Have you ever wondered if you were being too tough or too easy on your child? It’s a very common problem with parents. How do you push without being pushy? How do you know when to take charge and when to back off? These are not easy answers but after reading this article; you should feel more confident in what you are doing while understanding when to make adjustments.
The first thing I have done while working with any child is to get an idea of where they are with what I want to teach. This works for behaviors, athletics, and academics. Once I have a finger on the pulse; I make mini goals/expectations just to see if I am correct with my assessments. For example, I am a coach for my 4 year olds basketball team. Before the season began though, I wanted my child to have a grasp of what a practice will be like. Therefore, we would go outside and practice dribbling and shooting. At this time, we have advanced a step because he has accomplished the first two steps. Therefore, I am now encouraging him to move with the ball then shoot.
Allow me to change gears and apply these same standards to academics. I have an 8 year old who has a great academic mind. If I were to compare where he is next to the set standards of the school for his grade level, he would be so far ahead, there would not be a need for me to work with him for the next year and a half. But, I don’t let others dictate where my child should be exclusively. Instead, I keep my finger on the pulse and continue to build where his mind will let me. You should draw a correlation between my 4 year old with basketball and 8 year old with academics. In both cases, I assessed where they were and built them from there.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of taking my approach is that I don’t get flustered when things aren’t going well. For example, a general concern started to build with my second child because he was a late walker at 17 months. (Technically, the standard for walking is 18 months but many families have children who walk earlier). With encouragement and time, he accomplished the skill.
While I was an elementary school teacher, life was especially hard for some children and teachers because of the pressure that was placed upon them to accomplish certain skills at designated times. The truth is children have strengths and weaknesses. They aren’t computers who run properly once the latest/greatest program is inserted. They don’t learn to read, understand math concepts, or mature at the same time.
I took a different approach with children in my classroom. I assessed where they were in given subjects, did my best to teach the standards but really focused on building individuals. It was a lot of extra work on my part but well worth it.
My only caution for parents in setting expectations is to watch comparing your child to others. Some children take longer in developing a skill and that’s fine. Others are already ahead in certain skill sets. Instead of comparing your child to others and resting on your laurels; encourage the child to continue shooting for the stars.
More about setting goals and meeting expectations can be found in my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. Feel free to leave your email address and never miss a post. I also am actively involved in Facebook and Twitter as well. I’ll have another post ready for you next Friday. Until then, have a great time raising your child!