Two months ago the last Steam Engine (the Shiloh) made for the Union Pacific. We had received a flier announcing that it would be stopping in our town briefly on it's tour. Not only that, but we would be able to see Civil War re-enactment actors. As visions of how I could use this in future lessons, the train rushed by, followed by the disappointed wailing of my five year old son.
|See how excited he was|
|Can you see the train? We almost didn't!!! Now imagine the look on Chase' face as it went past without stopping|
As we walked home he kept coming back to "Why didn't the train stop?" It is difficult to explain to a five year old the why's of things when you don't understand them yourself. I let him be upset, to mourn the loss of this experience, and told him that I was sorry he was disappointed. He often struggles with expressing himself verbally so I was proud of him when he said, "Mommy, I'm so disappointed that the train didn't stop." It was a proud moment, in a sad snapshot of time.
How do you deal with disappointment?????
- Let them know their feelings are valid. By allowing Chase to express his disappointment first in tears, and eventually just a whine he knew that it was okay to feel disappointed. Not only that, but by telling him that I too was disappointed it validated his feelings even more. .
- Find a way to make up for the missed opportunity. I had just spent the last two hours pumping my kids up for the train to stop and getting a good look at it. When it didn't pan out, I felt that part of it was my fault (although I had no control over the trains schedule. Sometimes in this situation it is needful to come up with an alternative treat! I explained that the next time his brother was with us we would make a trip to the Train museum and he could ride a train. This didn't alleviate his disappointment, but it did give him something to look forward to.
- Distraction!!! I hadn't planned on heading to the park today, it was a balmy 87 degrees at 5pm and I was tired of being in the heat, BUT!!!!! My child needed cheering up.
- Give them Love. When it comes down to it, sometimes just loving your child is the only way to deal with disappointment.
- Give it time!!!
|Yes, that is an expression of happiness on his face!|
Even after the park, after we had dinner, played in the tub and read our train book for bed, Chase still hung on to the fact that the train didn't stop! At this point all I could do was put my arms around him and give him the best Mommy hug I had within myself. He went to bed still talking about his missed opportunity, but fixating on things is nothing new in our situation. As we prayed he didn't mention the train (which was a miracle). He talked about having fun at school, going to the park, and asking Heavenly Father if he could play the Caterpillar Game tomorrow. You know the old saying - Time heals all wounds! His wound healed- the disappointment is lessened. Two months later we still go by where that train left him, without stopping. Every once in a while he will bring up "Why didn't that train stop for us?" I still find myself giving him a hug - and now that it is summer time he gets to ride the train all the time at the amusement park!!