Why we shouldn't shield our kids from disappointment: encouragement for helping kids deal with frustration and situations where they feel let down. 

The other day, while the kids were coloring, my 6 year old Will was complaining because he didn’t have as many different colors as Leah, who is 3. He was also upset because her box of crayons was newer than his (honestly, what WON’T kids fight about?) :)

While I was tempted to say, “maybe you should go get some more colors” or “you can open another new box”, I stopped and considered. Then I said something like this instead:

“Will, rather than thinking it stinks because Leah has more colors than you, you could be glad for Leah that she gets so many different colors to choose from and you can be happy that she gets to have the new box this time around.”

He looked at me rather skeptically, so we talked a little more. We talked about how we are called to consider others better than ourselves and look out for the interests of others and not only for our own gain (Philippians 2:3-4). I shared with him that it is hard to do this and that God wants us to show preference to others, even if things don’t always seem fair.

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The situation got me thinking that we shouldn’t shield our kids from disappointment, no matter how tempting it is. In real life, everybody doesn’t always get the blue ribbon or the gold star and only one person wins the race. 

I’m certainly not saying that we should demean our children or belittle their efforts, in fact, encouraging them to do their best and helping them find solutions to different situations is a great way to promote critical thinking! But helping our kids deal with disappointment or a seemingly unfair situation in a healthy environment (our home) teaches them to shift the focus from themselves to the other person. 

The end result? Hopefully that their heart will be glad when another person wins the top prize or the game and that they can say “good job!”, not grudgingly or because they have to, but because they see that it’s really great when someone else does well!

The end result with Will? He wasn’t really crazy about the whole idea at first, but I could see the wheels turning in his little mind. And it’s good to get our kids thinking :)

How do you help your kids deal with disappointment?


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16 Comments on Why We Shouldn’t Shield our Kids from Disappointment

  1. Love this! One thing I do CONSTANTLY is remind my children that no matter what happens, the only person who can make them happy inside – is them. No one else has that power so it’s up to them to choose contentment or joy! Thanks for linking up!!!

    • That’s a great reminder for our kids–that “as a man (or child) thinks in his heart, so is he!” (Prov. 3:27)

  2. Wow! i love this! my little guy is only 16 months but I’m trying to create good habits for myself in how I deal with things now, when he’s whiny or fussy. This is such a good perspective! I love how you took the time to explain it to him instead of just telling him to be happy…

    I favorited this to come back to and read again as my boy grows!!! what great advice! :)

    • Thank you for coming by! It’s definitely good to think ahead, even though your little guy is still super young, he will grow up quickly! :)

  3. OH, I struggle with this all the time! Just today at the park my daughter and her best friend got in an argument and I wanted so badly to just smooth it all over and make it go away. This is a great word! But so hard to live out….Thank you for sharing it.
    And thank you for linking up with me!!!

  4. That’s a great idea. I often have to deal with situations like that in my home too. My younger daughter has a strong sense of what is fair and what isn’t. Thanks for giving me another (better) way to deal with those situations and remind them what God expects of all of us!

  5. As they grow…the opportunity to learn from failure will grow them…into leaders and with the ability to handle life’s challenges…too many today depend on Mom/Dad calling their boss to find out why they were fired or did not get a raise or promotion….LOVE the way you are growing Godly children! Thank you for this post….it is a blessing and great reminder to me!

  6. Great post Jenn! It’s hard to see my kiddos “suffer” but you’re right. Life if full of “unfairness” and learning early to respond in a Biblical manner is a skill they will use their whole lives.

  7. Amen! I have had the same feeling lately! You’re right, rather than “fixing” it or brushing the problem off, address and encourage them to find a solution or be grateful otherwise. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder in this!

  8. Aubrey has trouble with thos concept too! I will definitely try this way though! Thanks Jen!

    • Hope it helps! It’s definitely a gradual learning process but then it sticks (hopefully) instead of just a quick fix :)

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