Dealing with Disappointment

It happened. For the first time in his short 12 years of life L learned what is was like to be disappointed by someone other than his family. T and I have been disappointing him his whole life. NO is a common word at our house, which leads to disappointment.

But today I received a text from L. He is now going into 7th grade, which means he auditioned for the Middle School band director and today he found out what band he made.

I was heartbroken for him. I mean he used a sad face emoticon! But after letting him know I was just as bummed as him I reminded him that there is always a positive. There is always next year. I found a wonderful article written by Roni Conen Sandler, PhD. on Coping with Disappointment. The main takeaway I found from the article was with disappointment comes a healing process.

The Healing Process

Since disappointments are inevitable life experiences, it is important for kids to know how to cope well. What does that mean? Well, first to allow themselves to have genuine emotional reactions, which often tell them important information about themselves and their goals. Then they must get up, brush themselves off, and go on to their next endeavor. Throughout this process, young people can develop resiliency and adaptability. Here are some ways parents can contribute:

  • Empathize with kids’ feelings, whatever they are. That way, they will feel heard, validated, and taken seriously. Focusing on our children’s emotions requires, however, that we can recognize and manage our own. Be sure to express that you’re proud of your children’s efforts. After all, if they never fall short of their goals, kids are probably aiming their sights too low.
  • Provide perspective. Communicate that the situation, however distressing, is not tragic. They will recover from their disappointment and find new opportunities. Besides, no school, premier team, or romantic partner is ideal. If they put their minds to it, they can thrive in many different situations. This is one of the most important lessons we get from disappointments and failures. But your kids will believe this message only when they sense that you are not devastated. Teens take their cues from their parents.
  • Be voices of reason. It is true that decisions sometimes are unfair. Summer jobs or internships may go to those with better connections, kids may be sick on the day of an important audition, or the company they want to hire them may institute a job freeze. But rather than dwelling on unfortunate circumstances or blaming other people for their disappointments, guide kids to focus on what is within their control. Parents can convey that it’s time to regroup: “Okay, so now let’s think about other options…” Over time, this helps teens to broaden their thinking and develop creative problem-solving.

As an adult how you deal with disappointment will also be the way your tween or teen deals with disappointment. It is a learned behavior and they are learning by watching you.

Ugh, really …

Wednesday’s I usually like to have a Wednesday Whisper but that was not in the blogosphere plans. (Or my phones)

All I wanted to do was upload a picture, as I have an app to type my blog. I go to my pictures on my phone and most are gone. They are in the blooming iCloud and I can’t get them out!! Then I hit a button and now all my pictures are GONE!

Plus this has been a day. There are only 2.5 days of school left and yesterday was a doozy.

C had the roughest day of school yet and T and I had to act like parents and have a “talk” after dinner. There were discussions and consequences. Parenting is so hard!

Home Alone

home aloneThe tween/teen age is tricky. They technically are old enough to stay home. I know in Texas (my state) there is actually no law about age and staying home alone. Some states do have laws. Everything I found says regardless of the law remember the maturity level of your kid. Some kids just aren’t ready to stay home alone.

The Today Show is running a series right now called, “My Kid Would Never Do That.” The segment I am highlighting has to do with leaving kids home alone and how they react to someone at the door. As a parent you have told your kids the dont’s of staying home alone: don’t open the door, actually don’t even go close to the door, and especially don’t let the person in.

This segment done by The Today Show is eye opening and frightening and made me realize I haven’t told my kids all the don’ts!

Please watch and keep your kids safe.

Would Your Kid Allow A Stranger Into Your Home

When I Grow Up

Remember when you were a kid and dreamed about life as an adult? The dream usually involved a spouse, a house with a white picket fence, a few animals and so many wonderful kids. Now that reality is here and you are an adult, your real life scenario may not look anything like your perfect dream adult scenario from childhood. I mean come on how many of us actually have white picket fences?

I know I had my 3 kids names all picked out and ready to go, then I found Mr. Right and we didn’t have 3 kids much less even come close to using the perfect names I had so meticulously rolled off my tongue for YEARS!

And wonderful… YEAH RIGHT! Now don’t get me wrong my kids are good, but they are no angels. We all have our moments and when that happens I reflect upon the realization that my imagination was playing tricks on me in my childhood.

Parenting is too complex. There are too many moving parts and pieces. We also aren’t dealing with dream kids either; our kids are human beings that come with their own minds, thoughts and actions. No matter how hard we try and control these things for our kids, they are the ones with the ultimate control.

As a parent that reality is so tough to come to terms with. Especially as our kids continue to get older, wiser (we hope) and start to really understand the world around them. They may not continue to believe your beliefs or act as you want them to. And those individuals, your kids, are the reason your parenting dreams of childhood can’t be parenting realities.

10 Things I Want to Thank My Tween/Teen Kids For

It has been an emotional week and L-O-N-G.

What started with a beautiful Confirmation Service led into a number of days of State standardized testing. (Insert whatever slander or obscenities you need), as well as me having jury duty (can you say mentally exhausting! I totally feel for all of you that are court reporters!)

At the end of the week I feel it is time for reflection. So today I want to rave about my kids and here are,
Things I Want to Thank My Tween/Teen Kids For:

1. Thank you for wanting to learn about your religion. There are many kids that would not want to take 6 weeks out of baseball, or whatever competitive sport they were in, to go and sit in a group with people they don’t know to learn about “stuff” that is new to them. But that wasn’t you. In fact when it was all said and done. You thanked me and told me you wished it wasn’t over because you really enjoyed your group and mentors.

2. Thank you for realizing that sometimes it isn’t about you. That when there is more than one kid in the house, you may not be the one getting all the attention (or any). Thank you for being okay with that. I know it is hard.

3. Thank you for being flexible. When it is 7pm on a Tuesday and no dinner in sight thank you for the grace to fix your own dinner. Sometimes mommy and daddy are tired.

4. Thank you for realizing that even though 8:30pm sounds so EARLY for bedtime when you are 12 and 10 and all your friends stay up till who knows when, you go to bed with little argument. I know one day you will thank us for setting a bedtime. Right now your growing body and mind thank us!

5. Thank you for teaching each other. You may not realize it now but you kids are each others best teachers/mentors.

6. Thank you for helping with the daily tasks around the house. I know emptying the dishwasher daily and feeding the dogs get BORING but that is 2 tasks that daddy and I don’t have to do to keep the house running. I love that we are a team.

7. Thank you for FINALLY braving the neighborhood and making friends. I love hearing you say, “Can I go outside? So and So just came over!” This is so exciting to me because some of my best memories are from playing with my neighborhood friends.

8. Thank you for trying your hardest in everything you do. This week has been a tough one and I know without a doubt 110% was put in by you.

9. Thank you for loving your brother. Even when he is hard to love, he is and will always be your only brother and #1 fan.

10. Thank you for loving me and your daddy. We know at times we are hard to love, sometimes you are too. But we would trade the opportunity for the world. With each stage in your life, comes a more incredible chance for our love to grow. You make us extremely proud daily.

Whisper Wednesday

After 6 weeks of small group classes and getting to learn so much, L and 85 other 6th grade and up students were Confirmed in the Faith at our church over the weekend.

This service was amazing. Laying hands, along with our family and Pastor, on my oldest baby as he affirmed that Christ was his Savior brought me to tears. And what ya’ll don’t know about me is, I am not a crier!

But this moment of intimacy was one I felt and will cherish in my heart and soul forever.

When we returned home after the service, L opened a Bible we had gotten him for this special day.

It has his name on it. And the excitement he had on his face receiving this gift given just for him. He said, “Wow, it has my name on it, in gold like the side of the pages!” Then he began looking up verses.

Be still my heart!

L and I -The New Confirmand

Celebratory Dinner

Teamwork

What do all these quotes have in common?

The common theme throughout is TEAMWORK! America is what is known as an individualistic culture. Answers.com defines individualistic culture this way:

An individualistic culture is a culture in which the members’ primary focus is that of themselves and their immediate families.

In contrast to collectivistic cultures where the members are concerned more with the well being of the group than their own well being.

USA is a highly individualistic culture.

I am giving you this little lesson for one reason and that it to say, us as Americans are TERRIBLE team players! We feel that if what ever is going to be done correctly it is just easier if we just complete the work ourselves. Here is the problem in this thinking.

Life doesn’t work well like that!

Unless you live in a hole with no communication to the outside world you have to a work as a team with someone! EXAMPLES: Family, Work, Grocery Store (that is teamwork people!)

Now how can you help your tween/teen become a good team player? Because remember we are teaching them (not on purpose) to be individualistic, so we also need to be teaching them about teamwork!

The first team they join is YOUR family! The best thing you can do is start them young in making them feel like team players. Give them responsibilities (not only does this ease your load, but they feel as though they are a contributing member of this Special Team. There are many great resources about responsibilities at certain ages. I really like this one at www.orgjunkie.com because she too talks about how a family is a team.

Once your children know how a teammate is supposed to act and how when they don’t pull their weight on a certain day, it affects the whole team, they begin to see the world in a less “me-centered” way.

Our kids have to learn how to be good teammates and we are their coaches. We have to let them practice so that when game time comes. They will score a win for whatever team they are on!