Get rid of unrealistic expectations FOREVER!
Lekha was a little sad. Nothing her friend Rakhi did, was cheering her up. Rakhi attempted to crack a few PJs, Lekha responded with a faint smile. Rakhi tried to tickle her, Lekha just wriggled a bit but there was no cheering up. Rakhi recalled a couple of hilarious episodes from their college days, Lekha kept looking out of the window.
Exasperated, Rakhi gave up. “What’s up with you? Why are you so sad?” lamented Rakhi.
Lekha took almost an eternity before she turned towards Rakhi and said, ”Nothing I do seems to satisfy my husband. He is always finding faults and flaws me in. I cook to be the best of my capability and he still says, ‘this is not ok or why is this not that way’. I have tried to look at it positively. I have tried to convince myself - feedbacks are for your good - it is not working any more. I think something inside me has died. I do not even feel like getting up from my bed nowadays. Am I so useless Rekha? I cannot do one thing properly!” and she sobbed and sobbed.
This is what unrealistic expectations does! It breaks the other person. Instead of driving them up, it drives them DOWN.”
As a rule, unrealistic expectations can destroy any person or any relationship. The same rule applies when parenting your little ones. Unrealistic expectations can shatter the confidence of your child. Your child starts feeling, they are not good enough.
Parents who have very high expectations from their children tend to set unrealistic expectations. They do this without having proper communication with the child. Super ambitious parents tend to push their children a little too much. They want their children to be the best at what they do. In the process of pushing them, they end up setting unrealistic expectations.
Such children tend to grow up in some kind of a fortress. Physically, they may be free and pampered too. But, mentally and emotionally, sometimes socially, they are prisoners. Prisoners inside a fortress of ‘unrealistic expectations. These children are like birds inside a cage.
Expectations are essential, as they help us improve, break our comfort zones & evolve as human beings.
Unrealistic expectations, on the other hand, destroys a person. This is especially true in case of overly competitive parents who want their kids to be super achievers. You need to let the kid breath. Help kids make incremental changes.
For example, if your child scores 50 % marks, expecting her/him to score 75 % the very next time is unrealistic. Start with 55%, then 60% and slowly move to 75%.
Even if it takes a few years for the child to become good in studies, it’s okay. They will enjoy the process and grow as individuals.
You don’t want your child to watch TV or play on a mobile phone seems like a reasonable expectation, provided we regulate their usage of the same. If we are expecting them to completely give up watching television or using mobile phones then we are being unreasonable.
Extreme measures will not help you in achieving your objective of regulating their usage. Moderation in everything is key. Let them watch TV or play games for a mutually agreed upon duration of time. This way their usage can be moderated and your expectation get fullfilled.
Teach them discipline and adherence to timelines.
Your kid eats one chocolate every day but you don’t want him/her to touch another bar of chocolate from today. ‘This is a completely unrealistic expectation, as the child has been eating at least one chocolate every day. It is a complete change of a habit that is not possible overnight. Change is a process. It will happen in a due course of time.
Small changes at a time, like one chocolate in two days is more realistic to start with.
Here’s a small activity you can try, Look in a mirror and say, “If I was in my child’s shoes, would it be possible for me to do it?”. Don’t just say yes for the sake of it, mirror it with your life. Mirror it with your experiences. Take a moment and think.
It is great to have expectations. Expectation helps in the process of improvement of our child. Expectation helps in building stronger self-esteem as well. If you have unrealistic high expectations, where the child knows he/she will fail and disappoint others, it will shatter the child’s self-esteem. Your child will never want to try anything new as you have set the bar way too high.
The next time you set unrealistic expectations for your child, step into his/her shoes and see if you could have done it or not. That will give you all your answers.
‘Let’s learn to accept them before we start expecting from them’.
Happy Parenting to you!