High Expectations | Giftie Etcetera: High Expectations

Friday, April 11, 2008

High Expectations

I have high expectations for Ander's behavior. I recognize that I probably have higher expectations than most parents. Honestly, I've taken a lot of criticism for it. People are always telling me that I cannot expect Ander to do [fill in the blank with whatever]. Of course I can. Eventually, he learns to do whatever it is. But it is amazing how many people think it's their business to tell me how I shouldn't expect certain things of my son that I know he can do. Honestly, I think parents who make excuses for their kids or don't raise their expectations regularly are doing a disservice to their children. (Although, unlike the rude people who tell me I expect too much, I don't tell the parents that. It's not my business or my place to do so. :/)

I use a combination of positive reinforcement, natural consequences, and timeouts to get Ander to a point where he can meet my high expectations.

This morning was a great example. Ander was in the living room, watching tv and playing while I got ready for work. His cereal was in a bowl on the table.

I expect him to eat in the kitchen. I expect him to do so, whether I am supervising or not. After about five minutes of getting dressed, I popped into the living room to check on Ander.

"Mommy, I made mess." Mmmm...yes you did. "I clean up." And Ander marched to the bedroom, picked up the hand vac, and brought it to the living room. I turned it on, and he cleaned up his own mess.

"Mommy, Ander eat in the kitchen."

Um, yes. That's why we have that rule. We don't like cereal in the carpet. D'uh.

And now, we don't watch tv if we bring food in the living room. Just ask my son. He'll tell you all about it.

See how, instead of lowering my expectations (as in, "he just doesn't have the self-control to not bring food in the living room"), I raised them ("I can trust him to not bring food in the living room, and set up consequences such as cleaning it himself and losing tv privilege until it's cleaned up")? I wish more parents would think this way and raise expectations for their own children.

When I am queen of the universe, I think I'll make high expectations a rule. ;)

Etcetera.

6 comments:

Mamaebeth said...

disclaimer** i want to comment but i can't figure out how to word it without it being all rude and a$$vicey... but of course i am going to comment anyway :)

i occasionally think your expectations are too high, developmentally, but since the consequences are natural and appropriate (like cleaning up a spill) the only downside that seems likely is constantly correcting your child, which you seem comfortable with.

however this example is not one in which i think you're expectations are too high; only eating in the kitchen is a rule that seems attainable for most 2 year old.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

I do not constantly "correct" my child. Most of the time that I spend with Ander is spent teaching and interacting with him, and very little is spent correcting him.

I'm not trying to change your perspective, but I just didn't want that statement hanging out there, unanswered, as I think it does not accurately describe my interactions with Ander AT ALL, and lots of people read this blog who don't see me on a daily basis and would not otherwise know that.

Mamaebeth said...

see, i can't write the comment so that it sounds the way i mean it. i litteraly re-wrote it like 20 times.

i don't think you are constantly correcting ander, but that is the only downside i can forsee to high expectations.

you are good at interacting with ander is a postive way that teaches him how to behave; so high expectations are not a problem for you...
but when you are queen of the universe you need to add appropriate interactions with children to your rules for other parents.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

"you are good at interacting with ander is a postive way that teaches him how to behave; so high expectations are not a problem for you...
but when you are queen of the universe you need to add appropriate interactions with children to your rules for other parents."

Much better way to say it. ;)

Anonymous said...

agreed. btdt, got the t-shirt.
and, ftr, I see a difference between "discipline" and "punishment"
The former is training, and ongoing.
The latter is a consequence, and situational.

Mathochist said...

I think you are on to something. I once read somewhere that children will live up to your expectations. If you expect them to misbehave, they will. If you expect them to be stupid, they will... No reason it shouldn't work in reverse, too. Although I have to admit some things you have expected of him seemed too early to me. But glad it's all working out. I expect K to eat in the kitchen, too, but she just can't seem to remember it. Or doesn't seem to care that she's breaking the rules. (Probably some of both.) S was/is so good about it.