I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Disappointment and Saddness…It’s All Part of Life
I shared a brief conversation with my daughter this weekend about how parents today want to do everything for their children trying not to let them be disappointed or feel let down or defeated. She shared with me that she had been working at camp with a group of children and their adult chaperones. During the day the campers are introduced to games and activities that allow them to build trust and problem solve with their co-campers. Some of the games are designed to shall we say not work out to the campers advantage all the time. Yes, I mean that some of the activities will allow the campers to lose. After the loss, the counselor (my daughter) will introduce the team building aspect of the game which will allow the group to learn to problem solve and work together to find a solution and ultimately win the game or solve the problem. One game in particular is called the “human pretzel” where the participants follow the instructor’s directions and end up “knotted” up together and must figure out a way to untie the human knot without letting go. I’ve actually played this game several times and have found it to be a great learning tool. My daughter shared with me that the adult chaperones had a difficult time letting the youngsters fail; they wanted to stand on the sidelines and tell them how to solve the problem. Allowing them to struggle was difficult for the adults to do; they did not want to see the campers disappointed or let down.
When I was a young girl living on the family farm, everyone participated in the day to day operations of farm life. My brothers and I had chores of varying degrees, depending on our age. As we grew older our chores multiplied as did our responsibilities. There were no free rides in our house. If I was inside cleaning, doing laundry and helping in the kitchen, my brothers were slinging hay bales, feeding the animals or cutting the grass. Not once do I remember my parents feeling guilty because we had chores to do when we would rather be playing with friends. Life required everyone to participate and participate we did. There was time to work and time to play and work came first.
Flash forward to today’s generation and you will find a totally different outlook on children and responsibility. Most parents today seem to want to be more of a friend to their children that a parent. Walking through the local grocery store I see children throwing tantrums because they want certain items and parents just give in to simply shut them up. Crying children seem to get whatever they want whenever they want. Once in a while I will have a student in my classroom who doesn’t want to help clean up or change activities or share a toy and immediately the tears begin to flow. I don’t give in to the tears; often times I simply ignore the tantrum letting the child know that rules must be followed, that we must learn to get along with those around us and that sometimes life is just not fair. Plain and simple. Several years ago I had a parent ask me how I could get her child to behave for me the way she did. Apparently the child conveyed a very difficult behavior at home and the only way the parent could “control” the situation was to give in. After explaining my theory on allowing the child to learn disappointment and difficulty the parent went home and put that into practice. Several weeks later that parent thanked me for my advice and had seen a noticeable change in the child’s behavior. Admittedly going through the learning process is difficult to experience; children must learn to cope with disappointment and sadness. Parents want their children to succeed at everything they do so much so that they will go to great lengths to make sure of it. I know parents who have done their child’s homework or special class projects so they would get a better grade.
We cannot shield our children from the hard knocks of life. Disappointment, sadness, grief, anger, jealousy, etc., are all part of learning and growing from the time we are born. While some new mothers refuse to let their baby cry thinking that it is best for the baby, what they are really teaching that baby is that crying gets results. Now I am not saying that parents should let the babies cry endlessly, what I am saying is that they must learn to self soothe once in a while. As toddlers turn into young children and young children turn into teens, it is our responsibility as parents to allow them to grow and experience the “sucky” parts of life. It is okay to tell a child that their dog died; don’t tell them that the dog is at the hospital or doctor. Trust me they won’t forget; they will wait for that dog to come back. It is okay to take a child to a funeral or tell them that someone has passed away. So many times parents will leave young children at home with a babysitter when a grandparent or elderly family member passes away, keeping them away from the funeral. Shielding them from the reality of life and death will not benefit them in the long run.
Share with your children all aspects of life; the good, the bad and the not so good. Life is not always full of sunshine and rainbows. Life is hard and if we shield our children when they are young from the difficulties of life, they will not be able to handle those difficulties as adults. Do your children a favor and allow them to be disappointed once in a while.
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.