Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expectations in parents

As I mentioned last week I have been thinking a lot about expectations and its effects on relationships. I have especially been thinking about the expectations among the parents and how that dynamic can influence the whole family unit. You know the expression "Happy wife, happy life?" I really think there is some truth to that. I think the woman sets the tone for the mood of the home. There is the other saying that says, "If momma ain't happy then no one's happy." Why is that? In my opinion it is because the woman serves a lot of roles in a family and so if she is feeling overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or taken advantage of then those emotions leak in to other dynamics of the home.

Often times the reason the mom is so stressed out isn't because dad isn't willing to help but is more because he doesn't know he's supposed to be helping! Think about it. How many of us who have kids now can honestly say that their dads helped their mom out all the time? Not many. The family dynamic has changed a ton over the past decade and dads are helping a lot more than they used to. My father was the bread winner and discipliner who occasionally took us camping or some other fun activity, but he was the ultimate head of the house. Rarely did my dad cook dinner or wash dishes. He never picked us up from school or took us to an extracurricular activity because he was working and that was mom's job. Dads weren't known for getting on the ground and playing Barbies with his daughters - that was almost unheard of. So of course it is harder for most men to stop and say, "Hey that basket of laundry needs to be folded" when they would rather throw their sons around or clean up the backyard.

As I have mentioned in previous posts we all bring something to the table in parenting and the biggest thing we bring is our expectations. I remember my mom used to wake up early every morning and pack my dad a lunch for work, so when my husband went through the police academy I felt like that was something I was "supposed" to do. So for a few days I got up early and packed him a lunch and sent him off and then went back to bed. Well I am NOT a morning person and after a few days I was tired and really didn't want to make him lunch and he told me he didn't need me to make his lunch, in fact he never expected me to in the first place and boy was I relieved because I wanted to sleep! That is why it is so important for you to talk about your expectations with each other, maybe you are stressing yourself out over something the other person doesn't even care about. Maybe they are resenting you because they expect you to do more. In order to be a good functioning couple I think you need to sit down with each other and really talk about each others expectations and see if you are on the same page or if you have completely different views!

So out of curiosity, what is one thing you expect from your partner and think every man/woman should do? For me I expect my husband to be completely involved in my child's life - meaning he helps put them to bed, he helps feed them, he helps change them, he picks them up from school, he volunteers at school, he goes to all of their performances and games, etc. He is not just to be a sperm donor or discipliner but a parent! (which he is an amazing parent and sometimes my kids prefer him over me)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It seems like everyone I am close to and talk to pretty frequently is having struggles in their marriage or with their kids, including me and my spouse. I have mentioned in previous posts that we grew apart and now we are trying to rebuild and reconnect and it is easier said than done. There are a LOT of conversations about our situation and why we are where we are, how to improve and what is bugging us right now. As I have been thinking a lot about myself, my relationship with my spouse, my kids, and my friends I have realized that there is a recurring theme over and over again in my thoughts and that is, what do I expect from them and from myself in those relationships.

My husband is a great guy and very helpful . . . on things he thinks needs to be done. For example, one day there were literally about 8 baskets of washed laundry that needed to be folded and put away and it was obvious that I was pretty stressed out and trying to get a lot done and when my husband woke up that day instead of saying, "Hey I can see you have been working hard all day so let me fold this laundry for you" he went outside and spent an hour cleaning up the backyard, taking care of the dogs, and sweeping the pool that we are no longer able to swim in because it is too cold. He then had to rush to get ready for work and eat dinner and then left for work leaving me with those 8 baskets of laundry, plus the dishes from dinner, plus the responsibility of making dinner, and taking care of our four children and well you get the idea. The main problem was not so much that he left the laundry unfolded, it was that I expected him to help around the house but didn't vocalize that expectation and therefore he was unable to meet that expectation.

Let's apply this to kids. How often do you expect your children to behave well at the store only to get there and have them try escaping you, scream when they don't get what they want, knock things off the shelf, etc. Or do you expect them to come home from a long day of school and immediately sit down at the table and work on another hour of homework only to have them come home and fight you every step of the way.

The problem is not the behavior of the people in our lives the problem is our expectations and the way we are expressing them. Sometimes we expect too much from people, other times we expect too little. So how do you set the right expectation? The main thing is to look at the individual and their own special circumstances. Is it reasonable to expect a two year old to share his toys with other two year olds? NO, two year olds do not share! You can help them to share, you can involve yourself in their play to ensure they share with others but to expect them to immediately be o.k. with sharing with another kid is setting yourself up for disappointment. If you are aware of the fact that two year old don't share, or that a fourteen year old believes they know everything about life and you know nothing, then when they behave in that manner you aren't disappointed or frustrated (well maybe a little frustrated) but instead you can focus on ways to help them be the best two yr old or fourteen yr old or even 50 yr old they can be. Now this is going to go against what I just said, BUT, it is important to set expectations high so people can stretch and grow to reach that expectation, but you also have to find what you are o.k. with until they reach your expectation. For example, I expect my children to grow up to become well behaved, smart, respectful adults and therefore I am going to teach them how to become that but am not going to become upset or disappointed when my child behaves like a normal 6 yr old, 5 yr old or 2 yr old. Does that make sense?

The other thing you do not want to do is set your expectations too low - because wherever you set your expectations people will meet them (as long as they are reasonable and they know what those expectations are). If you expect your child to disobey you then they will. If you expect your children to be lazy then they will be. If you expect your husband to act like your father then he will. If you expect your friends to take advantage of you then they will. Whatever you expectations you set people will meet them!

I encourage you to really think about and write down what you expect from the people in your life, especially from those who seem to be disappointing you the most. Are your expectations reasonable? Are they attainable for the person you expect it from? Have you expressed these expectations to those people and discussed them with each other? If not, do it! There are so many more things I can post about expectations so keep an eye out for more on this subject!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

make your own lunchable

I recently started watching my friends two kids while she finishes up her masters degree. Every time she brings her kids over she also brings a lunch for her kids. Today she packed a lunchtime and when I pulled it out for lunch O went nuts because he wanted one. We don't have any on hand and I almost made him something else, but then I thought hey I can make my own! So I pulled out my turkey lunch meat, and my cheese slices and a little flower cookie cutter and cut out flowers of the meat and cheese. It made quite a bit of flowers, then I put them on a plate with some Ritz crackers and ta da everyone has a lunchable!
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