How much should we expect of our children?

See saw

The balance between unrealistic expectations and hoping for the best is sometimes had to strike with adopted children. I am forever trying to temper my expectations of what my children can do with the reality of their difficulties. This week whilst we were on Christmas break this struggle hit me hard on one of our outings together. Our children are doing remarkably well and after 5 years together Christmas break was really calm and relaxing in many ways. This in itself lulled me into a false sense of security and I forgot that actually some things are always going to be difficult for them. The incident that happened wasn’t really their fault – a combination of not being able to tell the time (at 10, 11 and 12 years old) and not willing to ask for help from others meant that they did something that again made me remember that they are not like typical children their age.

However my reaction far outweighed the incident itself. Again I had forgotten just how stressful parenting is and let the fact that we had had such a brilliant Christmas together cloud my judgement and my expectations of their abilities to do ‘normal’ things. Because their learning difficulties are so well hidden, unlike other special needs, I forget sometimes that they are there. I hope as we go into another year together that I can hold this tension in balance – the unrealistic expectations against the hope and trust that they will progress and change as time moves on. That’s all we can do I guess – take each day as it comes and try to make them aware of their limitations but also their great potential to succeed in life.

And when these incidents happen – the power to have self-control and react in the best way possible is my hope. I know to go easier on myself as we are all only human after all – but I want to strive to react in a better way next time – to be able to step back and see what’s really going on, not what they’ve done but why they did it – the fear and confusion that seems to be at the root of all their behaviours. The more I can see that and not react to the behaviour the more they will be able to understand and make sense of their fears. 2014 will be another challenging year I’m sure and I’m looking forward to looking back this time next year and saying that I did better and that the kids are even more settled then they are now.




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