How Parents can Deal with Disappointment

The parent-child relationship is one in which a parent invests a lot of their time and effort to make sure that they bring up their child the right way. Naturally, you will have some belief in your child’s potential. It is quite possible that while your child fulfills some of them, she/he may be unable to meet others. This may cause a parent to feel disappointed.

Some of the things children do that disappoint parents are:

  • Not doing well in academics
  • Making poor choices
  • Displaying bad habits

It is understandable if you feel disappointed when your child does any of the above but make sure you take it in the right spirit. Dealing with the situation positively and constructively can make a world of difference to your child. Here are a few tips to help you:

  1. Cope with the moment: Disappointment gives rise to negative emotions within us. It is important to cope with these feelings in the right way so they don’t influence our thoughts or thinking process. When you feel disappointed by something your child has done, don’t fly off the handle and immediately react. Instead, give yourself some space and time to understand why your child acted in an undesirable manner. Put yourself in his shoes. Also, remember that no matter what your child has done, it does not necessarily reflect on you or mean you’re a bad parent.
  2. Open Communication: Talk to your child openly and honestly about your feelings, expressing them in a constructive and non-blaming manner. Encourage your child to share their perspective as well. After discussing with your child, if you feel that the reasons for your disappointment are genuine, then express this to your child calmly. During the conversation, let him/her know what you hope for and how you feel when s/he does not meet those expectations. Also, allow your child to explain themself so you can understand what caused him/her to act in the way they did.
  1. Show the way/another way: Just expressing disappointment at the way your child conducted himself isn’t enough. Ask your child to think of what he could do differently or do better. Help your child. For example, your child has fared poorly in a subject. Discuss with him what needs to be done. Should he spend more time studying and practicing math or go for tuition or, can you spare a few hours to guide him during the weekends?
  2. Keep believing in your child: If it so happens that your child disappoints you repeatedly, you may lose hope and give up on your child, thinking that you’re fighting a lost battle. At times like these, it is most important to keep believing in them. Perhaps your child is going through a difficult phase and needs your love and guidance to get through it. Remember, change takes time. Support your child and be there for them.
  3. Encourage Responsibility: If the disappointment stems from your child’s actions, guide them to take responsibility for their behavior. Help them understand the consequences and the importance of learning from mistakes.
  4. Focus on Effort, Not Just Results: Emphasize the value of effort and the process rather than solely focusing on outcomes. This can help foster a growth mindset and resilience in your child.
  1. Be disappointed in the specific instance: Disappointment can make us lose sight of the bigger picture. Sure, your little one may be always getting into trouble over the same thing, but there are so many lovely, wonderful things about him. Remember, your child doesn’t have to change himself but only work on what is holding him back from meeting his potential. So, when you are speaking to him about it, avoid generalizations like, ‘You always let us down’. Instead, try to focus on the specific problem area and see how you can work on this together.
  2. Be forgiving: Letting go of your hurt or disappointed feelings and forgiving your child is a step forward. A large part of forgiveness comes from not taking the child’s behavior personally. Revisit your expectations, if they are unreasonably high, reset them. For example, you may be disappointed that your child is not good at sports. However, it is important to realize that not all children are athletic and that your child’s talents may lie elsewhere. So, it is unreasonable to hold on to disappointment that stems from behavior or a characteristic your child cannot change. Instead, make sure your child gets a chance to explore their abilities and skills in other fields. Encourage her as she tries out new activities.
  3. Give opportunity to make amends: Along with forgiving your child, also give him a chance or create opportunities for him to make amends. For example, if you find that it was a mistake on your child’s part to fight with a classmate or schoolmate, encourage him to apologize and make up. That is how he will learn to behave responsibly. At the same time, your child will also feel happy to know that he has regained your trust.
  4. Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate your child’s achievements, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation.

The parent-child bond is a deeply emotional connection. Therefore, at times, one or both sides are left hurt by the actions of the other. Disappointment is part and parcel of this relationship, but if handled effectively, it can be used to strengthen the parent-child bond.

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