Disappointment and failure are two things that you want your child to avoid at all costs as they are growing up.
We all know that having a perfect rosy life isn’t possible and probably isn’t the ideal either and yet we try to provide that for our children; to their detriment.
Let’s start with disappointment.
As soon as your children turn two years old (or often just a couple of months before they turn that amazing age) they start to experience disappointment. They are disappointed that they didn’t get to turn on the light. They are disappointed that they didn’t get the red cup. They are disappointed that they can’t eat the chocolate muffin for dinner. As soon as they fuss and cry to show their disappointment, we want to relieve that discomfort of being disappointed and we give them the chance to turn on the light, we get them the red cup, we get them a muffin and then we become the saviors of the day! Hooray! Disappointment averted!
However, disappointment is the best and healthiest experience for a young child.
Disappointment teaches resiliency, it teaches them about life, it helps them become an adult.
My husband works with young adults and he often talks to me about how parents can shape children to become functional adults. He is currently reading Ownership Thinking: How the End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose and Profit. Apparently this is a hot topic in all business as one google search of “Creating Ownership” will give you pages and pages of how to reduce entitlement. The book talks about how employers should not “rescue” their employees just as a parent shouldn’t “rescue” their children.
We have the option of creating the next generation of adults who aren’t entitled and who feel empowered.
How do we do that? Allow our children to experience disappointment and failure.
Failures are different from disappointment as disappointment is the external world not going your way and failure is when your own actions/ choices/ attempts don’t work as you would have hoped. As your children grow, they will start to have little failures and then bigger failures.
It might start with a lego set that breaks. Or maybe it is a lunch that was forgotten. It might then be a bad grade or forgetting to do homework until the night before. These are all little failures that are important for your child to experience. These are tears that need to fall.
You can be there for your child to give them a hug and, but you can’t fix the failure. Failures are how children learn and grow. Failures are how children become adults.
So don’t avoid these two parts of your children’s lives. Raise your children to become adults!