Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Day I tried to Surprise my Kids with a Trip to Disney and Why it Back Fired

My husband and I spent a year planning a surprise trip for our children to go to Disney.  We had visions of what their reactions would be when they opened up their t-shirts saying they were going to Disney.  Yet when the time finally came, one of our kids did not give us the reaction we were expecting.  He was excited, yet worried.  He asked about a million questions.  "When are we leaving? When are we getting back?  I am going to have to miss a day of school?!?"

I will admit, I was a bit annoyed.  Didn't he appreciate this amazing gift?  I took it personally when it had nothing to do with me.  My son was having an internal struggle.  You see, he is a planner.  He likes to know what he is doing, when he is doing it and how it is happening.  He thought we were doing one thing with his week off and then we blew his organized plans out of the water.

It took him a few hours to wrap his head around it and get excited where as my daughter was jumping for joy the moment she found out. What I learned is that it is OK.  My son needed time to process and plan before he could show his excitement.

So often we have these expectations of our children and when they don't meet them we get annoyed or angry.  The lesson I took from reflecting back on this was that I was looking at my child as being ungrateful rather than struggling to process it.  When I see him as being ungrateful it only made me angry.  But when I understand that he is struggling then I can support him and have a positive experience instead of a negative one.  Then we all win.

By Juarline Stavrinos

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