Accepting Disappointments

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day, and I wanted to share here some of the thoughts I expressed to her.

If you want your children to not pitch fits and be accepting of disappointments, look at yourself and see how you react to unpleasant things. Children don’t know how to subdue emotions. When their daddy gets home from work, they rush about and shriek with delight, then run to him and hug his leg fiercely. While you, too, are glad your husband is home, more often than not, it will be a mere kiss on the cheek and nonchalant, “How was your day, dear?”

You don’t rage and pout and scream when you were planning to make cookies but realized at the last minute that you were out of eggs. But you may very well mope and feel sorry for yourself if you were planning to go out all week and then one of your children starts throwing up.

Children’s emotions are raw and exposed. Adults are more adept at hiding them. Children have happy “fits”, bursts of extreme, nearly uncontrollable joy when something happens that they like. And, on the other hand, they also have meltdowns and temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.

My suggestion is, that while you are trying to mold their behavior and explain that the temper tantrum is not acceptable, also let them in on your own daily disappointments so you can model to them the right kind of behavior.

Many of the little frustrations a mother faces daily are things that our children wouldn’t even catch on to. But make a point of telling them, and showing them how you react to them. When you were planning on making steak for dinner, and then at the last minute realized there was leftovers that needed to be used, call your children over to you. “Dears, I was going to make steak for dinner tonight, I was really looking forward to trying out that new steak sauce. But look, see this yummy casserole from the other day? If we don’t eat this tonight, then it will go bad and we will have to throw it out. Daddy works hard to earn money to buy this yummy food for us, so we don’t want to throw any of it away. Oh well…. we can have steak tomorrow night!” Then put a smile on your face as you reheat your leftovers.

“Hmm, Mommy was just looking forward to taking a nice hot shower, but there is no hot water, so I’ll have to take one later. Oh well….”

“Baby just went down for her nap and I was looking forward to reading this new magazine for awhile, and then she woke right up! *Sigh* Oh well… let’s get on the floor and play with her instead.”

Don’t mask your disappointments in a fake-happy attitude. Let them see that you are truly disappointed. But show them an exceptable way of voicing the disappointment, and also show them that you can then choose to make the effort to be happy, and that it works.

Deal with your disappointments the way you want them to deal with theirs. We spend too much time telling our children what not to do. Be an example for your children, so that they can look to you to see how they should behave.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jennifer said,

    I’m so excited about your blog and I really enjoyed reading it. I cried with you as you lost everything, then rejoiced with you as God provided. This most recent post is excellent. Lately I’ve been noticing this very thing–I’ll get angry with my children for acting a certain way, then suddenly realize they learned it from me 😦 Thank you for this excellent post and I look forward to reading more!

    Miss you!

  2. 2

    Thank you for your kind words, Jennifer! I’m sorry we had to up and move on you when we were just getting to know each other better. It was so enjoyable to visit with you when we did live there.

    I love you, sister!

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