YA: Setting expectations for your child

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - In order for parents to be able to set their kids up for success, steps must be taken, like setting expectations.


Youth alternatives gave us some steps to follow for setting expectations for your child.

-Be specific
As parents we want our children to be able to read our minds and get things done without being asked. Kids unfortunately aren’t mind readers and will generally test boundaries when they aren’t clearly set. So make sure to lay out what it is that you want your child to do or what it is that you expect of them in clear terms so that they know what you want from them. When we aren’t clear it causes our kids confusion and they end up not doing what we wanted them to do so get as specific as you can.

-Set Consequences
Once you’ve established your expectations the next step is to establish clear consequences. There’s nothing wrong with getting creative here, just remember that the most important part is that your child understands you’re doing this because you love them. If they believe that your love has conditions attached to it your relationship will suffer and they more than likely will test the waters even more. So make sure that you talk with your child and express to them that you love them no matter what and that it is because you love them that you’re doing this.

-Follow through
A consequence means nothing if it’s not followed through on. Your child needs to believe that when you say something you mean it. Something to keep in mind here is that it’s not the severity of the consequence that changes a child’s behavior, rather it is the sureness of it. If this isn’t something your child has been used to, it may take some time for your child to respond to it but the longer you keep at it the more effective it will be.