Our kids at various times in their lives will do something to disappoint us. Just as we disappointed our parents and they their parents, this is something that is not humanly possible to avoid. When we set a specific measure for our children and they decide to go an entirely different direction, we are disappointed.
I have seen relationships completely severed because of this but the good news is, it does not have to be this way. You can continue to have a loving relationship with your children no matter what road they choose to take. It is up to you, though, to have an open mind and an open heart where they are concerned. Love never fails.
Most commonly, anger is associated with disappointment. If you do not process this in a healthy manner, that anger can turn into resentment. You will put a huge strain on your relationship, risking lost time and much distance between visits. If your child comes to you and says that they dropped out of college to be a bartender or a dishwasher, of course you will be disappointed. Make sure to tell them how you feel but remember that it is their life to live. When you no longer have the ability to control the outcome, you will become anxious and overbearing which will push them away.
Sleep on it. Do not make any judgments until you have had the time to let the news sit for a while. When you are calm enough, make the call to talk about this. Then you will be open to hearing their side of the story, why they chose this path. You can give guidance and advice but be warned, it may not be taken. However, it is a start to mending your relationship. Perhaps they need to do this for themselves and just want you to be there for support and love. Perhaps they want you to talk them out of it.
I remember a time in my life when my choices were just plain awful. One bad decision after the next and I did not even realize it until I experienced the consequences of my actions. My mom was terribly disappointed, hurt, angry and worried and I tuned out her pleas for me to change. She was very judgmental and she gave ultimatums, which I do not do well with, and so I just stopped listening. Then one day she said to me, ‘I may not like what you are doing, but I love you and am here when you are ready to change.” That is what it took for me to begin to listen and open my eyes to the damage that I had caused.
Disappointments will come but if you are ready to tackle them with love and healthy communication, then you will be able to get through them and move forward. Do not allow old wounds to fester in your heart making it impossible to mend, instead put your pride aside and make the first contact. If you do not push with unkind words and demands, your child will be more willing to listen and possibly make some changes. Talk to them with love and acceptance and you may find the results you seek.