Dealing with Disappointment

Once Kaitlyn gets her mind set on something, it can be difficult to get her to have any flexibility in her thinking at all.  Amber says that when she gets like that, she is being stubborn and hard-headed like me, but I don’t see it.

Knowing that about her, we are careful in making plans, and when we do, we are even more careful in when we let her in on our plans.  The last thing we want is the meltdown that almost always comes with a change in plans.  It is not pretty, and we never quite know the length or severity.

Over the weekend, she did pretty good with me being out-of-town for a few hours, and I made it back home almost exactly when I promised her that I would, so we were good on that.

Then, she was really looking forward to a family friend coming over for a little bit to hang out.  Plans were made, and Kaitlyn sent her several texts, using Amber’s phone, to confirm (the whole 6 year old texting issue is for another post).  Kaitlyn was really excited.  And then nothing happened.  5:00 came, nothing.  6:00 came, nothing.  Kaitlyn was becoming more and more upset with each passing hour.  And there was nothing Amber and I could do about it.

When these situations come up, Amber and I decided long ago that we are not going to cover for anybody or sugarcoat anything.  We are honest with Kaitlyn, and we tell her it is ok to be disappointed.  What we would really like is for someone to actually see how badly she hurts when she gets her hopes up and is ultimately let down.  Amber and I are the ones that have to face it every time.  Usually it goes something like this:  Kaitlyn gets let down or disappointed by someone, Amber and I are honest with her and don’t cover for them.  Kaitlyn becomes really upset and starts crying uncontrollably, wondering aloud what is wrong with her that people let her down without even seeming to care.  And this meltdown usually lasts anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, sometimes into the next day.

Why did I share this today?  It wasn’t to try to convince anyone that Amber and I are good parents.  It was to provide readers with a glimpse into the depths that disappointments sting Kaitlyn emotionally.  She is a very emotional little girl, more so than a vast majority of her friends.  She takes everything personally.  And yes, Amber and I are the ones picking up the pieces.  The general pattern for someone who disappoints Kaitlyn is that they do not think twice and they move on.  Do I expect everyone to make Kaitlyn the center of their universe?  Absolutely not.  But what I do expect, and what is not unreasonable, is for people to give her the courtesy of telling her themselves when they cannot follow through on a promise.

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2 responses

  1. Oh how that is so true! Common courtesy to let a child know when plans are changed. You do, however, sound like amazing parents!

    1. Thank you. We try hard to be everything for our daughter and fail all too often as well. Each failure is a chance to for us to learn and grow as parents.

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