What to Do When Your Tween Disappoints You

Your child will disappoint you from time to time, here's how to get past it

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Expect your tween's behavior to disappoint you from time to time. KidStock/Blend Images/Getty Images

Parenting is a tough job, and while raising your children you'll likely experience many proud times, as well as times of disappointment. While your child continues to learn right from wrong, and the consequences of his actions, he'll likely leave you shaking your head from time to time. If you find yourself disappointed in your child's behavior,  you need to take the time to help your child learn from his mistakes, and you'll need to get past the disappointment so that you can both move on.

Here's what you need to know to do that. 

When Your Child Leaves You Disappointed

Set Realistic Goals: You may be disappointed in your tween, but are you being too critical? Sometimes parents set unrealistic goals for their children, and then when they don't achieve them they end up disappointed and let down. If your tween didn't score the winning touchdown, or land the lead role in the school play, maybe your disappointment is really a by product of helicopter parenting. Be sure your goals for your child are realistic, and age appropriate. 

Be Clear About Consequences and Stick to Them: Negative behavior is something your tween needs to learn from, and you're going to have to be the teacher. Set clear consequences for your child for when he decides to break your rules or disrespect you. And then be sure you carry them out. 

Be Positive: It's so easy to stay focused on the negative, and if you do, your tween's sense of self and your relationship will be negatively impacted.

No matter how angry you are with your child, try to find something positive to say to her. It may not be easy, especially if your tween is trying to push your buttons and get to you, but you can probably find some quality or habit that your child has that you can turn into a positive. Point out how proud you are of your child when he plays gently with his siblings, or helps his friends with their homework.

Smile when your child says "Please" and "Thank You" and respond in a friendly manner. 

Forgive: You may have hurt feelings if your child said something mean to you, or purposefully embarrassed you in front of others. Or, you may be angry and hurt that your child experimented with drugs or purposefully acted out just to spite you. Whatever the infraction, at some point you have to forgive him and move on. Of course, forgiveness doesn't mean failing to carry through on consequences. It just means letting it go and not holding a grudge against your child. If your child really hurt you, forgiveness may not come easy, but it's important to remember that your tween is still learning how to navigate his world, and mistakes will happen from time to time. Allow your tween a little wiggle room to figure things out, and you'll both be better for it. 

Educate: Be sure both you and your tween learn from your shared experiences. If you blew up at your child, be sure you figure out what set you off and try to practice anger management techniques the next time a challenge comes around.

Your child will need your help to learn from past mistakes, which is why consequences are so important. 

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