Confessional post coming up, so please settle in to listen to my ramblings…
I adore my children, I absolutely do. And yet there are times that I know that I am being unfair to both of them, times like parents evening last week.
I know my daughter is bright and that she likes nothing more than to help others. She is one of life’s nurturers, but she also has a fair bit of me running through her (not a nurturer) so I understand how she thinks at times, I can relate to what’s happening in her mind and I can anticipate how she’ll react to things. I just get her. As a toddler, I knew that she would be fabulous at school. Boo was bright, curious, confident, sociable, enthusiastic and with a memory like an elephant. She was a teacher’s dream, and she still is.
And then there’s my son. Little Man has me wrapped around his little finger, I know it and he knows it. And believe me when I say that he utilises it whenever possible. He is a child that will always push for more and will also push until there is nowhere else to go! To put a positive spin on it, he fights for what he wants and is wonderfully determined, which also translates as stubborn and relentless as he works to wear you down. He is on the one hand as familiar to me as my own breath, and then on the other a complete enigma as I simply don’t operate as he does. I can’t think like him and I don’t work like him. As a toddler, I will freely admit that I had no clue how he’d be at school, but if I had to guess, it wouldn’t necessarily have been on the positive side of the coin!
We had parents evening last week and my son, my son surprised me again. He has the ability to do that. I was told that he was a delight to teach. That he is kind and thoughtful, that he tries his best all of the time and that he is performing very well across all subjects. He’s in Year 1, he’s only 6, so I’d have just been happy with the kind and thoughtful bit, to be honest. The fact that he is doing so well is a wonderful bonus, and the biggie for me is that he goes in each day and comes out each day smiling. I can be unfair to him as I underestimate him, he is doing so very well at school.
Boo’s teacher also said only good things about her, and she too is doing very well in all subjects and is a lovely friend to her classmates, mature and thoughtful, and a pleasure to have in the classroom. The thing here is that I expect to hear this about her. I expected it from her very first parents evening and I continue to do so. She loves school and I know that she does well there. But this is so unfair of me as the bar is set in a different place and whilst I absolutely do praise her and tell her how proud I am of her, I know she can do it.
I expect to hear great things about my daughter and am not surprised when I do hear them, whereas with Little Man, well he is still managing to astonish me! Which is unfair on him, as I do know he’s just as bright as his sister, I haven’t ever doubted this. It’s more in his application of that intelligence that they differ. He takes clever to a whole other level – I don’t want to go as far as saying that it’s an evil-villain-machinations-type-of-clever, but..oh, I think I just did say that!
Anyway, this is all to say that I have been unfair on both of my children. I love them both to bits, and they know it, and I don’t believe that they are aware of how I feel on this one. But I know it, so I need to readjust my expectations a little and level that playing field in the name of fairness. I will praise them both equally and recognise that they are both capable of being the kind, bright classmates that they are day in, day out.
Tell me that you’ve fallen into the trap of having differing expectations too? It’s not just me?