When talking to your kids about changes or things that could be disappointing, it’s all in how you present it that will help how they respond. You might need to shift the way you think about things or talk to your kids about things, but if you are disappointed about or not excited about something, your feelings will often rub off onto them.
We were just on vacation. I received a text from one of the moms asking which teacher Abigail was assigned for school. Oh man. We were out of town. I always remember, as a child, really looking forward to finding out teacher assignments throughout the summer. The day the classroom lists were posted at the school, I made my mom drive me to the school in anticipation of what teacher I would have for the upcoming school year. There was so much excitement involved in the process. Who would be my teacher? Would my friends be in my class? What exactly would the next school year look like for me? So, as I got the news that people were receiving their teacher assignments at Abby’s school, that anticipation began to build again. I was so curious who she would have and which friends would be in her class. I had a particular teacher I was really hoping to get.
When we arrived home from vacation, getting the mail was the first priority. Abby and I headed out together to find out the news. I opened the mail and was delighted to see the name of the teacher we really wanted. Fabulous. Then, I started to text around to find out which of Abby’s friends (and the parents I had become closest to) were also in her class. Not one of her closest friends are her class.
This is a pivotal moment on how to present that news to Abby. I could choose to say, “Abby, I’m so sorry. None of your friends are in your class next year. I’m sure you’ll make new friends. Don’t be sad about it.” Instead, I chose a different tactic. I went and told Abby that I had good news. I told her that she has the opportunity to make so many new friends next year. I let her know that none of her current close friends that I contacted were in her class but that she will get to meet so many new people. I let her know she will still be able to see her other friends at recess, but it will be so wonderful to make new friends.
She responded positively immediately. She said, “That’s good. I’m good at making friends.” I assured her that she was indeed good at making friends. Would she have had the same positive attitude if I had approached it differently? Perhaps. We’ll never know. However, I was delighted to find that looking on the positive side of the situation rubbed off on Abby. She is now excited she got the teacher she hoped for and will make a whole bunch of new friends next year. Encouraging.
There might still be disappointment when you try and present the positive. I have heard of parents who have a positive attitude and never can understand their own child’s continual downer attitude. I have read in the book “Brain Rules for Babies” (affiliate) that some kids are born with a “happy gene.” This is the reason why you can see kids who grow up in a similar environments either strive or head for destruction. However, if you stick with it and model emphasizing the good, I believe it can help your child see a more positiver perspective on live. Your approach and attitude toward things does influence your child more than you can imagine. There is a combination of nature and nurture, so you will have to continually check yourself and your own attitude to try and rear your child toward a more positive perspective.