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Disappointment is a common emotion experienced by parents when their children don’t meet their expectations or fail to do what was expected of them. As a parent, you work hard to provide the best for your children and to be a responsible caregiver. However, when things don’t go as planned, disappointment can be overwhelming.

When my brother once told me that he would rather experience someone being angry with him vs disappointed, I didn’t understand why. But as I grew older and faced similar situations with my own child, I realized that disappointment carries a heavy weight and often feels like shame. It’s a painful emotion that can leave us questioning our abilities as parents.

I used to believe that if I did everything right, if I was always responsible and showed up the way I wanted to, my child would magically do what I asked and be happy about it. But that wasn’t the case. I remember a specific incident when I asked my child to give me my keys, and she refused. It was shocking because I had done everything right, or so I thought.

When we feel this way, it’s easy to blame our children and think that something is wrong with them. We may label them as defiant, resistant, or aggressive. In reality, this reaction is a form of denial. We project our disappointment onto our children, without taking a moment to understand what might be going on inside them.

As parents, we often strive for approval and try to fulfill our own unmet needs through our children. When our children don’t meet our expectations, we may feel a deep level of disappointment. This disappointment may stem from the heavy expectations placed on us by our own caregivers. We start questioning ourselves, thinking that we should have done more or better.

In moments of disappointment, it’s important to pause and offer yourself kindness. You may hold the belief that your children should listen to you unquestioningly. However, this belief assumes that you have authority as parents without putting in the effort to build a genuine relationship with your children. Your responsibility and desire to take care of everything can hinder your ability to understand your children’s perspectives when they say no or resist your requests.

By slowing down and exploring your own disappointments, you can uncover the root causes and recognize the impact of projecting your expectations onto your children. Remember that your happiness and fulfillment should not solely depend on your children’s actions. Instead work to find that inner sense of approval and contentment, independent of your children’s behavior.

Dealing with disappointment as a parent is challenging, but you can navigate it with self-compassion. When you feel disappointment, take your SafeSeat to reflect on your feelings. Be kind to yourself without believing your stories.

Embrace the moments of disappointment as opportunities for growth and self-reflection. Offer yourself kindness, understanding, and patience as you navigate the complexities of parenthood.