As a parent, do you sometimes wonder why do your children perform differently, despite you treating and loving them the same way?
That’s actually to be expected because not every child is created the same. In fact, there are even some families which may even have to deal with a child with physical or mental disability. As such, it’s unfair if you expect every child in your family to perform the same way.
So what should you do?
It’s possible to adjust your expectations for every individual child in your family, but you’ll have to put in effort to make the change.
Understanding each child
When you’re trying to understand each child, regardless of whether your own, adopted, or step-children, it’s extremely important not to compare one child against another. It’s also vital that you don’t try to fit them into a pre-defined mold that you’ve set for them.
You’ve to first accept that every child on this planet is different. There’re no two kids who will ever be exactly alike when it comes to things like thoughts and achievements. Even twins have their difference.
This year, my twins will be having an important examinations which will determine the secondary school they’ll be posted to at the end of the year. At their mid-year examinations, they did not perform as well as I had expected them and I was very upset. I was unable to accept that as a teacher, I was unable to get them to Ace their subjects.
I tried to give them more revisions and planned a very tight schedule for them during the term break but then I realized that both of them became very stressed up. They’ve lost the cheerful laughter and my daughter was even tearing up while doing the extra practices. That was when I realized that having a pair of happy children is more important to me than seeing distinctions in their result slips.
I had forgotten that not every child is the same and I need to adjust my expectations for them, I should not compare them to the pupils I’ve been teaching. I’ve also forgotten the importance of being grateful for having a set of happy, healthy children. I would never trade anything for their happy faces.
So it’s important to take the time necessary to really think about each of your children. Forget what their friends are doing, forget what you’ve heard online or on TV, and forget about what your spouse or partner says about them.
You can start by asking yourself questions such as:
* What are my child’s needs?
* What is my child’s basic temperament?
* Where is my child at with regards to development?
* What are my child’s accomplishments?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can then start to zero in on your possible expectations.
Discovering possible uneven development
Every child develops at a different rate. So, you don’t have to start panicking when you discover that one of your children is a bit behind his or her peers. In the vast majority of cases, these kids will catch up over time. He or she may just need a little more time than other kids.
At this point, you might want to schedule a meeting with each of your child’s teachers. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help your child with any delays he or she might be experiencing. However, you must be willing to work with the school on helping your child overcome any developmental issues he or she may be experiencing.
Over my years of teaching, I’ve met many parents who’ll go into denial when they learn that they children have special needs and refused to put their children through the special training. In the long run, it’ll only affects the child’s self-esteem as he/she is unable to catch up with the rest of the class.
Adjusting to Different Levels
Assessing each of your children’s “reasonable behavior” also means taking his or her capabilities into account. For instance, if one of your children happens to be afraid of heights, you may want to drive to your next vacation destination instead of flying. Don’t just automatically expect that child to get on an airplane and tolerate a long flight with no problem at all.
In this case, you may also have to explain to the rest of the family on the decision to drive instead of flying. Managing the expectations of the rest of the family is also very important. You can also take this opportunity to teach all your children to be empathetic towards others.
Always be tolerant of other people’s views when adjusting your expectations of family members. It’s not uncommon for your child’s other parent or adult relative to question your expectations. If you disagree, sit down with that person and ask them why they feel as they do. Very often, coming to an agreement is easier than you think.
The adjustment typically takes some time, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. But, with due diligence and perseverance, you’ll accomplish the task before you know it and it’ll all be worthwhile. You and your children will be happier when you’re able to adjust your expectations as you’ll be less frustrated when they’re unable to fulfill what you want.