Resetting Expectations

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I was 20 years old, standing behind the child that “WANTS IT!”  No, I had no idea what IT is.  All I knew was: this kid was annoying.

I had no idea about autism.  I had no idea about invisible special needs.

But, I was sure that when I had kids, there were things my kids were NEVER going to do:

  • They were never going to talk back.
  • They would never be rude
  • They would never fight
  • They would never sleep in my bed
  • And they would never ever EVER throw a temper tantrum in a store.  I had vowed while witnessing this event that my child would NEVER do it.


Then I had kids.  I had vowed to be a good parent, and I had a mental list of the things I expected from my kids:

  • They would always use the magic word.  “Please” and “thank you” are words they must use.
  • They will play well with others
  • They will get good grades.  If they did not get good grades then they had better put A LOT of effort in to try
  • They will always be a good sport
  • They will respect their elders
  • They will listen to me
  • They will eat their vegetables
  • They will do their chores


Of course, there was screaming in stores.  I would stare straight ahead, but was always conscious of who was watching and listening to the sound of the screaming.  Who was shaking their heads.  Who was young enough to be putting this event on their “NEVER” list.


Then autism entered our lives.  And I learned about autism, something I knew nothing about before.

And my list of expectations changed.

  • Just try your best.

I stopped using “never.”  I found if I actually want to sleep, I may need to have a child with me.  Our goals became my list of expectations.  When we reach a goal, we celebrate.

And when there is screaming in a store, I no longer look around to see who is watching.  I look down to see how I can help a person in distress.

I realized every success is a gift.  Every milestone reached is a milestone I did not think they would reach before.

And every goal obtained is a true blessing.


11 thoughts on “Resetting Expectations

  1. Yes! It’s so easy to judge parents… until you are one. And then, based on my experience, again when your own children are grown-up and your step-children start having kids (unresolved issue).
    with the I WANT IT! refrain, I thought this post was going to be about the Who’s “Magic Bus”.

    1. Haha! I completely missed that – Now I have the song in my head! Good catch. Yes – so easy to judge when you are not a parent. Thank goodness hindsight is 20/20 – I can realize what I did, how wrong I was and change my outlook!

  2. What a great post and so, so true. I can’t say how often my kids screamed in a store. At first I rushed them out to avoid the stares. Then I realized these times were teachable moments. Even though I got glares, I’m sure, I stopped paying attention to them and paid attention instead to my child and the issue at hand.

  3. I got to the stage where I point blank refused to enter any shopping store unless I was alone,because there was one day my son wanted a specific toy but the store had it in another brand but not the brand he wanted,he had a complete meltdown in front of all the shoppers and this one arrogant and rude woman was overheard saying “oh I know what I would do with that cheeky brat” my eyes filled to their fullness until they could take no more and before I knew it I was crying with him also..I didn’t say anything to her,I left all and walked out and calmed him down in the car before taking him to a toy store and getting him the toy he wanted..that woman has no idea,she is arrogant and I’m a firm believer in “what goes around comes around” I take my child and children with me everywhere,why should I leave them at my mums,I’m proud of them all,and I quite frankly don’t care what people think or say child has special needs and I’ll stand on any platform and declare that,his flaws and all..❤

    1. Wow, I feel for you. I’ve been there. And I super duper agree with you! Our children are blessings and make us so proud 🙂

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