What do you do when your teen faces huge disappointments?
If you are anything like me, you want to jump in, take away the pain, and make everything okay.
I was recently faced with a circumstance that made me want to jump into action! I had all kinds of things running through my mind (not all good things, to be honest!) I wanted to take control of the situation and manage the outcome. BUT I DIDN'T!
By the grace of God, I was able to get my emotions in check and step back as an observer and support them.
The truth is, the pain is theirs to experience. As much as we want to take all the pain away from our teens when we do, we keep them from growing through the situation.
Let's face it: the disappointments are many for our teens now: pandemic, cancelations, being sent home from college, relationship strains, social media pressure, college choices dashed......I can go on, but you get the picture!
So how do we support our teens in the midst of disappointment?
~Let them know that you are there for them. No one wants to feel like they are alone struggling through a situation. Be fully present for them while they are suffering.
~Don't let your emotions overcome the situation. I temporarily got really emotional and it wasn't helpful for my teen. Take a step back and evaluate your words carefully.
~Go to the throne....not the phone. Pray for your teen to not be hardened by the trial, but to become resilient and move on if necessary.
~Don't lessen the emotions for them. It's okay to feel disappointed in someone's behavior or actions. Encourage them not to stuff the emotions, but to feel them and move through them.
~Empathize with them. It's hard when things don't turn out like we thought they would. Let them talk and listen to them without judging them. Let them know you hear them and understand their big emotions.
~Encourage them that this situation is just temporary. The big feelings they are feeling will eventually heal and things will get better. When we are in the midst of suffering or disappointment, it seems like it will never end; remind them that the pain is part of what makes us alive. Without pain, we would never understand true love. They may not be able to control their circumstances, but they can control their thoughts and feelings about their circumstances.
~Remind them that unfairness triggers their brain to fight, flight, or freeze. Whenever we perceive unfairness, we want to jump into fight mode (if that's your pattern). This is what I experienced.....and as a matter of fact, everyone's brain reacts to unfairness.
What tips do you have for your teen going through disappointment?