Ending Boredom and Disappointment

Ending Boredom and Disappointment

You can tell if you’ve handled your strong childhood feelings about disappointment and boredom by looking at your interactions with your kids. If disappointment and/or boredom were things to avoid at all costs when you were a child, you will probably be trying to save your child from them now, thus perpetuating the problem.

It shows up in subtle phrases like this:

“Now, you might not like this…,” or “You can go see if Johnny is home, but he might not be,”

While you might not hear how that screams of, “Don’t get your hopes up,” your child, who is a natural enthusiast, might and will quickly pick up the idea that disappointment is to be avoided at all costs—even at the cost of the excitement of anticipation!

Boring is much the same. One clue would be if your child begins using “boring” as a power word—a word that gets a reaction out of you. If you feel anxious or defensive like you need to fix your child’s problem, instead of being able to respond calmly with something like, “Hmm. Your bored. You don’t like being bored. Must be something you can do that would be fun and challenging,” that tells you that boring is a big deal to you!

Or if you find yourself wanting to make the word “boring” taboo, that’s another BIG clue. Or if you feel pressured to entertain your kids or over-schedule your children’s lives to prevent boredom… more clues.

Rather than fixing the perceived problems of disappointment and boredom,
protective approaches perpetuate them because it’s your reaction that makes them real.

What if disappointment and boring were just feelings that come and go? Would there be any reason to stop the world to make them go away? Of course not.

That’s why these challenges come back time and again. It gives you a chance to go back for a do-over reality check for yourself. Maybe when you were a child someone tried to protect you from disappointment or blamed you for feeling bored. By following your clues, you will see that although you don’t like disappointment or boredom and never will, maybe they are not as devastating as your learned behavior would suggest.

Sometimes all you need to do is see your pattern, and poof! You’re free.

For example, I actually had a breakthrough in disappointment after I realized how pervasive avoiding disappointment was in my life. The day I heard my husband say, “You know, we might not find a parking place…,” and realized how normal that sounded to me, it stopped feeling normal. Then when I caught myself mid-thought telling myself, “You know this store might not have your cereal…,” I finally got it. If I couldn’t handle a little disappointment like parking, or cereal, or the millions of other things I talk myself down about daily, imagine how big a real disappointment must seem to me! No wonder I tried to talk myself and my kids out of wanting things that seemed out of reach. And optimism? Forget that!

Disappointment was like a bomb—totally devastating. Who wouldn’t want to save their kids from that?

But is it really? Sometimes it just takes a moment of awareness, a quick SAY WHAT YOU SEE® to yourself, “You are worried they might not have your cereal,” for you to see the bigger picture, “Wait a minute. That’s not even a big deal. I can handle a little disappointment…” and Poof! It’s over.

Now I can catch myself talking myself down earlier, and allow myself to look forward to things just to experience the delicious anticipation that I thought I had lost with childhood. I remember hearing that anticipation was the best part of any journey; now I get it. And optimism? Sign me up!

Boring must be the same. What could you be thinking that would have you react the way you do? What’s the big deal about feeling bored anyway? SAYing WHAT YOU SEE to yourself might be all it takes to get you to the other side where you can say, “Hmm. You are right. That is boring to you, and you don’t like that. Must be something you can do…,” and take charge from there.

You can find out more about our simple 3-part coaching approach in our book, SAY WHAT YOU SEE® for Parents and Teachers. You can buy it here, or if you just can’t wait, you can read it online here for free!

Or if videos are more your speed, you can check out our online Basic Coaching Skills Course, which is full of clips that you can watch on your own time to learn how to step from controlling your child to coaching your child and gain more hugs, more respect, and more cooperation as a result.


1 Comment

  1. elizabeth |

    Excellent blog post by Sandy. Amazing how quickly build those walls of protection against disappointment. What would happen if we anticipated success or fulfillment rather than disappointment, wouldn’t it change our entire reality! Great work here Sandy! – EB

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