Do you come to parenting with an agenda? Do you have preconceived notions of what an infant will do, such as how he or she will nap and sleep through the night? What about toddlerhood? Do you anticipate the age of potty-training, sleep patterns, and interests? What about the teen years? How do you see these unfolding in your mind? Do you have a very specific agenda in your mind regarding the future of your child?

Agendas can often be unrealistic expectations of what our children will or will not be like. When we come to situations with these expectations and agendas, we are setting ourselves up and our children up for disappointment and feelings of failure. For us parents, this can make us feel like we are not doing well in the parenting realm, watching our agendas unfold in a way we had not planned. When it comes to our children, they feel these expectations and pressure. This often leads to feelings of letting us down or not meeting our expectations.

Children come into this world curious and interested in learning. Does that mean that they know that they should go to sleep at a certain time or refrain from climbing on a table as they learn motor skills? Of course not. This is how they explore the world around them, curiously. They do not come into this world knowing the do’s and dont’s; however, what they do have is an innate curiosity that all humans are born with, which encourages exploration. We should not strike down this sense of exploration with our own expectations.

The world of exploration is so important. This is how we learn to move in our world. How can you remove your agenda and allow your child’s exploration to flourish? Perhaps you can enjoy their exploration with them?

An agenda does not know your particular child. An agenda does not see the circumstances in which your child lives and breathes. An agenda does not know when your child will need more or less sleep.

How can you release your agenda like a helium-filled balloon and see your child for what and who they really are? Our children are their own people, human beings. They come into this world to share their gifts, and grow and thrive in a way that serves them, not us. They are not here to fulfill our needs, expectations or desires, at any age. The sooner we let go of the need to expect or even control, the easier it is to accept what is in front of and enjoy each moment.

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