Regret & Disappointment are hard lessons for kids

Tonight I had a very emotional discussion with Lovebug.  Just as she should have been falling asleep she came downstairs crying.  For some reason, her mind was wandering before going to sleep and she started missing one of her toys that she made the choice (on her own!) to sell a few months ago.  She didn’t play with it much anymore and wanted the money for other things. Tonight, she was acting like it was her favorite toy and there was no convincing her otherwise. 

Sometimes she gets fixated on things like this, and although in reality it’s not nearly that big of a deal, in her mind it’s absolutely huge.  Her fears, her worries, and her anxieties can just take over sometimes and it’s so hard to bring her back to reality.  I can’t tell her she didn’t play with the toy that much – she’ll argue that it was her favorite.  Because in that moment, right then, it IS.  She was in full blown panic like she couldn’t find her favorite stuffed animal she needed to sleep with.

So, I comforted her.  I held her.  I told her I loved her.  I also told her the decision couldn’t be reversed.  The toy she sold isn’t even made anymore, and she has something similar but much, much better anyway.  Sure, I could find it on Ebay, but like I said, it wasn’t one she played with much anymore.  She asked if we could get it back from the lady that I sold it to.  I had to tell her no.  I asked her how she would feel if she bought something at a garage sale that she was excited about and the owner came back a couple months later to take it back.  She agreed that wasn’t right.

It broke my heart to see her so upset, yet I also knew she was so emotional because she was exhausted!  She’d already taken her Melatonin to help her fall asleep, and we’d had a busy day.  We all know that everything seems worse when we are tired.

I also think that she’s extra upset because she’s seriously disappointed right now.  She’s worked so hard for the past 6 months to buy a remote control helicopter that she saw in a Think Geek catalog.  She saved up $80 of her own money.  We ordered it a week ago, and just 2 days ago it arrived.  She was so excited to open the package and try it out – then it broke within the first 10 minutes.  It just didn’t do what it was supposed to do and it was way too hard to control.   It would take off full speed ahead and then just stop and crash to the ground from 10 feet in the air.  There was no in between speed – it was all or nothing.  Thankfully, the company is letting us return it and will refund our money.  So she isn’t out the money, and can choose something else to buy, but the disappointment is there.  She had been looking forward to this purchase for months! Once we placed the order, she was on pins and needles until it arrived.  Then, she didn’t even get to really play with it.  All that work, all that saving up her money, all that anticipation….just down the drain. 

There are very few toys that she plays with anyway.  She loves to read, to play outside with her adventure tools, or recycle old boxes into new creations.  So for her to set her mind on this one thing for so long was pretty amazing.   

I wish I could make it all better.  I wish I could make the toy work the way it was supposed to.  I wish she never had to know the pain of disappointment or regret.  I want so much to take the pain away and just make it better.

But I can’t.

So we cuddled on the sofa for a while and I held her while she cried.  Then, I finally told her she needed to get some sleep and that we would talk about it more in the morning.  I told her we’d work together to figure out what she wanted to spend her money on next.  She still wants to try the remote control idea, but we’re thinking we’ll go with a car or something that stays on the ground for now.

2 comments to Regret & Disappointment are hard lessons for kids

  • Terri

    Oh Stacy, I am all teary reading your post. I know my little girl is the most inconsolable when she’s exhausted. Hopefully things will look a lot brighter for her in the morning. When I read that Lovebug was going to be buying a RC helicopter, I was worried because they are *so* hard to fly, even for adults. 🙁 Maybe you should look at a RC blimp.

  • Midlife Army Wife

    Thanks Terri! I had no idea they were hard to fly! I’ve never even tried one, but I sure couldn’t get the hang of this one. We’ll definitely look at some easier options now.

    Oh, and the next morning she was feeling much, much better and ready to choose her next toy 🙂

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