Expectations on kids

Do adults place unrealistic expectations on kids?

Grown ups are funny creatures. We tend to forget that we were all kids once and forget how the world looks through the eyes of a child. Adult place so many unrealistic expectations on kids and are then frustrated when kids act like, well..kids!

I have been a mom for a few years now. I am guilty of expecting my daughter to act like a lady, when in fact she is more similar to a feral cat than to a lady. As time has passed by, I learned to accept her fidgety behavior, her clumsiness and the chaos in my house.

Another problem I encountered were random people expecting my daughter to act like a well behaved grown up. Depending on how rude they are, I want to tell them to **** off and mind their own business. But as the polite lady I am (just kidding, I am not that polite and not that much of a  lady), I joke that she is born a fidget, it’s how she is and go on with my life. Most of these people mean no harm and were probably raised with the premise that kids should obey adults, so I get that. That is why I am writing this blog post, to raise a bit awareness :)) and remind parents that all the craziness they deal with on everyday basis, is just normal. As the saying goes: “A characteristic of a normal child is that they rarely act normal.”

Unrealistic expectations on kids
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1. Cleanliness

Kids are almost never ever clean. Dress them up for a special occasion and they somehow manage to destroy the outfit in a matter of minutes. Even babies sense when you dress them nicely and than go and make the biggest explosion in their diaper. So relieve the pressure from your kids, and from yourself as well. Real kids don’t look like commercial kids. Or Instagram kid models. No offense to Instagram kid models, I wish I dressed as nicely as they do.

2. Tidiness and order

My daughter started to pick up her toys lately. Being the obsessive maniac I am, the way she does it bothers me. The trains and cars don’t go in your play kitchen lady!
One day I overheard her playing and found out she has a totally different logic regarding her toys. She is very strict about it in fact. I realized that it’s not fair to enforce “my way” of keeping the toys organized. At one point you should be happy if there are no legos to step on while walking to the toilet. Kids are not very organized by nature. At least not organized by adult standards. They should not be expected to be. They should be taught to pick up after them, but remember, it’s a process.

3. Sleeping through the night

Babies, toddlers and even bigger kids are expected to sleep through the night. At least their moms wish they would. It’s also what “well-meaning” strangers suggest at gatherings when they have nothing else to say. But kids need to be developmentally ready to sleep through the night. For some kids it happens earlier, and for some it happens few years into their lives. They should not be reprimanded for this. Bear with them, as nights can be scary for them. And remember, eventually they will sleep through the night. You will probably have huge bags under your eyes by then, but that’s a parents’ trademark ;).

4. Handling emotions in a socially acceptable manner

Why?? I am 30 and I don’t handle my emotions really well. Just ask my husband! I am sure he will confirm that with tremble in his voice. A kid that wants gummy bears in the store may, for all we know, feel that the world is ending if he doesn’t get said gummy bears. Oh, and sharing? Some people don’t like sharing. Why for the love of God kids have to share their toys with some kid they have just met? Of course they are gonna end up frustrated. Throwing a fit and laying on the street for a reason only understandable to your toddler? Yeah, pretty normal. So please do not shame your kids for not being able to handle themselves. They will when they are ready. Help them in the process and have patience.

5. Eating habits

My daughter gladly picks up a bite she dropped on the floor. Or on the street even. I fight it and I do get strange looks from other moms on the playground. She eats with her hands and won’t sit through a meal in a restaurant. I completely let her do as she wishes as long as she is not loading up on sugars. I try to respect her feelings and preferences regarding food, since I have personal traumas from being “forced” to eat cabbage :)). Babies want to play with their food as it is their way of learning about the whole feeding process. A little bit of mess is to be expected. They will spill things on daily basis. Lower your expectations, arm yourself with wet wipes and just enjoy watching them all covered in yogurt. They will not make the same mess when they are twenty, I promise. Or you can hope they won’t, but they will probably be out of your house by then.

So what can we expect from our kids? So far I learned that I can expect my daughter to surprise me with a mess in the bathroom. Or by throwing a plate of rice all over the room. Taking out all her clothes and making them rain in her room… You are probably guessing where this is all leading by now.

Oh another thing! Kids eat their boogers. You can expect that as well. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

All jokes aside. Kids should be allowed to be kids and enjoy their childhood. They have their whole lives to cope with society’s pressures upon them regarding what is considered “normal behavior”. They are only small for some time. Enjoy that time as you will miss it when they get bigger.

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  1. July 15, 2017

    The best thing we can all do as mothers is quit playing the comparison game which leads us to the unrealistic expectations. Great advice that I’m sharing on Twitter!

  2. July 16, 2017

    Don’t forget to be a good example for your child. She can’t copy what isn’t modeled for her. Part of your job is to teach her acceptable behavior. (See #4.)

  3. July 18, 2017

    My husband and I were just talking about this. Sometimes we feel like we ask too much of our 6yo because, compared to our 18mo, she seems so much older. It’s always good to take a time out and realize they’re just kids.

  4. July 18, 2017

    This was spot on thank you! No need to rush things because it already goes so fast. Like you said, let them be kids. Go be dorky with them 🙂

  5. July 20, 2017

    I have to remind myself to not be unrealistic sometimes. Kids need room to be kids.

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