But, disappointment is inevitable.
It may not always seem that way in today’s culture of “everyone’s-a-winner-so-let’s-all-get-a-trophy-and-have-ice cream.” But it’s a part of life. So how do we help our kids deal with disappointment?
I don’t want my kids to get hurt. It’s a necessary part of growing up. Learning how to handle disappoints early on can be a lifelong asset.
With five kids, I’ve had practice in dealing with disappointments. I don’t always get it right. But I’ve learned I have to help my kids through difficult times. Helping them sets them up for success when dealing with disappointments in the future.
It all starts with me.
I’ve learned I’ve got to keep my cool and act like a grown up in tough times. In other words, I’ve got to model appropriate behavior.
As a mom, naturally, the first thing I want to do is make someone pay for hurting my child.
A few years ago my kid was invited to a birthday party, which was rescheduled at the last minute. The problem: My kid didn’t get the memo. How could someone make a mistake like that?!! Right? But, it happened.
The mom had rescheduled because a huge snowstorm was forecast on the day of the party, and my kid, who was not present when the birthday boy announced the change, didn’t know.
Rescheduling the party made perfect sense. Because we didn’t have the information about the snowstorm and the new time, it also made perfect sense that it appeared they’d excluded my kid.
The mom was hugely apologetic but in the interim—the time between when my kid showed up for the non-party and her apology and explanation–I entertained myself with visions of medieval torture devices.
I could’ve easily started a family feud. But somehow I kept my cool and served as a model for my kid.
There’s not always an explanation.
Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we’d planned or hoped. Sometimes people are just jerks.
In either case, modeling appropriate behavior shows our kids how to cope in tough times. It teaches them other people don’t control their behavior and feelings.
We shouldn’t try to protect our kids from disappointment, even though it’s a natural inclination of a mom. Shielding them from disappointment is tempting. But it doesn’t give them an opportunity to grow.
It may set them up for a lifetime of disappointment. They can’t expect to come out on top all the time.
When my kids face disappointment, I have ESP: Encouragement, support, and prayer.
How they deal with disappointment and where they choose to draw strength will directly impact them. And ultimately their happiness in life.