Coping with your children's disappointments

April 26, 2012 2:41pm CST
My 21 year old daughter is in university, working super hard, to get her degree and is planning for grad school. I'm so proud of her! However, she is having such a problem. She has been trying to find a part-time job for over a year now. She started looking seriously in April 2011 and she never found anything for last summer. Well, she started one job in retail (she went back and asked to be re-hired at a chain she had worked at before)... they let her work for one week and then told her they weren't going to keep her because, when she's in school, she couldn't give them the hours they want. It was supposed to be a summer job She had given them her schedule, in a spreadsheet and everything, when they first hired her. They knew, in advance, what her schedule was like and they still let her go in and start working, only to let her go! It wasn't even performance-based because, when she worked for them the first time, she was their highest-selling salesperson and she was re-hired based on those past accomplishments. Anyway, fast forward... she had an interview in the same town where her boyfriend lives (one province away from home) and it went so well. They asked her to go back and take them her passport and birth certificate so they could do her background check. They said as soon as her background check cleared, she would start online training for one week and then do in-person training for one week. After that, she would work for them all summer. They told her it was all set. They called her this morning and said sorry. The hiring manager said he "was unaware" that they would be reducing the number of students hired this summer so they don't have a job for her (I wouldn't think the hiring manager would be the LAST one to know that!). She came and woke me up after the call and she started to tell me what happened and she just broke down and sobbed! I have to admit I cried along with her while hugging her and trying to reassure her. She had already made her plans to move for the summer for this job and she was to leave next Saturday. Now everything is up in the air again and she is scrambling to find another job. As a parent, what do you do? I mean, I feel helpless. This is a girl who is intelligent, very responsible and personable... a really hard worker... none of her friends can understand why she hasn't been hired somewhere. In fact, many people are now rallying around her and trying to network to help find her something. They all believe in her and she so appreciates it. I know the job market is tough now but there are lots of programs that do help place students and she's getting nowhere. I'm having a hard time dealing with her disappointment now. It's breaking my heart to see her cry. She looks at me and just asks "Why Mom? What am I doing wrong? I'm trying SO hard!" How do you handle it when your kids get let down like this? I used to be a lot harder about it and could keep up a positive attitude (you know, "just keep trying! you'll find something!"). Maybe I've gotten soft... I get tears in my eyes every time she gets let down now. I know she is feeling more and more like a failure. I know she is learning the hard lessons about how things work in the real world... and that's very important. But, in my heart, she's still my little girl and I want to help her... protect her from the hurt... sighhhhh... what's a mother to do?
2 responses
@babyEj (1525)
• Philippines
27 Apr 12
When things get harder for someone and seems hopeless , I think your ears and your arms will give them the indescribable support they are looking for. Words of advice after will wrap things up.
• Canada
27 Apr 12
You are so right, babyEj... comforting them, listening and giving the best advice we can is about all we can do to help. She is growing up and learning hard lessons now. When she was smaller, everything seemed to come easy to her. She never had a single problem in school. She's really bright and she hardly even had to study to do well. The harsh reality hits once they get to be in university or in the working world and they realize they have much more competition from people even stronger than they are... and it's a big lesson. I know she will be ok, ultimately, but I'm always going to be right behind her (at least in spirit) supporting her
@peavey (16873)
• United States
26 Apr 12
There are few things worse for a parent than to see a child go through disappointments like that. I know we'd all like to protect them from heartache and hurts and everything negative, but we just can't. Like when my son's girl friend broke up with him. He is not a cry baby by any means, but it hurt so bad, he would sit and talk to me about her and I would be the one crying. It was his first love. All you can do is sympathize and be there for them, knowing that one day it will be in the past and they can go on with their plans.
1 person likes this
• Canada
27 Apr 12
You are so right, peavey. From the moment I had my children, I too wanted to always protect them, as you say. This same daughter and I had a hard time, as well, over her first relationship but at least that one is water under the bridge now The job situation is hard... but she is not giving up hope. She is sticking with her plan to go away for the summer because, the area where she will be living, it should be easier for her to find work (not the same language barrier as where we live). I am proud that, in spite of her disappointment, she is keeping her head up and moving forward. I'm going to miss her so much for the three months or so that she will be gone but I know this is the best decision at this time.