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As parents, we always want the best things for our kids. But in an attempt to protect them, do we overdo our ‘job’ as a mother or a father? That’s a very important question to ask ourselves especially when we are trying to prepare our kids for the future, helping them deal with an inevitable aspect of growing up—disappointment.
If you are looking for some inspiration in the matter, here are five things that you might find useful:
Help your kids understand disappointment: Encourage your kids to think of disappointment as a math problem. You need to understand it in order to solve it. In fact, deciphering disappointment is the very first step. This may not be the easiest thing to do, but it is important nevertheless. However, don’t jump into dissecting the ‘problem’ as soon as it happens. Go slow. Talk to your kid like a friend and discuss the matter. Why did it happen? What went wrong? What could have made it different? Asking these questions will often offer a fresh perspective.
Encourage the right attitude: Not being able to make it to the school soccer team, not being accepted by the preferred colleges, or not being asked on a prom night—each one is disappointing in its own way. But you need to help them understand that nothing is the end of the world. Help them explore the other avenues. If something did not work out, encourage them to explore other opportunities. All of us have had our own share of setbacks. Why not share your own story with your kid?
Avoid offering consolation gifts: No matter how much your heart aches for your kids, giving a consolation gift is not a great idea. Allow them to pull themselves up. Yes, that will take time but that time will be well-spent on building their character.
Do not criticize: A cynical approach is also wrong and is not recommended. You might be just adding salt to injury in doing so. Remember, reviewing a situation critically is not equal to criticizing it with all your might. Empathizing is key. Understand your kid and deal with the situation with patience.
Remember how you react to disappointments: We often forget that we as parents are the immediate role models our kids have. Whether we like it or not, they will pick up the attitudes from us. It is very important to deal with disappointments in our personal life with grace and logic so that our kids learn to do the same.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world because, as they as, it does not come with a handbook. But we are all of us in this together. Here are our two cents on how we feel we as parents can help our kids come to terms with disappointments. Do you have any more suggestions to add? Why not leave it in the comment section?
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