Parenting: Where is That Manual? – Part 3

We are rolling along the highway of life and the tire goes flat or we end up in a ditch as the result of an unwise decision. Yes, life happens and things don’t always go as expected.

In early childhood, it is difficult for our children to understand that derailing is sometimes part of life and we can pull ourselves out of tough situations. Disappointment happens. In fact, it is to be expected. Things won’t always go our way, and that’s okay. 

Wait, that’s not okay! We teach in our society that everyone deserves a trophy and no one should be disappointed. But if we’ve made it to an age to become a parent, we know that disappointment is, in fact, part of life.

Teaching our children how to accept and overcome disappointment are valuable and essential life skills. 

Some call the ability to withstand and overcome adversity grit. So how do we teach our children and teens how to bear the let downs life brings?  Believe it or not, they learn to handle disappointment with grace by you modeling what that looks like for them. What do you do when you are disappointed? Expect their behavior to follow your example. I know, sometimes that’s not pretty. Hang in there.

Even if we blow it when we are frustrated by circumstances, we can communicate with our children what we could have and would do differently the next time. We model self-respect and respect for others as we model recovering from our disappointments. 

When your child isn’t invited to a birthday party or picked for the Varsity team, talk with your child about their feelings. Allow them to express their hurt, anger, disappointment without judgment or belittling their feelings. We can validate, even if we don’t completely understand. 

Communication with your child, at any age, is essential to parenting success! 

Promote a strong relationship with your child through active listening and seeking to understand their experiences. If you’re not as engaged as you’d like to be, begin by asking open-ended questions and become interested in your child as if they are in charge of the assisted living you will live in when you’re older… because they are. 🙂

Want more information, or need assistance parenting? Please reach out to one of us at GROW Counseling. We are happy to walk along the confusing and rewarding path of parenting with you.

Written by: Allison Wray