Aug 25, 201112:00 AMOKC Dad Connection
Helping Your Child Deal with Disappointment
I'm sure her first thought was, "How can I fix this?" It would have been mine. A mother had just been told by her preteen daughter that when the school class schedules were written, her daughter had been separated from her closest friends. All but one of the daughter's friends from last year were now in "the other section." It was obvious that the beginning of this school year would begin with a bit of anxiety.
This father's son (and I literally mean that) received bad news his second day of school. For some reason, the son's school had switched his first and third hours from what they were on the first day. The son was disappointed because he really liked the kids he had been put with during his first hour on the first day. Things were different now. The son didn't like it.
I'm sure you have your own story. You have a story when your young one came to you with disappointment in their tone and demeanor. Maybe you, like me, had the first thought of, "How do I fix this?" Maybe after that first thought, you went a different direction that I believe is best for our kids. Maybe you thought or expressed to your child, "Well, that stinks. You'll just have to adjust." Oh, how tempting it is to march to that school office and demand that this un-justice be reversed, so that your little Johnny or Jane can be happy this year! However, we've been given the duty to raise our kids for the Real World, where as adults, disappointment is all too common.
Face it. Someday, your kids, as adults, may be told, "We're going to have to let you go," or "I don't love you anymore," or "We can't give you the loan" or even "You don't have long to live." Before they get there, as kids, they may hear, "You're not going to be a starter this season," or "You didn't get first chair this time," or "You didn't pass the test," or "I don't want to be your friend anymore."
The action or inaction we take as parents when our kids are faced with disappointment will have a direct effect on the way they handle later life trouble. Challenge your kiddo to adjust and adapt to the bad news and to do their best with their new landscape, whatever it is. Always, call a disappointment what it is...a disappointment. My friend Chris says to let them, "step into the pain." I like that.
Yes, love and support your children through their ups and especially their downs, but think twice about "fixing it" with a temporary solution that may cause a permanent problem.