Nov. 20, 2019

Meeting Our Kids Where They Are

Sometimes our kids are a little behind on meeting their milestones. Sometimes they’ll never reach those milestones at all. How do we let go of “should be”? How do we meet our kids where they are, while still holding expectations that help them grow?

It's hard not to be a little nervous when your kid is the only one still crying at preschool dropoff. Or the only one still spelling everything wrong in third grade. Sometimes it turns out to be a late bloomer situation, nothing to worry about. Sometimes it's an early indicator of something your kid might struggle with for a long time.

How do we move beyond our own stress about what our kids are and aren't doing like the rest of the bunch? How do we adjust our demands to meet what our kids are actually capable of? How do we set our parental expectations so that our kids will be motivated to try harder without feeling bad about themselves?

It's a tricky balance, best summed up by parent coach Sarah Wayland:

"If we never had expectations that were beyond our children’s current abilities, we wouldn’t teach them anything.... But I’m at my absolute worst as a parent when my expectations are far beyond my kids’ abilities."

Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:

Joanna Faber: Manage Your Expectations, Not Your Child

Terri Mauro for Very Well Family: Backward Chaining for Special-Needs Children

Dr. Sarah C. Wayland for Guiding Exceptional Parents: Meet Your Kids Where They Are

Elaine Taylor-Klaus for Impact ADHD: Shift Your Expectations to Manage Complex Kids

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