Disappointment is actually GOOD for our children
You are the best. You are the best singer. The best painter. The best at football. The best at tidying up. The best at reading. Oh and writing, sewing, archery, baking and quantum physics. Does this sound familiar? It is to me.
We do tend to raise our children by telling them that they are the best at every single thing that they do. We want them to feel confident and to know how proud we are of everything that they try to do. But are setting our children up for a fall? Is the reality of life a bit of a shock when they soon realize that they may not be the best at doing everything?
If we fast forward to state examinations, CEO points and college offers it becomes apparent that our children’s schooling is rife with potential disappointment. It’s a series of trying and potentially being disappointed at the end of it. It’s essentially a dose of adult life. We all experience disappointment throughout our relationships, hobbies, and careers. Often we try to excel and sometimes we just fall slightly short. It is an uncomfortable feeling but one that we have developed an ability to cope with throughout our adolescent and adult years.
As parents, we hate to see our children disappointed. It’s just not a nice emotion. It paints a reality that isn’t full of happy times and good experiences. But at the same time, it is real. In many ways, disappointment is not a bad emotion because it actually aids in our children’s emotional and intellectual development. For this reason, we should not do everything in our power to avoid it at all costs.
Disappointment, for adults anyway, can feel a bit like a failure. Something, someone or a situation has failed you. It does not feel good but it also highlights what is important to us and what is at stake in certain social or working situations. Disappointment is connected with loss. It is connected with having a goal or an end result in mind and falling short of it in the end. Children react to disappointment in many different ways. Some react in a way that is likely to lead to more disappointment in the future. They may give up easily or quit completely. Eventually, this will lower your child’s self-esteem which is something that as parents we want to avoid as much as possible.
As parents, the way we respond to our children’s disappointment will affect the way that they respond to life in general. The last thing we want to do is add further disappointment to their minds by reiterating the fact.
What can we do instead?
Instead, we can show our children that disappointment is a normal part of life and highlight the importance of trying. We can show our children how proud we are of their efforts. We can tell them that we believe in them. Essentially we are saying that these situations can be difficult but it is not a reason to give up or feel bad about themselves.
Letting our children experience disappointment and offering a healthy perspective. We know that they will survive these disappointments and reach their goals if they keep trying – we just have to gently show them this.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at Family Friendly HQ. Tracey also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie