I’m an introvert, and as much as I like people, cancellations have always offered a silver lining to me. Not so much my children, however. Seeing events and activities they've been looking forward to for months all cancelled in minutes is hugely disappointing. It’s in the best interests of everyone, it’s par for the course, it’s life. We all get that, but watching our kids process the pain of disappointment still tugs at the parental heart strings. While there was some joy at our place that this week's school cross country is now not going to happen, for the most part some major excitements and high hopes have once again been dashed, and that's a bit tough. These are big feelings for our kids, leaving a lot of parents lost for words and a little bewildered regarding how best to help.
When it comes to supporting our children through disappointment, it's helpful to remember that this is actually a valuable opportunity for connection. Connection is a great antidote for disappointment, perhaps even the only antidote. It seems overly simple, but to be allowed to feel sad and to share it with someone who understands the sting of the loss is profoundly helpful. As parents, we need not be too quick to stuff a replacement into the hurt. Instead, take time to sit with your child – feel it, share it, then together plan next steps.
Another brilliant tool for processing disappointment is helping someone else. We can ask our kids – who else is disappointed and how can we get alongside them to share the load?