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Dealing With Disappointment

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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Last month my husband and I went to Paris to take a riverboat cruise to Normandy with four close friends. We had a great time planning the trip and were anticipating a cruise filled with adventure and fun with people we truly care about and enjoy being with. Our airline was engaged in a strike and was cancelling many flights so we decided to leave two days earlier to assure we would make the cruise departure.

After two days, Jimmy became ill and required EMTs to assist him at the hotel. He wasn't hospitalized but we decided to return home before our trip began. It was a difficult decision since he was feeling much better but one that we were confident was in his best interest. Disappointed? You bet! However, we were able to put in in the proper perspective since Jimmy's health was the priority; a trip secondary.

The incident started me thinking about how people respond to disappointments and especially how parents and teachers can assist children to accept disappointments and learn from them. Everyone experiences disappointments to some extent since expectations often don't align with what really happens. A child's team practices every day before the big game and then loses; Your child studies hard for a test and then barely passes; You plan a fun day at the beach and it's raining; All of your friends are invited to a party but you.

I think it is healthy for adults to allow their children or students to feel disappointment and be able to express it. It's never a good idea to make light of anyone's disappointments. Rather, validate how your children feel and help them put the situation in the proper perspective. Talk it through so it doesn't escalate into anger or discouragement. What a wonderful opportunity to turn a disappointing situation into some sort of a positive.

In the "Don't Be That KID! Resource Guide" there are many activities that stress the importance of understanding how we feel and having the ability to honor those feelings at any given time. There are also activities about learning how to be positive.

Our friends went on the cruise and had a wonderful time. They sent us photos throughout the trip which was such a thoughtful thing to do. As for us, we turned our disappointment into a positive by making some medical decisions that we were procrastinating about. The disappointment from the Paris trip is over... Now let's plan the next one!

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