Expert Parenting Advice
Practical parenting tips and advice from experts around the world

Let your kids be disappointed

Why letting your kids feel disappointment is important, and how to know when to be flexible.

Today, my daughter came to me, tears in her eyes.

"Why didn't you name me Elsa?" she demanded.

"Why do you want to be called Elsa?" I asked, not understanding.

"I want to be a princess. I want to have ice powers, like Elsa," she explained.

While it was a little funny, I felt bad for her, because I know it is not fun to really want something that you can't have.

But her disappointment about not being named Elsa also reminded me about what Naama Cameron, an ex-nursery school teacher and parenting coach that I recently interviewed, told me about the importance of letting your kids feel disappointment and allowing them to feel upset.

A lot of times parents don't want their kids to be disappointed. They don't want them to cry or to hear "No". And what I tell parents is, "It's okay if your kids feel disappointment or they're upset." Let them do that in the comfort of your home with you there and develop those coping skills.

Naama Cameron

Sometimes, it is important to say No. To have boundaries. To let your kids be disappointed.

But it is a balance. You also need to empower them, and allow them to make mistakes and experience the natural consequences of their decisions.

In our interview, Naama explains how you can manage this balance. She uses a technique which she calls the "Foundation Rules".

By identifying these Foundation Rules for your family, it becomes much easier to set clear boundaries where it matters, while still being flexible and giving your kids space to make their own decisions.

If you want help identify, setting, and keeping to boundaries, they you'll find this interview very useful. You can find my full interview with Naama Cameron in our ebook How To Get Kids To Listen, available for free download here.