By Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl
She tried out but didn't make the team. She did her best and still lost. An adult she admired let her down. Exciting plans fell through. Her BFF broke a promise.
It's time to talk about it straight up, but how? Sometimes as a mom, I feel absolutely paralyzed by the pain of watching my children face disappointment. Quite frankly, I hate it and want to just manipulate circumstances to shield them but that would only make the hurt worst. Disappointments are a part of life. Forever. It is important that we equip our daughters with the ability to remain stable in such circumstances, as opposed to shielding her from them. Otherwise, the winds of this world will blow them away in their adult years. Here are four simple tips.
When talking to your daughter when life doesn't go the way she wants it to go, these ideas could help you get the conversation rolling.
- Listen. There's nothing worse for a woman—no matter how small—than not being heard. We like to get it out of our system. Even though it may pain you to hear the depths of her sadness, go there with her.
- Empathize. To you, it might not be the end of the world, but to her, it just might be! Use caution with your words. Avoid things like, "It's not that big of a deal," and "life isn't always fair." While these things may be true, it can make her feel less valued and not safe with communicating with you about things in the future. What you might think is encouraging could shut her down even more.
- Ask her questions. Don't provide all the answers. The best way we learn is to seek out a solution through our own logic. You may see the answer clearly, but she needs to find it. I find it is best to approach the situation with questions that probe her emotions. Then reflect those questions back to her, "So, you are feeling angry about this?" "What did you do when you first heard this disappointing news?" "If you were to give someone else advice in this situation, what would it be?"
- Pray with her. Lead her to the Source that will be there when you aren't. When she's at a party and feels the cruelty of the Queen Bee, she can turn to Him. When she's grown and away at college, she can turn to Him. When her marriage is painful, she can turn to Him. Teach her this skill and she'll always find her peace again.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.