Where thoughtful parenting replaces impulsive parenting

Cooperation Counts

  • Adjusting Adult Expectations

    Image credit: Canton Public Library

    Image credit: Canton Public Library

    By Jean Hamburg, LICSW

    In Parenting Land, things don’t always turn out the way we would like.  Adjusting our expectations can be challenging, but extremely useful.  Recently, I received the following comments from a Mom who describes this beautifully.

    “My best story to share is one that I may normally have been very upset by, but am looking to put the positive spin on it!  We got ready Saturday afternoon with the plan to go outside and do some yard cleanup.  The cleanup  was mostly to dismantle some fairy houses that had been constructed over last summer.  They were mostly designed by Adrienne and her cousins, but the cousins had long ago returned to their home in Colorado.  Adrienne was really adamant about NOT helping out.  She started to get very angry and let us know loudly that she did not want to be around us, and she only helped for about 10 minutes.  Usually, Adrienne would think nothing of revving up which often included High Drama.

    Later I had a chance to talk to her, and said, “I know how angry you were about not wanting to help out, but what I was happy about was that you did not hit anyone, break anything or do anything physical because of your anger”.

    That is the victory- for Adrienne, and also for me.  She was angry, but managed it safely, and it was the same for me!

    Of course, I would have liked for her to help.  I remember growing up and my sister almost never pitched in outside for family raking, yard work or wood stacking.  It was a big bone of contention and I never understood why…but she never changed.  Thankfully, she is a pretty successful adult.  It is possible that Adrienne may never be a helper  in family projects.  I figure that encouraging her whenever she does something even small in the right direction will help.  Making this choice was definitely not easy for me, but I’m glad I decided to handle it this way. ”

    Some might say that Mom ‘gave in’, but what really happened was that she was thoughtful about the choice she made, and deciding to adjust  her original expectation turned out just fine!

    Contact Jean for consultation options at: jeanhamburg@comcast.net __1-877-813-0004

    Cooperation Counts (sm) is a service of Jean Hamburg, LICSW

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