When Reality Doesn’t Match Our Expectations

3. High Parenting Goals

We, as parents, often subconsciously set high expectations for ourselves. We see other parents begging, bribing, threatening, and yelling; but we know that we would never, ever react that way. We have plans in place and are committed to the foundations of positive parenting techniques. We will use rational, well-intentioned parenting skill to raise amazing children.

Then reality seeps in, and we find ourselves begging, bribing, threatening, and yelling; and we don’t know how we got there. We find ourselves failing miserably at the techniques that we thought would be the backbone of our family.

It’s important to know that parenting is very hard work and done by humans. We will make mistakes, we will get angry, and we will forgot to use all the great skills that we’re learning. But, overall, if you set your goals in a more realistic level, you are doing an amazing job.

Then reality seeps in, and we find ourselves begging, bribing, threatening, and yelling; and we don’t know how we got there. We find ourselves failing miserably at the techniques that we thought would be the backbone of our family.

Facing Reality

The vast discrepancies between expectation and reality can often fill parents with disappointment or even anger. The farther your reality is from your expectations, the greater the chance that that gap will be filled with anger.

We can help cope with those feelings by learning more about what is normal. For example: Are tantrums common? Do siblings often fight? Do parents get frustrated and lose their patience? (Yes. Yes. And yes!) Having a clearer picture of normal realities can help us align our expectations and diminish those feelings of failure, frustration, and downright anger. Understanding that we are normal, and our children are normal, we can get past the rough patches and enjoy family life.


These tips are from The No-Cry Discipline Solution.

Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four, grandmother, and author of the bestselling book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution plus 8 other books in the No-Cry Solution Series which helps Mums and Dads through all key stages of parenting. Visit her at nocrysolution.com.

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