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Great Expectations
When I was about to get married my mother and I went on a shopping spree to some outlet malls. In one of them was a store called "Great Expectations". I assumed it was a lingerie store, I guess because the wedding night was all I could think about. Turns out it was a maternity store.

I was very embarrassed.

But that's not the expectations I want to talk about today!

Terry, over at Breathing Grace, has a post up about how in the real world, Christian parents fail to expect enough out of their kids. She says:

Parents expect far too little, even Christian parents. Toddlers are expected to throw tantrums, teens are expected to rebel. Of course, expectations are high when it comes to grades and sports and such. There's just no expectation that they can demonstrate any spiritual maturity, because of their youth. Daughters leave home dressed like streetwalkers, and it’s considered just a phase that they’ll grow out of. Dating is considered the norm. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been warned that our expectations of our daughters is too high. It makes me sad.

I totally agree. And children live up to their expectations (or their lack of expectations)!

I remember once when I was riding in the van to the zoo with my little girls we had a vivid example of this. Also in the car was another couple whose children were about 15 years older than ours and whose children were in considerable trouble at the time.

While in the van, my girls started bickering. Keith warned them. They didn't stop. So he pulled the van over on the highway and took them out of the car and gave them a good talking to. They were petrified and behaved great the rest of the way!

But this couple was appalled. (Remember, Keith didn't spank, all he did was speak to them firmly). "You have to expect that kids are going to bicker," they said. And I replied, "Oh, we expect it. But there's no way we'll put up with it."

And they've always commented on how wonderful our kids are, but they don't seem to see a connection....

What about you? Do you expect your children to behave in public? To be able to sit still in church after a certain age (and what is that age, anyway?). To choose well as teenagers?

And is there a fine line between expectations and pressure? Let's talk about it!

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 9:01 AM , Anonymous Nathan said…

I don't have any children of my own yet (my wife and I just started trying back in July - no bun in the oven yet!) but we have both had plenty of experience working with kids everywhere from infants to college. And I am quite surprised that I'm the first person to comment to this post and say I 100% agree with you!

Sure, I expect toddlers to whine when they don't get their way, but that doesn't mean I'll give in to it - or even just let it keep going on and on. In my experience they usually get tired of their little tantrum when they realize it isn't working, and very rarely do you have to do anything more than ignore it.

But when it comes to older kids, I don't think that same whining tantrum is acceptable for a 7-year-old (sadly I'm thinking of a specific example who is related to me). I think your story about Keith on the way to the zoo makes perfect sense. Kids need discipline. I'm not saying you need to beat them, but they need to be plainly shown what the rules are and those rules need to be firm. If you let them get away with a little violation, the next one will be bigger (especially if you're dealing with a teenager). They're not stupid, and they're testing you more than you realize.

I've seen it happen WAY too many times. Ever wonder why the "baby" of the family seems to get away with anything? Parents don't even seem to notice how they're gradually allowing more and more to be considered acceptable.

Like I said, I haven't even begun raising my own kids and I'm not stupid enough to think I've got all the answers figured out and we'll never have problems. But I'm just glad to see at least one other person who realizes "children live up to their expectations (or their lack of expectations)!"

Grace and peace,

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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