Success in Parenting Series: Setting the Right Expectations
By contributor, Ann Marie Flanagan
What are the chances that you have ever felt embarrassed about your child(ren’s) behavior in public? We have all been there! A screaming child in the checkout line? A teenager asking if a friend can spend the night…. In front of that friend? Oh, I know. Ever have your child tell an adult something not meant to be shared?
What is the answer to avoiding these awkward situations? Teaching social skills! We shouldn’t expect our child(ren) to automatically know how to act in different social situations, unless we teach them the expectation first. It seems overwhelming, but it is not when you break it down. I am going to give you the steps and an example.
First, choose one behavior you want to focus on. Think about your expectations and what that looks like. Is it realistic? What do you need to teach your child for him/her/them to fulfill that expectation?
Is it something that requires several steps? Write down the steps. Teach those steps.
How are you going to practice? Set up role plays or practice in a small setting.
Here is my example. When my daughter was 3-years-old she was still sleeping in my bed.
Behavior: I want my 3-year-old out of my bedroom at night.
Expectation: My child will be able to sleep in her own bed without an adult in the room.
1. She will go to her bed and I will sit on the floor next to her bed until she falls asleep.
2. She will get in her bed and I will sit on the floor in the middle of the room until she falls asleep.
3. She will get in her bed and I will sit in the door frame of her room until she falls asleep.
4. She will get in her bed and I will sit in the living room where she can see me.
5. She will get in her bed and go to sleep.
1. During the day, we will go into her room to discuss where she will be and where I will be. We can use stuffed animals to show this or we can each get in position. Talk about what a big girl she is for sleeping in her own bed. Talk about how her brother sleeps in his bed and her friends all sleep in their beds.
2. For each (adult) movement out of the room, discuss what will happen before it is time for bed. You may even want to practice at nap time or role play. You can have the child practice with another adult or a sibling. Find what works for your child.
1. Set up a realistic time frame. This will not happen overnight.
2. Spend a few days with step #1 and begin talking about step #2, etc….
3. Move to the next step. Some steps might be faster or slower than others.
4. Celebrate the successes each step of the way!
Tip: Be consistent and stick with it
Would you like more information on how to get rid of tantrums? Send me an email for more information. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have an online workshop available for purchase. It includes 3 modules and one 15-minute consult with me to develop your “plan of attack.” In addition, I invite you to join our Facebook group, at bit.ly/SuccessinParenting where we discuss our successes and struggles with parenting. In the Facebook group you can also find my “10 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read” Series.
You can also catch me live or on the replay on the live streaming app Periscope at @AnnMarieFlanagan where I broadcast weekly on general topics including behavior, academic, and independent functioning skills for children.
Thanks again for allowing me to spend some time with you!