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On Our Expectations

I love this concept from Fran Liberatore at @bigmothering. She had a fantastic series on her stories the other day (she often does, highly recommend her account) about the fact that we as parents are expected to have extremely high expectations of our kids, as if it’s our expectations that motivate kids to learn, to “perform,” and to do their best.

She calls this BS, and for good reason.

Kids don’t need our own high expectations put onto them. They are fully capable of doing their best, of learning and growing and meeting their milestones, without our intervention at all! They do these things because their brain is wired to grow and learn all on its own. And our world is such an amazing place, they find everything they need to do so in the natural environment.

(And if we notice they’re having issues with this, we can find support to meet their needs in a therapeutic sense)

High expectations on the part of the parents also leads to increased mom guilt, increased shame when things don’t go as expected, and lots and lots of anxiety when kids don’t meet the expectations we imagine, particularly when those expectations come from the comparison trap of social media.

And most of us don’t have degrees in childhood development, so how are we setting these expectations anyway?


So is there some middle ground where we can set the bar high for our kids, without imposing unrealistic expectations, and the pressure to meet them? Absolutely. But I think the ultimate message is that your kids will typically get there regardless as long as we give them the space, time, and experience to do so.

So breathe a sigh of relief.

They’ve got this.




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