care that he counts 1-2-3-4-5-6-11-12 -- the confusion makes sense. I have never tried to get him to spell his own name. Maybe he can -- I don't care; he's only three, he'll have plenty of time to learn it. Yet, I expect him to stop a certain behavior the moment I say "stop." I expect him not to repeat previous mistakes, especially when I threaten "If you do that again you are going to your room ." These are the expectations I hold that are probably too high. He needs to know I do expect him to respond correctly, but I need to prepare myself for the opposite response. 

I taught 8th graders who couldn't live up to the kinds of behavior expectations I have for Reid, and while I certainly hope Reid will not be that kind of 8th grader, should I really be so shocked he's that kind of preschooler? Do I really want to scare him into listening to me the first time? I suppose that is the worst part though, after I spanked him he actually spent the rest of the day being kind and attentive. Sure he cried and needed lots of hugs, but once he rebounded his behavior was so much better!

Parenting is rough and I am certain there is something I could have done to avoid a day like today (which really wasn't all bad ... I'm just reflecting on the learning moment of that spank). But in the future, I hope to remember to lower my own expectations. When I say "don't throw one more thing" I really should expect him to throw one more thing. Then I'll just calmly take him to his room for a time out, followed by a reminder of our rules and some questions on why we have them. But when I expect him to listen to and obey everything I say, I get upset when he doesn't. He's three -- I should know he will never listen to and obey everything I say.

Deep breathe. Lower expectations. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...