My parents live 10 hours away from us so when my parents tell us they are coming to visit my kids get super excited because they really enjoy my parents. My parents are fun! My parents began their journey to visit us, got super close to us but had to go back home before ever reaching us. My kids were anticipating seeing my parents for weeks so you can imagine they were really disappointed when their grandparents never arrived.
Rather than allowing my kids to wallow in their sorrows, I turned the situation into a teachable moment. I explained to my children that people are going to disappoint them in life so if they learn to anticipate/know that “things happen”, the disappointment blow will not be as bad. I explained that I too was disappointed but because I was able to anticipate such a situation, my level of disappointment is at 40% rather than at 100%. Using %’s really put it into perspective for them.
A couple of days later I asked my kids how they felt about their grandparents not being able to visit. My 9-year-old said she is feeling good. I was so excited I hugged her so tightly. I asked why she was able to deal with it so well and she replied “It’s because of you mommy”. I subsequently asked my 7-year-old the same question and she said she was doing fine. I asked why and she advised she understands now that people will let you down and its usually not intentional.
I learned a few things from this whole situation….
- Don’t take for granted our ability to impact our children in profound ways. This is an important lifelong lesson that I’ve instilled in my children at a very early age.
- Kids really do pick up on our mood. If my kids saw me moping and acting sad and constantly expressing disappointment they would not have been able to work through their disappointment the way they did.
Keep talking to your children, instilling important lessons in them. They are definitely watching and listening to you.