Trade Expectations for Acceptance
Parents constantly judge their kids decisions and choices. In their eyes, their kids make head scratching or down right frustrating decisions every day. As a parent, I sometimes allow my kids to drive me nuts when they don’t do what I want them to do. Why don’t they…. or, Why do they……
Ever thought they should practice their sport(s) more on their own rather than watch TV or play on their cell phone? Imagine all the things they could do that would be more productive than watching TV. The more you hover over your kids and watch what they do, the more frustrated you are likely to be.
How many parents think their child should try harder in school, study more at home, or get extra help from teachers in order to get the best grade they can get? If your kids are parents themselves, I doubt you agree with all of their parenting decisions.
If only our kids would fully apply themselves!!
Yet when we hear that a friend or neighbor’s child isn’t doing this or that, our typical thought is more likely to be “kids will be kids” or they will be just fine. This reaction makes sense as we are not emotionally invested in another child’s behavior or choices and much more accepting of them. This is because we are not so hung up on them being exactly the way we want them to be.
The same thing can happen with our spouse. Ever get mad at your spouse for what they did or didn’t do? Your spouse may value things differently and want things always done their way and that can lead to difficult times. Spouses argue all the time over silly differences of opinion. “We become justified in our conviction that our way is the right way and blaming and criticizing become acceptable reactions when others don’t do things the way we think they should. However, loving and respecting another person means allowing them to be whoever they are”.
I believe this is all due to our “EXPECTATIONS”. What we expect our kids (or spouse) to do is what this is all about. The more you are fixated on loved ones meeting your expectations, the more you are setting yourself up for a frustrating life. Depending on how you show your frustration for not meeting your expectations, you could alienate your spouse and “annoy” your kids, especially if they are teenagers. This can lead to a tension filled household with parents constantly disappointed in their kids and kids always annoyed with their parents.
What can be done to avoid this? The answer is “ACCEPTANCE”. Accept our kids and spouses for who they are and let them live and learn from their decisions and behavior. They will turn out OK. Your plan for your kids is not their plan (or God’s plan) and you cannot force all your ways on to them after they are born. “Letting go of expectations means accepting people and situations as they are. From this place, we can begin to appreciate others for being truly who they are“.
Maybe it would help if you could fast forward and see them when they are much older so you knew they turned out to be good people. I heard a story about how an avid basketball fan recorded his favorite team’s Game 7 playoff game because he couldn’t watch it live. Before he could watch the recording, someone blurted out the final score. He found out his team won, but he still watched the recording. Early in the game, his team played awful and found themselves down by 15 points. Funny thing, since he knew the final score, he wasn’t the least bit worried and knew his team would overcome their early game struggle and be fine in the end. Your kids will be fine too. They are creating their very personal back story, filled with mistakes and bumps in the road they will overcome.
If we could just relax and accept that our kids will turn out just fine and believe that whatever is stressing us out will pass, we would greatly reduce the frustrations that many of us are dealing with everyday.
Replace frustration with acceptance and your quality of life will greatly improve.
Please share your thoughts and experience with this idea……