Our family member are hard-wired to our hearts. Everything they do, both good and bad, is magnified by our emotional reactions.
Because we want to be kind and give our families the best possible interactions, we may take a deep breath or count to ten before we fly off the handle at someone. But we can also improve relationships by avoiding problems before they start.
Clear expectations that are well-understood by both parties keep us from ever having to become frustrated or disappointed.
The first step in establishing clear expectations is to clarify to ourselves exactly what we want. If it’s a big deal or complicated, write it down.
Then calmly present this list at a time and place where both parties can focus their complete attention. If my husband didn’t read this blog, I’d use him as an example of unfocussed attention. If he is wearing earphones, sitting in front of a TV of monitor, or holding his cell phone, I don’t have his undivided attention. I need him to empty his hands and look at my eyes.
For my kids nothing I usually opt for a hard copy, expectations we can see, hold and refer back to.
We can avoid hassle and heartache, too, by practicing through problems at a time/place when we have more time-slash-patience.
A basketball coach can’t run out onto the court and work on those pesky free throws during a game. They hold practices for that.
We can inspect our children’s chores on easygoing nights and discuss problem areas then. Or hold a dry-run. Walk through the morning routine for a few minutes before starting supper. Let the kids pantomime their activities.
Most important—don’t give up. You don’t want them to give up. You shouldn’t give up either. Hang in there and keep working, working till everyone can be happy that their expectations are being met.
How do you make your expectations clear to loved ones?