Parenting is difficult. But the most ideal people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths because these persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
As parents we would never wish ill on our children. In fact, the mere idea of their suffering can make us break out in a cold sweat. We work hard day in and day out to provide a safe, stable environment, and we attempt to give them as many opportunities as we can possibly find. We want our children to live in a beautiful, cheerful world of smiles and splendor. Our love is unconditional and deep. We can watch them sleep and feel our hearts melt. God has given us a great blessing with our children, and we do our best to cherish that blessing with every fiber of our beings.
Every one of us encountered trials and tribulations; unforeseen problems or consequences that may give us pause. Not one of us is exempt from this hard reality. We would not wish for a new cross or hardship to carry, but we would rather it be our suffering than our child’s burden. There are two important points to consider when obstacles arise: 1) adversity can lead to strength and 2) how our own endurance of hardship becomes a model for our children.
Time after time, we can see people fighting through their circumstances to bring something beautiful to life. Watching our children suffer disappointments, not getting invited to a classmate’s birthday party or not making an important team, is painful. However, disappointment is a necessary part of growing up.
Modeling appropriate behavior when things don’t go our way teaches our kids to handle disappointments. For example, you have taken your child on a wonderful vacation. At the end, you ask how he enjoyed the respite, only to hear “It was OK, but a lot of it was boring.” You may be crushed, but you can’t force your own expectations about spending quality time together on your child. The key is to not overreact with a hurtful response, but instead to ask a specific question such as “What was your favorite part of the vacation?” This type of redirection will encourage your
child to see the good parts of the experience. It’s important to step back and let the child use these new skills allowing him to be responsible for his/her own feelings.
Help your child find his/her strengths. One of the most common disappointments children faced is feeling they are not as good as their peers.Failure can turn into a blessing. It can be a motivator to study harder, to practice harder, or to attempt a different approach.
Success is not always about winning, it is more often about finding another path. Help your child find something he or she can be good at that matches his/her interests. If that is not an option, find another way to approach the goal that takes advantage of his/her abilities.
So, if your child is experiencing a disappointment, be at peace. Use this time to help him grow stronger, happier, and more reflective. By doing so, we teach our kids to become responsible individuals in the future.