Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teaching Your Child About Disappointments

Parents want their children to lead happy, productive lives. This is usually a good thing unless they go overboard and become “helicopter” parents (always hovering). Shielding a child from disappointment, and handling tasks she can do for herself will lead to bigger problems down the road.

Disappointment is a part of life, a lesson everyone needs to learn. Not everyone gets what they want, and things don’t always go our way; if they did, the world would be full of chaos. Focus on teaching your child how to deal with disappointment. Parents who teach their children life strategies will raise children who will grow up to become well-balanced as adults.

Things are difficult before they become easy. Your child may not master riding a bike on the first attempt, or play a piece flawlessly on the piano. Encourage your child to push through her difficulties. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” is a great mantra during difficult times. Show her that grownups struggle too. Show her how to persevere when something is difficult to master. Talk about how great it feels to finally get through that rough patch.

The worst thing parents can do is to step in and solve their children’s struggles. Taking over can lead to a child’s lack of self-confidence or sense of entitlement! Instead, parents should encourage their children. Tell your child you believe in her, give some advice on strategies that might work and then step back and, if appropriate, walk away. The more you hover the more tempted you might be to take over.

When your child does have the tenacity to push through adversity, applaud her efforts! Tell her how proud you are and that you knew he could do it! You’ll be glad you did.

Has your child ever accomplished something difficult? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below.