“Can do better!!!” a phrase which has bothered me for years, a remark which repeated itself consistently like a customary ritual on my annual report card every year throughout my school life, a statement which made me clutch my mother’s hands in fear before every open house at school. I thought I would not have to hear it again once I am out of school, but these words never left me, they were repeated when I was one among the three girls who could not make it for the much awaited and expected Medical Entrance Examination, the words became even more stronger when I missed university rank during my graduation. The same words haunted me even when I could achieve a rank during my post graduation, may be because people around me and I myself felt I could have done better. After that my first job, second job, career, family life and so on, these words became an indispensable part of my life. These words were successful in inculcating a guilt in me that I was not able to meet the expectations of people round me, my parents, my teachers and all family & friends.

Children

Expectations come by virtue of being a part of the society and as a child, as an individual we spend most of our lives running to meet them.  Expectations can be like the sweet stress which can have a motivational role in helping us to strive for better in our lives, at the same time it has the potential to become a bitter strain when it is in excess and unreasonable.

When the child grows in its mother’s womb, expectations from the child grows in every parent’s heart and mind. Those nine months, as we prepare ourselves to become a parent, we visualize so many attributes about our child, right from its behavior, personality, academics to even its career. These small dreams and visualizations in our mind set in as standards and from the day our child is born, we start viewing him/her within the frameworks of those standards and when they are not met we are heartbroken and shattered. Now with that said, who is to be blamed, the parent? The child? Or is it wrong to have expectations from your own blood for whom you spent your entire life?

In my opinion each child is unique and is gifted with specific abilities. It is for us as parents to identify and estimate the child’s actual abilities and set our expectations accordingly. Sooner or later our children will learn to do what we expect of them if our expectations are realistic. As parents we have expectations at different stages of our child’s life. Today’s article is about what and why to expect from our children during their early childhood days.

Expectations from a toddler

This is for all those lovely couples who have just become the proud parents. If this is your first child, you will be sorely tempted to compare his/her progress with that of other children his age. I know that nothing I write will keep you from doing that, but I hope I can convince you that such comparisons are more apt to mislead than to inform. During the first few years of life the development of individual children varies so widely that comparisons are meaningless. However, if you want a rule of thumb, try this: most children sit with support at 6 to 8 months, sit without support at 8 to 10 months, walk at 12 to 18 months, talk at 18 to 24 months, ride a tricycle at 3 years, and copy a square at 4 years. Having said that. Let me urge you to resist the temptation to boast if your child reaches any of these milestones at an earlier age or to worry if his development is delayed. At some point in their development, all normal children arrive at the same place, and whether it is early or late makes no difference.

(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)