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Let your kids be disappointed

Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 10:42:40 PM

I appreciate when the world serves up mild doses of disappointment for my kids. The other day, we were exploring Buenos Aires. We found a park filled with science-based playground equipment. DNA twirly things, electron-nucleus teeter totters, spindle somethings. The kids loved it. We stayed out longer than we anticipated.

Science Park

The plan was to end the night with ice cream but…we found the ice cream shops on the way home all closed at 8. It was past 8.

My wife wanted to go out of our way to find ice cream. I was happy to let them face disappointment. A few glances later, I won a non-verbal argument. We went home and watched an episode of the Simpsons before bed.

The kids were mildly disappointed. I was pleased to see them bounce back without a meltdown or entitled behavior. It was a small win.

My worry is not that my kids will feel unloved. My worry is that they become entitled brats. We should all worry about this. Our consumer-focused society is actively shaping our kids to be brats.

My wife and I have given our kids opportunities to see how many in the world have far less than them. I hope it has an impact. I think it has. They are mostly level-headed, empathetic humans. They have moments of selfishness and entitlement—a reasonable number of those moments—like we all do.

As caring parents, we have the responsibility to ensure that our kids needs are met. That is the easy part. We also have the responsibility of making them good people. Moments of disappointment can help us do that.

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This post was not edited. If you see a typo, let me know and I'll fix it.