I’ve always expected a lot out of my kids. They don’t need to be perfect, but I want them to grow up into respectful, humble, successful people. I feel like setting the bar high will give them big goals to shoot for and will help them realize that they can do anything they desire as long as they have passion and work as hard as they can. But I’ve found that these grandiose plans I have for their future lives also start creeping into their little preschool lives as well. I start having “expectations” for my three year old triplets. I hear myself saying, “He’s almost four years old, he should be able to put on his shoes and socks without help,” or “Don’t most kids this age know how to write their name? Is she behind if she isn’t doing that yet?” I start the never-ending battle of Compare-My-Child-to-Your-Child and the expectations begin to mount.

Although I think it’s healthy (and necessary) to expect certain things from your kids, I’ve learned that countless lists of expectations get you nowhere. Expecting things like manners and obedience is a given, but who cares if my kid can’t draw a circle when he’s 18 months old like little Sally can (damn that Sally and her advanced fine motor skills!)? My triplets have fielded the brunt of my advanced expectations because they have collectively served as my first “child.” I was a first child and a lot was always expected of me. I always felt like I had to measure up to a set of prescribed expectations and I find myself asking my triplets to do the same thing! You would think that I would have learned. As for my youngest child, expectations have been thrown completely out the window. I find myself not expecting him to accomplish or master certain things nearly as early as I expected them from the triplets. Can I chalk it up to parental experience? My own laziness? Finally seeing the light? Regardless, I’ve learned that expectations can be great, just don’t define your kids by their timely achievement of them.

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