The Power of Expectation

October 13, 2011

We have expectations, hopes and dreams for our kids. Depending on your parenting style they are either hard, set in stone ideas, perhaps handed down from generation to generation kind of expectations (he is going to be a doctor because his father was one…) or more fluid ideas as to who our children are becoming (expect him to be a failure or a success, miserable or happy).

Nevertheless, our expectations of our children whether we are conscious of it or not, impacts who they are becoming every day. A study, done at University of California, Riverside not too long ago illustrated the power of expectation frighteningly well…..

“In the study, prior to the start of a new school year, teachers were given a list of the students who would be entering their classrooms. Next to each student’s name was an indication that the student was a “poor,” “average,” or “excellent” pupil. At the end of the year, the grades the students earned were compared to the ratings their teachers had been given earlier. For the most part, the performance of the students matched the level of academic capability indicated on the list.

The “kicker” in this study was that the “poor,” “average,” and “excellent” notations were made entirely at random. There was no connection between an individual’s rating and his or her past performance, test scores, readiness assessments, or anything else. In other words, it was clear that during the school year, the students lived up to the high or low expectations of the teachers rather than to their actual potential”.

Lack of consciousness has scary consequences! Imagine how many kids are short-strawed when it comes to their potential. Imagine what kind of impact that caregivers, mothers, fathers, teachers, could have on children if they really took time to SEE a child – to sense their essence, to get curious, to get to know them, beyond the surface? Imagine THAT kind of society?!

Below is a 4 step process for you to get clear about your expectations for your children:

  1. Really stop and notice and write down – the beliefs, expectations you have of your children. Are they empowering? Are they “true” or have you
    unconsciously labeled your child as this or that?  Are they realistic and age appropriate? Has previously bad behavior colored what you think is possible for your child?
  2. How do those thoughts come out in speech? For example, I used to get so frustrated with my daughter when she couldn’t find something she was looking for when it was RIGHT in front of her nose. I heard myself saying “You are just not a good looker!” And I started to see that these words were serving to almost disempower my daughter from even taking initiative to look for stuff! I started catching myself when this thought popped up and instead said to myself (and to her) “You are such a good organizer, I am sure if you look a little harder, you will find what you are looking for!”Take a moment and think about and honestly write down how your beliefs/expectation serve to empower or disempower your children.
  3. Now, if you had some negative beliefs on that list, just like I switched my thought and my speech to reflect a more empowering belief about my daughter successfully looking for stuff and finding it, spend a little more time now writing down the belief/expectation you would RATHER hold for your child. Is it realistic? Does it fill you with hope and confidence in your child? It should.
  4. Visualize this belief. What if you created a picture in your head of something you wanted to bring out in your kids.  Maybe an image of your children taking responsibility for various jobs in the house. You saw this image and how it improved your day to day life, how it made you feel (relieved) and how it made your children feel (proud) and you visited this image 3 times a day – and saw it with FEELING. What most of us do is focus on the problem – we spend tons of energy trying to mentally figure out how to fix it. Fixing it in our mind will NEVER work – when you spend time using your real power source – your creative mind – actions will be influenced (when this though is active in your mind, real solutions appear naturally) and preferred results will show up – results that make mamma sing and the kids feel proud. Kids respond in the moment to your energy. Take charge of that energy consciously and make a difference in your family.

Our children need us to believe in them and what they are capable of achieving and being in this life. Let’s not short change them….






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  • Stacy October 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I love this post! Just what i’ve always believed but needed to hear the four step process about how to turn it around. Thanks!