What happens when life doesn’t go your way?
How do you handle disappointment?
A relationship ends, your new boss is a piece of work, your portfolio crashed, the house you really, really wanted got scooped up by someone else.
These events can either send you down a dangerous rabbit hole of despair, or they can be bumps in the road.
You can waste enormous amounts of time and energy on them—which you’ll never get back, or you can take some time to process them and move on in a healthy way.
You can take out your pain on other people, or you can engage in helpful dialogue.
You can make it a living drama, or you can choose to not let it take over your precious life.
I’m sure you’ve seen adults who have not learned to handle disappointment very well. Perhaps these people are close friends and family. Being around them is hard work.
Unfortunately, these patterns usually start in childhood.
I’m guessing that you don’t want your child to turn out like that.
Your children are only under your roof for a relatively short period of time. What you do now doesn’t just impact how they behave at home.
And in order for them to avoid unnecessary suffering, you have to help them learn how to handle life when it doesn’t go their way.
You have to teach them RESILIENCE.
Resilience is what lets things bounce off you, because you’re stronger than whatever those “things” are. Resilience is knowing that whatever happens to you, you can handle it. Resilience is not allowing life to tear you down.
There’s one little problem with teaching resilience.
You can’t just explain the concept or give the child a book. You can’t just have a “talk” about it.
Instead, teaching resilience is an experiential learning. In other words, your child learns by doing.
Luckily, you’ll have hundreds of opportunities in the course of parenthood.
Any time your child experiences a situation that doesn’t go his way is an opportunity to teach resilience.
She can’t eat ice cream before dinner. He has to clean his room. She didn’t get the medal. He can’t watch another video. She doesn’t like that teacher.
If your child keeps resisting the situation, he or she remains locked in a state of unhappiness. You don’t want to see your child unhappy, and sometimes you just want to get on with it. So you might be inclined to just let her have the ice cream this time, or let him skip the cleaning.
But when you do this, you are teaching your child that he or she doesn’t need to experience disappointment. You set him or her up to think life will mold itself to your child’s wishes.
Result: the self-entitled adult, incapable of empathy, who continues having tantrums well into adulthood.
That’s why it’s imperative that you teach resilience now. Ultimately, you want to move your child from fixating on the disappointment to accepting it.
Instead of solving all his problems or removing all his pain, you’ll help him be with his difficult feelings and learn to move through them.
When your child can do that, he’ll learn an invaluable skill that will serve him for the rest of his life.
Helping your child become comfortable with disappointment now will help him thrive as an adult—so that he handles life better, avoids unnecessary suffering, and is someone people want to be around.
As a parenting educator, my job is to empower moms and dads like you with tools that make parenting less stressful while teaching your children to better cope with stress. For a detailed explanation of how to help build resilience in your child, I invite you to try my program Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes. You’ll learn how to teach resilience through in-depth advice and specific strategies you can use from toddlerhood to teenager.
From the beginning of the program, you’ll craft a vision for how you want your parenting journey to unfold and what kind of an adult you want your child to become.
With this clarity, we’ll look at the not-so-obvious reasons why your child behaves the way they do—and why you react the way YOU do in those moments.
Instead of getting blindsided by angry tantrums, bargaining, and pouty-ness, you’ll learn to use the multitude of parenting opportunities to teach your child resilience. It’s not just about letting your child feel his sad feelings and move through them. It’s also about how you communicate with your child—how you respond instead of react. You’ll learn how to help build resistance while also making your own journey as a parent much less stressful.
As you do this with a focus on the future, you’ll be relieved to see how much your child transforms in the present—and how much happier you are as a parent.
Little by little, you’ll learn how to guide your child to true acceptance, which makes it so much easier for her to handle the next bump in the road—to the point that you’ll one day realize parenting is so much less stressful.
The wonderful bonus of all this is that instead of spending so much time and energy locked into fruitless negotiations with your child, your relationship and bond will deepen. And that’s when the magic happens.
See, the crux of my work is all about creating a strong—resilient—attachment with your child. It is through the strength of this attachment that you can better whether any disappointment together:Learn How To Build Resilience
If you haven’t guessed by now: as you teach your child resilience, YOU become more resilient when disappointments cross your path.
P.S. When your child is dead-set on something, you might resort to reasoning with him about it.
But this rarely works, because in a moment of not getting what he wants, your child is operating from an emotional place. No matter how you try to engage his intellect, your words won’t get through.
The fix is acknowledging the emotion first. Here’s how to do it:Why Reasoning Doesn’t Work