I’ve heard myself saying it over and over when I talk to other people about my thoughts on parenting. Before I tell you my one key to parenting that works for me, I have to say a disclaimer. I am not a parenting expert, in fact, I have one child at home, not 3 or 5 or 10, and I also know that what works for one may not work for the others. However, I find this one key to be effective for many other things in life, not just parenting, so I’m assuming that 99% of the time it’s going to work.
Here’s the one key to parenting you MUST know:
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
I’m serious. And when you think they aren’t low enough, you should lower them even more.
If you aren’t expecting anything, you can’t be disappointed, AND when something great does happen, you’ll be surprised and excited.
Here’s an example:
Holtan is 2.5 years old. I had an opportunity about a month ago to spend an entire week with him, because I didn’t have any day care help. I decided we would try potty training since we were going to be home, but also decided that I would have no expectations of how it would turn out. (this is different than setting expectations such as “we do not pee on the couch” or “we don’t poop outside”)
After a week of going naked, he caught on, and now I would say he is fully potty trained, even at night. I know it’s because there wasn’t pressure, I wasn’t worked up about it, so he wasn’t either. He surprised all of us with how quickly he picked up on it, but I do believe keeping things positive during the whole process was key, and not having expectations of how it will turn out.
I find this to be true in other areas of my life too. In my adult friendships, the less expectations I have of others, the better the friendship. I mean sure, I expect that my friends listen to me, care about me, and treat me nicely. But if I reach out to my friend to go for a walk, or grab coffee, and they can’t, I don’t get disappointed. I don’t have expectations that they MUST make time for me. While I hope that they do, I understand that everyone is busy, they have their own lives and kids, and they are doing their best to fit everything in. The lower expectations that I have, the better the friendship.
This seems a bit of a pessimistic way to approach things, but actually, I consider myself to be a pretty optimistic person. I just know that the only person I can control in this world is me, my reactions, and how I deal with things, so having lower expectations of those around me makes me much happier.
Do you have high expectations of those around you? Or do you keep them low?