Hello from beautiful Montana:
What you expect from yourself and your children can have a big impact on stress levels and anger. What I am talking about is not necessarily what you expect long term, but right now, in this moment.
For instance; I don't enjoy cooking all that much. I do it because it needs to be done and I do it well, but it is not something I consider an interest or passion. So, when I announce dinner is ready around six o'clock, which is the same time we have eaten our main meal for the last 25 years, I expect people to come to the table.
In my mind, it is a completely realistic expectation and by now, surely a habit. By the time they wander in and we have prayer, the green beans are cold and I am hot under the collar.
Less Conflict-More Cooperation
During a family discussion on why family members could not get to the table in a timely manner so I didn't get resentful these points were brought up:
- I put the food on the table and then announce dinner is ready. It is bound to take a few minutes for them to wash their hands. solution: Wait until prayer is over, before dishing up the food.
- Sometimes they are at the exciting part in the book or game and not at an easy stopping place. solution:Give a five minute warning before expecting them to come to table.
- I created a self-fullfilling prophecy by saying things such as "You always come late or you are always the last one here." solution: Be fair by realizing that sometimes they are late and every now and then they are the last one. Quit keeping score.
- I was confusing food with power to control. solution: Stop acting like a martyr and realize that not everything in the world was about me. Quit taking it personally.
- Everyone would be much happier with less big meals and more simple, uncomplicated ones. I thought it was showing love to them to cook. solution: The family was sure I loved them in other ways and knew that cooking wasn't fun for me.
- Let everyone take turns fixing food. solution: Hurray, everyone took a night to be in charge and then everyone chipped in to prepare and serve the food. No matter how little the children were, there was something they could do to help. More together time and they learned to cook and serve.
Expectations are mental images and thoughts based on what we anticipate will happen. We assume that because the picture in our mind is so real, that the actual experience will match it. It seldom does unless we allow others to share what their expectations and mind pictures are like.
Only then can we readjust and reframe what was causing us frustration and anger into something that is more realistic for everyone.
Kid, Chores & More
If your family would like assistance in gaining cooperation in the family, please go to http:www///kidschoresandmore.com
If you are having a lot of turmoil in your family and need a deeper level of assistance and total transformation of the family, please check out the program I recommend at http://www.DisciplineYesPunishNo.com
Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, Life Educator and author