CareGiver Guide

You can't care for another until you care for yourself…first!

Having: Expectations – Day 7

We all have expectations. Some of us tend to expect the best, others, the worst. What we might not have considered, is the affect of our expectations on those we care for.

Researchers conducted a simple experiment to show the power of expectations. Here’s how the experiment went.

Research was being done with laboratory rats. The rats were put in cages labeled either  ‘smart rat’ or ‘stupid rat.’ But the rats were really all the same. The sign designated their ‘intelligence.’

When the researchers (who were unaware that there really was no difference among the rats) performed their tests, the rats in the cages marked ‘smart’ always outperformed the rats in the other cages.

How the researchers interacted with the rats changed based on the label on the cages. Effectively, the ‘smart’ rats were expected to do better; those rats were treated differently and they wound up doing better than the rats labeled ‘stupid.’

The same holds true with people. Expectations affect the performance of children, students, soldiers and those with physical impairments such as blindness. Source: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/544/batman

Given this research, Care Givers have to be aware of their expectations as they interact with the person they care for.  If the Care Giver is worried and fearful, it will affect the mindset of the person being cared for. Guard against bringing your expectations into your care giving activities.

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