One common pitfall of parenting is when a child asks to use the potty for the first time, and is successful – and mom and dad decide that it is time for the child to use the potty ALL the time, because obviously, the child knows how. But, just because a child can focus on something and do it one time, does not mean that he or she is ready to remember to do that thing ALL the time.
Now, take that and apply it to EVERYTHING about childhood.
Our children make giant leaps every day in their intelligence and abilities. They ASTOUND us all the time! I am awed multiple times a day by the new things my kids are doing. But that doesn’t mean that they are ready to be mature enough to do everything that they can, all of the time. And our expectations of our children to be mature at all times, is one of our biggest failures as parents.
When our kids ask us to do things that we know they are or have been capable of, we need to remember that they are not little robots who can do what we have programmed them to do on command. Even as adults, we cannot always do things that we are usually capable of. Remembering that our children are still very young is a wonderful gift that we can give to them.
And on my third baby, I find myself looking back, comparing him to the other two children at the same age, and I realize how much pressure I put on them to be more mature than they were ready to be. And I have found myself realizing that I STILL expect a lot out of them when they may not be capable of actually DOING those things all the time. And relaxing my expectations has allowed us to connect more, be more loving, and have less stress in our days.
So when your child isn’t living up to your expectations, no matter how old they are or how capable they are, take a deep breath and remember how young they really are.