Have you ever expected or wished for the easy path? I know I have on many occasions!
Life is easy if as a parent/teacher your children/students excel at sport, are the high achievers, are highly academic or simply, functioning!
But that’s not always reality and as a parent or teacher you’ve noticed your child/student disengage and opt out of school and fail exams. Your dreams and expectations are fading in front of your eyes. You’re upset, disappointed maybe even embarrassed.
Your child/student ‘should’ be independent, ‘should’ be academic, ‘should’ be functioning… but they’re not!
They’ve just ruined all your well laid plans and you feel bad! Now, spare a thought for how bad your child/student feels and that’s before you opened your mouth and added insult to injury.
So now what?
Well now is the perfect time to review YOUR expectations!
If your child/student had just been diagnosed with a major heart complaint, what expectations would you have? I bet you’d focus on what they can still achieve. You’d admire them for getting out of bed. You’d be pleased they pushed through their health limitations and managed to attend school!
So please, also take mental health into consideration and revisit YOUR expectations . The verbal and non-verbal messages you give your child/student, can be life-defeating when they struggle with mental health issues, bullying or what may even seems like an uncomplicated adolescence.
So if your child/student manages to turn back in for class…
1. Start by acknowledging that there is some issue.
2. Next acknowledge the fact that your child/student is in attendance TODAY.
3. Note the possibility they may not make the grade… but look for the bigger picture.
4. Practice unconditional, non-judgemental love and see the effort they are making, no matter how small.
5. Acknowledge their presence.
6. Recognise their engagement. Tell them you see that they have pushed through their health limitations to attend school and mix with their peers rather than self-isolating themselves in their bedroom!
Now you’ve realigned YOUR expectations! Now you’re telling them they are good enough, exactly as they are!
This approach will help your child/student learn to accept themselves as good enough. They may even let themselves feel happy! This very powerful feeling is addictive and soon they will want more. They will, in their own time, step into the driving seat and begin to empower themselves.
As a parent/teacher, try to understand, what is run of the mill and easy for one child/student, can be very challenging for another child/student. Placing value on their efforts not their achievements can be a game changer. (If you can see no effort, review your expectations again. Maybe just breathing and staying alive is taking all their effort). Love them even more, they need it more!
Watch them as they engage with life on their terms, at the level they are able for, at this precise moment. Now you’re encouraging them to pass the more important and real test – the test that is not the easy path but the path of life!
Have you ever had your expectations dashed? Have you realigned your expectations and seen your child/student flourish?
Mindfully Marie xx