Expectation: a belief that something will happen, or a feeling or belief about how successful, good, etc., someone or something will be (Merriam-Webster)
In last week’s blog post, we looked at how a few well thought-out and carefully phrased Family Rules can lessen arguments and powers struggles, and help our children learn right from wrong. Today, we will look at the concept of individual and family Expectations. Let’s begin by reading the definition of “Expectation” provided above from Merriam-Webster. Expectations are guidelines for growth and behavior, which set the bar a little above where parents currently view a child to be developmentally.
Developing good expectations is a higher level parenting skill. Well-thought out expectations set a framework for each child to encourage his or her intellectual and emotional development. They help young people successfully navigate life and learn how to make great choices based on the values and principles their family holds dear.
Here are a few examples of expectations for different age groupings of children. When our children are in the toddler through the upper elementary years, we expect them to gradually learn how to keep their voices down and stay in their seats and generally behave when dining at a restaurant. When our children enter the elementary and especially in the middle and high school years, most parents have an expectation that each child puts forth his or her best effort in school. For each school year, parents might expect their children to increase their abilities to participate in class discussions, keep up with studies, and prepare for and take tests. As our children enter young adulthood, most parents create opportunities for their sons and daughters to practice living independently and provide food and shelter for themselves.
As parents, one of our many duties is to help our sons and daughters grow to be the best they can be. Carefully crafted expectations, lovingly set at an appropriate developmental level, can motivate our children and give them something for which to strive.