What folks never tell you, though, is that this is just part of the gig. As a parent, no one knows your children like you do. You know how they’ve been taught and what you’ve modeled for them. You know them at their best and expect them to be at their best in most (if not all) situations. But, of course, your child is human. Inevitably, he or she will fall short of your expectations. So what do you do when your child disappoints you? Here are 3 suggestions.
1. Have boundaries, not expectations.
2. Recognize what is yours—and what isn’t.
This comes from our own sense that somehow our child’s failure is our failure. Of course, this is both true and not true at the same time. It is true that no one has influenced your children to the degree that you have. They’ve learned so much about what it means to live life by living life with you. Perhaps you could’ve done things differently to set them up to succeed. At the same time, they aren’t robots. They’re people. Just like you made choices as a teen that really weren’t about your parents, your kids will, too. As much as possible, we need to guard against owning too many or too few of our kids’ failures. Sometimes kids just do dumb things. It’s that simple.
3. Don’t let disappointment define them.
All of us fall short at times. We fail. We disappoint ourselves and others. None of us ever wants to be defined by our worst moments. So don’t do that to your child. What could you do differently? What could she do differently? How might you paint a picture of a different future for him? Maybe you’ll learn something about him that helps you understand better what he’s dealing with (“I never wanted to be on the basketball team anyway.” Or “I have trouble sleeping at night, so I just surf the internet on my phone.”). You may even learn something about yourself that you need to shift (“It t