How to Help Kids Deal With Disappointment
Ah, the Joyful, Joyful, Holiday....
About this time, parents can finally let their hair down and relax .....
then, some of the kids are just simply 'let down'.
The holidays can do that to them. Their expectations are full of memories of the past traditions, the excitement and the anticipation of some grand things under the tree! It can be challenging to help them through these next few days. I can understand.
Remember back in October, when superstorm Sandy came by and wiped out several things? For some it was devastating, but we were lucky here (considering it was only a temporary power loss, trees down and some debris, etc.). Oh yes, that's right, another thing was affected: Halloween. Not the day itself (October 31st still came and went), but the traditional way it is celebrated was changed. The county announced that Trick-or-Treat would not be held that day, but instead it would be rescheduled to the following Sunday.
My kids were very disappointed and all I heard from them all afternoon and night was...
"Cancel --- HALLOWEEEEEN????"
"IT'S LIKE MOVING CHRISTMAS TO JANUARY!!!!!!!!"
Okay, well, that last statement might have been a bit dramatic-but she's a little dramatic anyhow...
Yes, my kids were sad (and I have to admit, I was a little too). But I really appreciated the fact that we live in a county and state where they thought of the children's safety and the communities hardship before they chose to be 'liked' or 'agreed with'.
My kids probably coudn't exactly relate; theyre kids and all kids have big expectations. They sometimes have a different vision or perspective than adults do.... (it's that of themselves...)
There's going to be times in our children's lives that:
A) They can't have what they want
B) They're on the verge of getting what they really want, but suddenly something comes along and lets them down...
Sandy was one of those things....
After Christmas there might be another.
Whether it's because you limit what you buy due to budget constraints, personal beliefs or just don't believe in overspending, overbuying, overspoiling, or buying yet another toy they just don't need, or maybe their wish-list items don't quite match your family values...
Your children got what they got but might be disappointed that they didn't get all of what they wanted.
In both of these cases, we need to stand strong in our decisions and do our best to help them cope:
2-Be sensitive but not overly sensitive
3-Understand, but at the same point, remain firm in our position
4-Drive home the positive...and the negative
1. You can empathize without sympathizing (sympathy tells them they are correct for whining about it)
2. Give them some insight into why, without forcing them to be happy (be truthful-age appropriately)
3. Care about their feelings but still stay with your decision (hug them, share a time it happened to you)
4. Offer them a different perspective; something is better than nothing, having a home and good health
Coping skills are important to teach kids when they are let down...
Not getting what we want will always be a part of life from time to time and offering an empathetic ear, a soothing, understanding voice and a big heart, while helping helping a child know that how they feel is normal - can do wonders.
Disappointment left unaddressed, or ridiculed....
Can lead to a child feeling unimportant, uncared for and neglected. Kids, like you and I, have feelings and they should be validated.
But disappointment paid too much attention...
Can give kids the 'whines' and 'entitlement attidudes' later on.
Well...Halloween was not canceled completely, and my youngest still got to dress up and go to school in his costume, then on Sunday night he came home with a ton of candy.
Disappointment is a part of life, and we can't always have what we want...and it's something which is best taught to kids when they're young.
On a side note:
This post comes from a mother who at 9 months pregnant went to walmart at 3 am to replace her 7 year old daughter's pet goldfish because she was worried about how the little girl would take it when she woke up and found out that Goldie had croaked....
There are some exceptions to the rule....
...or it could have been the hormones.