Children are interesting creatures. Flitting here and there, learning and growing, dropping one annoying habit only to pick up another.
Nonetheless, they are pretty consistent in some things. One of those is expectations. Children will almost always meet you at the level of your expectations for them. They get clued in pretty quickly about what you believe they are capable of in any area of life. Children are very wise and they can “read” parents in many ways.
So let’s give our kids the message that we believe they are capable. I’m not talking about the blanket “you can be or do anything you want in the world.” I’m talking about letting our kids see that we have expectations that yes they can be solely responsible for getting themselves ready for school, completing their household chores and coming home on time. If you give your kids the message that they just can’t listen until they are yelled at, then they won’t listen until you yell! If we use our verbal and non-verbal language to say “I expect that you can be patient while mommy finishes this phone call. I expect that you can complete a project you start. I expect that you can be responsible, respectful, courteous,” they will meet you there.
Let’s not dummy-down our kids. Let’s consistently “speak” the message that we know they are capable beings and watch how often that’s exactly where they meet us.