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4 Steps to Untangling Yourself from Your Kid’s Disappointments

Auditions. Our girl likes to perform – sing, dance, community theater. I know your daughter is quite the ballet dancer, so you may relate to this.

I get nervous for Anya when audition time comes around. I genuinely want her to do well for her sake, but somehow I feel like I’m the one feeling the pressure. It becomes about me.

In the spring she had auditions for the elite high school singing group. She’s a freshman, and there’s always a zillion sopranos and the upperclassmen get priority. It was a long shot. On top of that, she got a cold and wasn’t able to sing at her best. The likelihood of making it was low. But there was hope and some attachment. For both of us.

When the letter came that she didn’t make it, she was disappointed. Only two freshman were accepted, an alto and a tenor. It was still a major bummer. Every two years this group performs in Italy over spring break. This was one of those years. Ugh-uh.

I absolutely understand her disappointment. But it hit me hard, too.

I definitely empathize. I’m good at empathy. I put myself in her shoes and I feel what she feels. I felt the disappointment.

But then it crossed some line. Like, it’s about me. I was disappointed as if it were me that had auditioned. Except that was clearly her.  

But it’s me. It’s me in how I’ve guided and supported her. It’s me in how I’ve taught her to have discipline (or not) with practicing, and how I’ve unleashed (or haven’t) her full expression in performing. It’s me in the degree of confidence she has in auditioning. It’s about me, me, me.

WTF? This poor child doesn’t have her experiences to herself if it’s about me. How do I extract myself from this? And how do I do that while also remaining a supportive parent?

I’m making up some steps right now for how to untangle myself (oneself) from a child’s experience and disappointment.

Step 1: Catch Yourself Getting Wrapped Up In Your Kid’s Stuff

  • See if you can witness yourself getting tangled up in your child’s experience
  • List out the ways it’s all about you – it’s really helpful to see the direction you take things because it’s probably the same each time you get wrapped up in their stuff

(Writing this post had me see how I pretty much question and diminish my parenting. Good to see!)

Step 2: Stop Judging Yourself and Your Parenting

  • I know, I know, easier said than done
  • I just think that if this were you, I would have so much compassion and no judgment
  • Say to yourself what you would say to a friend in this situation… something like:
    • You are such a loving and dedicated parent. You care deeply and you are doing a fantastic job with your kids. You can’t take away their life experiences – they need those to grow. You are giving them great life experiences, and they are so fortunate to have such a caring parent who has their back like you.

Step 3: Let Your Kid Be On Her Own Journey

  • Step back and see your child as the whole person they already are
  • This soul got here via you, but she belongs to the universe
  • This is her adventure, her journey, her growth, her joy
  • Appreciate that you get to witness and participate in her life

Step 4: Trust Your Kid

  • Trust that she has everything she needs to handle every issue that comes her way
  • The universe does not dish out what one cannot take
  • Trust your good intentions (not your reactions or fear) that you will know what to do and what to say to support your kid through their challenges

Well, that helped me get untangled. Did it help you?


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  1. Yes! Yes, it totally helped me!!! I am struggling with this right now! Mia is going into high school next year and I feel like I am taking on this whole “where should she go to high school next year?” so personally – like it’s all about me!! And not her! I’m now seeing that after reading this post! I have been tormented for weeks – and really it’s about me getting validation – as though where she goes is a reflection of how well we’ve raised her. Well, not entirely, but i’m sure there’s some of that! And there’s the whole thing about what my life was like at her age and wanting her to have the same experience as I had – private school education, etc.. But this is HER journey! And she’s not stressed at all about this! She’s just fine! She’s interested in the different schools but taking it all in (graceful) stride. I’m the stress case! So dumb! She’s fine! And she’ll be fine wherever she ends up! And she knows it! But i haven’t been knowing that! It really has been all about me! DUH! Thank you dearest friend!!! I LOVE having your words of wisdom flow into my life like this!! It’s what I’ve always wanted! XOXO

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