This is something my husband and I are learning as we parent our three young children.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have values and expectations for our children. More-so, to be careful with the expectations that you do have for your children. Truly consider the consequences of that expectation.
Will the expectation hurt you?
Or more so, will the expectation hinder your child?
An example of this, is my cute first grade son and his reading.
He has been learning how to read since pre-school (it was interrupted by the pandemic).
My husband and I love to read, and always excelled in reading.
This is not the case for my son.
He is a very bright and intelligent boy. As a mom I see he has such an incredible memory, and he has such amazing critical thinking skills.
But currently, reading has been a challenge for him.
Reading is a frustration for him because it’s hard.
He dreads reading.
We read with him every night, but it’s hard for all of us at times.
We have noticed some improvement, even though it’s small, and I am learning to focus on that.
I realize that me setting a high expectation for his reading, is helping no one.
Instead, I realize I need to praise him for trying every time, because it is hard for him and yet he’s learning to do hard things.
And I am learning to focus on his small improvements. Because those small improvements, over time, add up to be big improvements.
My son is our oldest and we are constantly learning how to “parent,” with him.
I feel bad that my son has felt my stress when it comes to reading…and I don’t want that for him or any of my kids.
So from now on, I want him to keep reading, keep trying, but I don’t want to set an expectation that is untouchable for him at this point.
I see his many talents, which are art, sports, being a good friend, working hard , math and so many more.
Reading will come, I know it will. In the mean time, my parenting advice to myself is to “encourage and support, but don’t set a high expectation that pushes him and me into a frustrating and unreachable zone.”
I don’t know how my other kids will do with reading.
But I can tell you that I will remind myself to do the same with my girls; encourage and support, and focus on all the improvements.
Parenting is an amazing journey, but it also can be difficult from time to time. We are all learning and growing together in this fun adventure we call parenthood.
I had a moment this morning with my little girl, that made me reflect on parenting.
Rewind a bit.
I am reading Brene Browns book “Daring Greatly” and I love it and highly recommend it.
If you haven’t read this book, it goes into detail about “Shame” and how detrimental “shame” is for many people.
Keeping that in mind…..
I was reading about SHAME last night and I was pondering many moments of parenting in which I was worried I had “shamed” my kids in detrimental ways.
One specific concern is with my 4 year old daughter who HATES to go to the bathroom.
Yes, she has been potty trained for over a year, but she is not a fan of going to the bathroom.
I usually have to bribe her, or walk her into the bathroom, she just doesn’t do it very willingly or independently, and it has definitely tested my patience.
Well, this morning I had asked her my normal half a dozen times to go to the bathroom.
She hadn’t gone yet, and when it hit emergency mode she needed my help because she was wearing a long nightgown that she needed me to hold.
This cute little 4 year old was right in front of the toilet but she didn’t make it.
I sat there holding her nightgown up as she went to the bathroom all over my master bathroom floor…(palm to face).
Without thinking, I started to scream for a minute and as soon as I did my cute little 4 year old started saying “sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!!”
I immediately gathered my emotions together.
I stopped yelling and freaking out.
On the inside I was very frustrated but I knew that I had TWO choices.
As a parent I could “shame” her and make her feel terrible and guilty even though she already knew she had made a mistake.
I could be patient, make this little incident a teaching moment, and move on…because the reality is, she’s only 4 years old and bless her heart she’s trying.
Was is easy to stop myself from getting boiling mad and upset?!
No. You’re talking to the germaphobe here so cleaning up toilet issues is not my thing.
However, I love my sweet girl.
She is learning everyday, and guess what, so am I.
As a mother, I make my mistakes too and I can’t expect my young, sweet 4 year old to do everything perfectly.
It’s hard to not REACT, somehow that’s what I usually turn to.
However, I am learning if we choose LOVE over all the other options, things will be better.
Yes I have probably scarred my kids in some ways already.
No parent is perfect.
Parenting is truly a moment-to-moment basis…where if we can just react with love through all the moments, our kids will know that we love them, despite some of the mistakes they make along the way.
I truly believe I was meant to read about “Shame” last night so that I could handle this mornings situation better than normal.
Will I make mistakes as I continue on the parenting journey?
Sure, it’s natural.
And yet, as long as our focus is love, and if we are truly trying to “not-scar” our children, things will work out.
We can’t “Re-do” all our parenting moments.
And yet, we can sure a lot from each moment with our kids. And we can try to do better with each situation that comes.
Moral of the story?
Treat your kids with love and respect despite their weaknesses. Discipline them when necessary, but as long as our kids know that we love them know matter what, our kids will feel safe, happy and will grow.
Parenting is a beautiful, hard, amazing and difficult job all wrapped in one, and oh how blessed we are to have our beautiful children in our lives.
Did you know I taught school for seven years before I had my kids?
I taught seventh grade history and eight grade health…and I loved it!
Switch gears to having my own kids, I have found that doing homework with your own kids, is similar to teaching in the classroom.
Here are some tips that may help you out at home.
Be near them but don’t hover. Kids need their freedom to do work on their own. I always stay in the same room, and help my child understand the concept, however, when my child gets to work on their homework I don’t stand over them the entire time –so that my child feels that they are able to accomplish on their own.
Praise, Praise, and Praise. Even if your child does something wrong on their homework assignment, correct them, but correct tactfully and find something to praise them with. Such as “we need to re-do this, but your handwriting looks great there.” It’s amazing how much confidence or lack of confidence comes from school work and when we stay positive with the childs learning abilities, it not only motivates the child to work harder, but it reminds them that even if they make a mistake they are capable, intelligent people.
Be willing to give your child breaks while working on homework. We all know it’s idea to sit down and get an assignment completed. However, for some kids, having breaks while doing homework keeps a positive environment. Yes it takes a bit more patience for the parents, but if the child benefits from breaks, give them some time to complete the assignment.
-Make a point to stay near the child that’s doing homework, and yet work on something yourself. Again, it’s hard not to hover .. and it’s good to keep them on track … but if they can see that you are THERE and PRESENT if they need help that’s great. Even more, if they see that you are cooking or writing in your journal close by… this might create an opportunity for your child to work to solve homework problems in their own .. which is a great thing. As the parent, stay productive yourself while the child is working on homework close by you.
–Put away the phones : Parents and the child doing homework should have their phones’ sound turned off and the phones should be away from the parent and child so as to not cause major distractions.
–Serve up some snacks. Sometimes it’s a bit more enjoyable to get through homework with some snacks to munch on. These snacks shouldn’t be sugary and unhealthy treats.. but more so, some food that’s healthy and tasty to the child.
-Be consistent with setting a homework routine. Kids crave routines and truly work extremely better when there is an expected routine in place. Find a designated time and area of the house to do homework and be as consistent as possible.
-Have your child teach you. As a former teacher myself, I found that I learned more from teaching than I ever did in college. Why? Because when you teach a topic or subject you truly have to know and understand the topic and be an expert in that area. Having your child teach you—the parent, a concept they have learned can be a positive way to enhance the child’s confidence. Also, having the child teach the parent can help the child understand topics and subjects at a much deeper level.
-Make homework fun! Now I’m not saying you have to blast music, but as the parent, have a smile on your phase, make sure your tone of voice is positive and cheerful. Most of all, if we as parents are encouraging and positive .. your child can enjoy their time doing homework, versus dreading homework time. Attitude is everything when it comes to homework.
Let’s be honest, there is A LOT that I don’t know about parenting.
Even when three young kids, somedays I roam the parenting life oblivious to what I should be doing.
However, I always remind myself that the things I DO KNOW about parenting, help me get through all that I don’t know.
So let’s start with what I don’t know about parenting.
What I don’t know about parenting is how to get all of my kids to sleep through the night, in their beds, period. We have tried the books and the help and we still end up with one…sometimes two kids in our bed.
Our kids are young…5 years, 3 years, and 1 year old.
We had a big earthquake here back in March and I can honestly say my three year old daughter has never slept the same since then.
So I admit, I don’t know how to get my kids to sleep well through the night.
I also don’t know how to deal with the different emotions and personalities that each child has.
All three of my kids are very different from each other, and they respond to discipline, love, and all things differently.
It’s a learning curve, maybe one day I will figure it out, but not right now.
What I don’t know about parenting is how to get my kids to eat every meal without a fight, or without having to fix a separate side meal for some of my kids.
I have picky eaters, and I don’t know how to make them like certain foods.
Is it possible to make kids like certain foods?
I don’t know that.
What I don’t know about parenting is how to make sure I am meeting all of my children’s emotional needs.
There is no sign or signal that let’s us know if we are helping our children emotionally to the capacity that they each need. Is it possible to know that?
What I don’t know about parenting is how to be a kind, patient mom when trying to get kids packed into the van to get to school on time.
I am sure some parents have this figured out, but I don’t. I can bribe kids…that way I am not raising my voice as much, but I’m not sure that quite counts?
What I don’t know about parenting is …a continual thing.
What I DO KNOW about parenting is that the love a parent has for a child is indescribable.
And if we as parents can transfer that LOVE into every interaction we have with our kids….
Then we have EVERY part of parenting figured out.
We won’t have all the answers … raising children takes me to my knees a lot, asking Heavenly Father what I can do to be a better parent.
And what I feel from Heavenly Father is LOVE— and that is always the answer.
Love your kids through everything.
Love them through the tantrums and the heartache.
Love your kids through successes and honors…
If we love our kids through every decision and every move they make … they will FEEL that love in their hearts.
I felt it from mine.
That love will carry your children through all the pain and all the happiness.
So when it’s hard to know just how to discipline or work through a disagreement with your child.. stop and think of how your actions show love?
Love will change the world, one child at a time.
It starts with how we parent. When we parent with LOVE as the goal everyday… our children will benefit through indescribable ways.
That’s the only thing I know about parenting …that loving our kids through thick and thin is the key.
And guess what?
As long as that’s all we know… To love our children unconditionally … it all works out in the end.