The problem is that, as parents, we can set our expectations too low or too high! And, when we have kids with special medical needs, we can really have a hard time with this. Expectations that are set too high for a child's abilities can result in your child feeling like a failure. Expectations set too low conveys the attitude that you don't think your child can do it. Setting high but reasonable expectations is really an art form and is different for each child. Here are some tips:
· Know your child's personality, strengths and weaknesses. Build on your child's strengths.
· Periodically review child developmental charts so you are aware of what's typical for your child's age and stage of development.
· If you aren't sure if your child is keeping up with peers, ask teachers, coaches and other parents about how other children are performing in a particular area.
· Have a good understanding of "I can't" versus "I won't!" (From the book "Parenting Children with Health Issues" by Cline and Greene)
· Recognize that not every child is a star athlete or gifted academic. Help your child discover who he or she is, not what you want them to be. Help them find their joy and special gifts.
It’s easy for us parents to show negative expectations and not even be aware of it. Children who have special healthcare needs must have parents who vibrate out high expectations if they are going to grow to take good care of their bodies and respond in a healthy way to their medical conditions. Some negative expectations that are natural for parents to unknowingly express are: giving warnings, showing worry, being pessimistic, and showing disappointment without hope of improvement.
Positive expectations are shown in positive words, actions and attitudes, smiles, dreams, encouragement, faith and hope. Join us next week as we discuss the fifth, and final, Essential E: Encouragement.
Watch a video of Dr. Cline and Lisa Greene discussing Expectations.
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Please leave your comments below sharing your personal experiences following the Essential Expectations step or all Five Essential E's.
Foster W. Cline, MD is a child psychiatrist and co-founder of Love and Logic®. Lisa C. Greene is a parent educator and mom of two children with cystic fibrosis. Together they have written the award-winning book “Parenting Children with Health Issues." Visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com.
© Copyright by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene. All rights reserved.