Parenting

Do We Expect Too Much From Our Kids?

As parents, there’s definitely a certain amount of “do as I say, not as I do” that we get away with on a daily basis, and it’s a natural part of child rearing, to an extent. However, there are certain things that I’ve observed other people saying to their kids that absolutely baffle me. Obviously, I’m not advocating letting your children behave badly, but sometimes I think adults really do expect too much from their kids. More, in fact, than they’re even prepared to do themselves. Here’s just five of them.

1. Cheer Up

As adults, we aren’t expected to be permanently cheery and it’s accepted that everyone has a bad day. But for some reason, when it comes to kids, we expect them to be constantly¬†cheerful. I even hear people say to their kids “what have you got to be unhappy about?”. Sure, kids don’t have the stress of work or a mortgage on their plate, but they do have the stresses of learning and developing socially, as well as getting their little brains around day-to-day life. Everyone is entitled to an off-day, regardless of their age.

2. Stop Showing Off

It’s human nature to feed off of the rewarding feeling of other people’s praise or laughter. Kids will often exhibit behaviour that adults perceive as negative or “showing off”, but they’re simply soaking up the feedback they’re getting for their behaviour. As an adult, I guarantee YOU show off at times too, but you don’t have a larger adult around to belittle you for your behaviour. Everyone likes feedback. Full stop.

3. Be Nice

Kids are expected to be sweet and kind all the livelong day, and don’t get me wrong, these are great traits to instill in your babies, but are YOU nice all the time? Do you ever ring your bestie or your Mum to have a bitch about someone? Do you ever give major side-eye to the Mum in the school playground who’s dressed wildly inappropriately for the school run? If so, that’s YOU not being nice, and if you can’t do it, why should your child? Being unkind may not be a desirable trait but it is human nature.

4. Give Them a Cuddle

There was a fair bit of controversy around the article in The Guardian which said we shouldn’t be forcing our kids to hug grandparents, but I have to agree. As adults, if we don’t want to hug, kiss or shake hands with someone, we simply don’t; we’re afforded the agency over our own bodies and personal space to say no. Kids should also be afforded this right. If they don’t feel like being affectionate, we shouldn’t be forcing them to.

5. Eat What’s On Your Plate

I’m a firm believer that, if they like what is on their plate, kids will eat as much as they need and then stop. I know this doesn’t cover kids with food issues or extreme fussiness, but if a child has a good relationship with food, we should be allowing them to dictate when they’re full, rather than forcing them to overeat. Ultimately, this will ruin a child’s own sense of when they are full and lead to a poor relationship with food as an adult.

Do you have any more to add? Leave me a comment below.

3 thoughts on “Do We Expect Too Much From Our Kids?

  1. Wow I am so guilty of some of these and Oscar is only 7 months! Definitely the “cheer up” comment as he’s a big grump a lot of the time and although he may not fully understand yet, he will very soon. This has really made me think about the language I’m using around him Jayne, thank you! X

  2. You are a very wise lady, y’know that.
    The food one is especially important for me, I think some of my issues with food stem from the “clear your plate” teaching in my childhood. If I put food on my plate I feel I have to eat it all and have a really hard time leaving it.

    1. My Husband struggles similarly – he hates being wasteful and will clear his plate despite being full to avoid wasting anything. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained things from our childhood can be.

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