When I was 10 years old, my best friend was invited to a birthday party that I never received an invite for. It was a pool party with ice cream cake. Needless to say, I was devastated.
Of course, my parents could’ve stepped in and asked that I be invited to the party. They could have allowed me to go to the party with my friend even though I wasn’t invited. They could have distracted me with a special evening of fun at home. They didn’t do any of this for me, though. Instead, they let me fill the full force of disappointment with no intervention. As I was going to bed, my mom spoke with me about how I felt about the afternoon, but that was the end of it.
Though is hard at the time, I appreciate what my parents did for me that day.
Many parents these days do whatever they can to keep their children from facing adversity, stress, and disappointments. That is an instinct that I understand. When they do this, though, they keep their children from learning opportunities. If a child is constantly protected from discomfort, they will be more likely to have trouble being disappointed later in life. Learning to cope with disappointment is a key feature to living a balanced life.
So, what should you do? Well, instead of stepping into fix problems your child may be facing, walk them through it. Let them feel their emotions. Allow them to be angry, sad, or feel left out. After the moment is past, sit down and discuss it with them. Help them learn how to move forward. This will help teach them the valuable skill of resiliency.
Yes, it is hard to see your child struggling with things that are painful, but fixing their problems will only create more problems for them in the future.