Setting the Bar
As parents and caregivers, we always want the absolute best for our kids. We innately know the amazing things they are capable of and set high goals/expectations for them. After all, we know they can be SO amazing. We sometimes subconsciously set the bar high the first thing in the morning, trying to set that mood for the day. So, what happens when we see those expectations are not being met? We ask more of them, knowing they can do better. Except, what happens when we feel like a broken record, asking the same things over and over and over. Take this as a clue-adjust that bar, especially during such trying, tricky, and isolating times. If your children are struggling with things that are not typically a struggle for them (i.e-sharing, chores, etc), take a moment to get curious as to why this may be.
It is understandable that our children may need extra encouragement, reminders, and support - more than ever before these days. It is okay to take that bar and lower it, and as I always say, sometimes that bar can even be buried underground from being set so low (we’ve been known to do so in our household). Lowering the bar does not mean it will be low forever, it just means for now we understand there may be additional struggles that need more attention and support and get curious again later when the bar may appear to need to be higher. In times when the bar is lowered, find ways to connect with your child(ren) and be present with them for moments of time.
Lastly, don’t forget to set your own bar lower as well. Release unreachable expectations that once were, because life, as we know it right now, is unpredictable, and truly, we are all just doing the best we can. Be kind to yourself too.
Written by Lindsay Bragdon, Adoption Program Director at The Maine Children's Home for The Connected Community @ MCH.