As a parent, I want my children to grow-up knowing what it takes to be a winner and how to win graciously, but I also feel that it is extremely important for children to learn how to lose and fail in life. When faced with disappointment, how to you manage your feelings, pick yourself up, and carry on?
Learning to Lose and Handle Disappointment
Let’s face it, disappointment is a part of life. Like it or not, in life, we do keep score. There are winners and losers in every situation life throws at us…promotions at work, landing the best deal, scoring the contract, top salesperson, etc. Does it not makes sense that children should learn how to work through emotions like frustration and disappointment, as well as experience losing, so that they can mature emotionally and be able to handle the ups and downs of life as they get older.
It seems many parents put their children in the lead, looking to them for cues on how to parent. Some parents hope to avoid upset and frustration by doing everything in their power to make things work for their children. Children parented in such a manner never come up against the necessary frustration that accompanies facing the impossible. They are deprived of the experience of transforming frustration into feelings of futility, of letting go and adapting. ~ Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate
In their book, Hold on to Your Kids, Neufeld and Mate, go over The Seven Principles to Natural Discipline and the importance of children experiencing “futility”. I would highly recommend this book for gaining an understanding of children in today’s world and what we are faced with as parents of this generation.
Next time, your child is faced with a difficult situation, problem or disappointment, try to step back. Let them attempt to come up with a solution to the problem or possibly come to the realization that there is no solution and that they need to let it go, adapt and move on. Being a problem solver is a life skill and as parents we need to give our children the space to grow and learn, even if that sometimes means making the wrong decision and having to deal with the consequences.
Inside of every problem lies an opportunity. ~ Robert Kiyosaki
This quote applies to all of us. For within every situation there is an opportunity to grow and learn. Without problems, we would never stretch ourselves to become more than we already are, but rather would coast through a life of mediocrity. Don’t deprive your children of the chance to face adversity and come out the other side of it a better person, regardless of whether they have won or lost the battle at hand.
When I look back on my own life, I can see that some of the most difficult situations I’ve faced, proved to be the springboard that took me to a new level in my thinking, relationships and skill level. There are things that I am good at today, only because I took the chance and failed at it yesterday. No one wants to lose all the time, but it does build character and forces you to dig deeper.
Let’s keep score, say “no” more often and celebrate the problems/losses in life as an opportunity to learn, grow and advance beyond our current ability level. You see, win or lose, we are all winners in the game of life. It just depends on how you use the experience to your advantage.