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The Simple Explanation

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August 14, 2013 by admin

By Arwen McGilvra-

Clear Expectations doesn’t have to be a complicated parenting philosophy. Simply put its telling your kids the positive behavior you’d like to see BEFOREHAND.


For the last several months I have been watching our 2 year old goddaughter when her mother is at work. Her mother comments on how easily she behaves for me. I’d like to claim that its because of my general awesomeness, but it’s because I’ve made a habit of clear expectations.

When I get out the crayons I say, “Crayons are for paper.” Every time we cross a street I say, “Lets look both ways.” When it’s bath time I remind her that “Water stays in the tub.” At bedtime its “Stay in bed.” Guess what? She listens.

Most of the time she does as asked, and many of these things are becoming habits for her. Which is the true meaning of discipline. (See Discipline is not Punishment for more on this topic.)

Discipline literally means to improve behaviour by training. To be disciplined means the state of improved behaviour, resulting from such training. It’s so simple that a 2 year old gets it.

Sure she has rough days, and sometimes chooses not to behave. We all have our bad days, even 2 year olds. I once had a bad day that resulted in a speeding ticket (I was trying to get home to use the restroom.) Being a responsible person doesn’t mean that you never make mistakes, but it means you deal with the consequences and you learn from them (I paid my fine and have been speeding ticket free for 10 years now.) So when something does come up and she misbehaves we deal with the consequences and try to learn from it.

Setting clear expectations isn’t difficult, it basically boils down to how you communicate. Be consistent and you’ll begin to see discipline growing your kids into responsible adults.

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