This post was written by Aimee, a wonderful mom (and great friend) who has agreed to share her incredible perspective with us.
How to Support and Deal with Disappointment in Motherhood
I find myself in an all too familiar position in those moments wondering if this value is really worth the hard work. Thoughts like, “what are my priorities again?” and “I am not in the mood to deal with this” can threaten an opportunity for learning and growth (for all of us!).
Disappointment is a common emotion during childhood. Children naturally experience it as we learn that the world around them does not bend and adapt to their will as often as they would like. Disappointment can also develop as children experience accountability for their behavior.
As a parent, it’s important to me that I not shy away from or immediately relieve my child. I want to help them process their disappointment so that they experience growth, understanding and maturity. Processing disappointment is great for their psychological health.
Ways to Help Kids Process Disappointment are;
1) Allow kids to express their feelings by letting you and themselves know what they feel. I always encourage my kids that they can tell me anything they are feeling as long as they do it in a respectful manner. Don’t ever skip this step because the next one will be the hard part for kids and learning opportunities often need to be an open forum.
2) Help them gain perspective. This means thinking beyond feelings and now considering the facts. Kids need lots of help with this and will often NOT appreciate what we have to share with them. Don’t give up! Stick to your parenting guns and share honestly with your kids. In time, they will learn to walk themselves through this process as it becomes a habit and you will get to take a much needed break.
3) Help them examine themselves – what caused the disappointment in the first place and do personal values need to be readjusted. This is a more mature concept and should be gently encouraged as kids show the ability. Keep in mind that it will be more effective if this comes from the kids and could feel like criticism if the child is doing mostly receiving on this step.
The nuts and bolts of overcoming disappointment with children are often gritty at best. I have a seven year old that I have been working with on this very subject since he was little. His capacity for understanding reality has quite a bit of room for growth, even for a seven year old. He couldn’t be any sweeter of a kid but even tonight was tough. He decided that I should give him a third helping of dinner even though he was already in bed for the night. I prepared myself for the fallout. We are mostly past the screaming stage these days and on to the more sophisticated, “I will wear you down slowly over the next two hours” stage. His negotiating skills are scary good. I have prepared myself for a longer evening because negotiating and discovering that he isn’t going to get his way is part of his process.
For a number of years we were stuck somewhere between steps one and two. My son is a natural at expressing his feelings and eventually I had to give him a time limit so that we could continue the lesson. Not all kids are ready to gain perspective and examine themselves. As their mom, I pay attention to what is sinking in and what is still floating somewhere over their heads. I offer my son age appropriate facts knowing that he is growing and occasionally I see some things clicking. As for step three, I will leave that for them to explore on their own initially. If I begin to see a pattern in their behavior that consistently causes disappointment, I might make a suggestion.
Through the craziness of parenting,
I am slowly learning that my perfection as a parent is not the way to raise healthy kids.
Providing them with a safe place to experience, like only a kid can, and process their disappointment is crucial. Seeing meltdowns as opportunity positions me to train them for what life will bring their way. The practice of processing disappointment is so much more important than doing it right every time.
Aimee is a mom who is now showing others the benefits of using natural oils to deal with the daily realities of motherhood. To learn more about those oils and the benefits of them you can find her on Instagram and her website.