Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Missing in Action

Don't send a boy to do a man's . . . er, a woman's job.

Don't expect the short people in your family to have the same attention to detail that you do.

We're traveling to Canada to a family reunion (my paternal grandfather was the youngest of thirteen children and the only one to move down to the States, so there are hundreds of my people across the border) and I have been a rather frantic version of my lovely self trying to get everything ready to go.

The children would prefer to watch TV or lounge on the couch with a book rather than help tidy up or fold a few clothes to get things moving along.

It doesn't help that I give a directive and then leave the room. I expect that if their eyes are on me that their ears are listening.

I also expect that if I give them an objective, like say, clean off the kitchen counter, that they'll actually do it.

Unrealistic expectations are death to a relationship. So I've notched down my expectations and am learning to help them along, to work with them rather than expect them to treat my objectives with the same fervor I have.

I'm going to run a three part series on Ten Ways to Love Your Child at Any Age. Here are the first two ways you can love your child:

• Lower Your Expectations – Unmet expectations lead to anger. Most parents find that the fast lane to frustration is finding that the kids didn’t clean their rooms, mow the yard, or get their homework done like they were asked to do. Unfortunately, children are hardwired toward foolishness (Prov. 22:15). But if you can expect the foolishness, you’ll bypass the frustration. You’ll find yourself instead in a wonderful position to teach, guide and lovingly correct your child.

• Hold Your Kids Accountable – But pick your battles wisely. Rather than correcting each mistake your child makes, focus on one or two areas that need improving. Strategize ways to teach and hold him accountable to the rules of your home. For example, if you want him to become more responsible in finishing his after-school chores, let him know he’ll be welcome to have dinner once his chores are completed. Your follow through on sticking with the consequences will help him the most.

More to follow . . .

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