• Understanding The Effects of Broken Promises

     Understanding effects broken promises

    Understanding the effects of broken promises can hopefully make you mindful of making and breaking promises.

    “You are just like ma, you make promises you can’t keep!”

    An emotional outburst by my daughters directed at their dad. Their disappointment was apparent.

    It all happened when their grandmother promised to buy them an ice cream after school. Something came up and they had to take a detour from the ice cream shop. Postponed to the next day and still no ice cream. Her excuse was that she either forgot or didn’t have enough money to buy the ice cream. Of course they saw this as just another empty promise.

    Then my husband promised that they can take the dogs for a walk to the park. However this never materialised as the weather was not conducive on that day and let’s just say life got in the way and it never happened the next day either. Then came the weekend and again the promise was not followed through. He completely forgot what he promised them in the week as he was preoccupied with work.

    Although breaking his promise was unintentional – the fact of the matter is he slipped up. At that moment, they wanted no comfort, just an explanation and affirmation that it will not happen again.

    The negative effects of a broken promise

    A child understand the word “promise” as a declaration. Followed with an action.  Breaking this promise is a pretty big deal to them. As adults, we might see a little promise as insignificant. No matter how big or small, a broken promise is something that could form part of a child’s memory for years to come. Those who continuously face broken promises; start to anticipate disappointment.

    It’s understandable that life happens and so many things consume our time. We end up forgetting about what we promised. Breaking the promise might not be intentional but children often don’t see it that way.  Their interpretation is that we went back on our word.

    Continuously breaking promises can compromise your relationship with your child.

    These empty promises can lead to trust issues. As parents we want our children to believe what we say. Continuously making empty promises and not following through on it will jeopardize that trust.

    Forever making and breaking promises can lead to disrespect. Disappointment spills over to anger as you not honoring your word.

    The words might be forgotten of the broken promise but they will never forget how it made them feel. They start feeling unimportant, worthless, sad and rejected.

    Brushing it off, not explaining why a promise was broken and not asking for forgiveness allows our children to question our morals and values. As they grow older, they will adopt this behaviour.

    In life, our children will face many disappointments and there will be times when other people break promises made to them. As parents we need to give them the necessary support so that they will have the ability to deal with this kind of disappointment in the future.

    So next time choose your words wisely and instead of saying “you promise” rather opt for words like  “we will see” or “if there is time, we can try”.


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    1. February 20, 2018 / 8:46 am

      I completely agree. I am very mindful about what I promise my kids. I grew up with lots of broken promises and apologies from my parents. I prefer people to under promise and over deliver than the other way around. #dreamteam

      • Noleen Miller
        February 20, 2018 / 11:39 am

        I was in the same boat when I was a child and yet my parents just shrugged it off when they failed to deliver on their promises.#dreamteam

    2. February 21, 2018 / 10:15 am

      I agree with all you said, but I also question it (as in I fluctuate in what I think about this) because children break promises to their friends and their parents all the time and don’t seem to care so it’s only when someone breaks a promise to them. Promises are kind of stupid anyway, for adults. As an adult, you should know nothing is guaranteed…but I agree with what you say so I guess I don’t know what I think about it all #FotheloveofBLOG

      • Noleen Miller
        February 21, 2018 / 10:52 am

        Just remember, children model this behaviour from parents so if we as parents often break promises – they will also start doing it. Promises should not be made in the first place – it just creates problems and unpleasantness if it is not adhered to. We live in a world where things don’t always go according to plan and we fail to deliver on certain things.#fortheloveofBLOG

    3. February 22, 2018 / 12:12 am

      I agree and something my cousin and I get quite pedantic about saying something and following through. Sometimes to the detriment of our sanity.
      A great thought provoking read

      • Noleen Miller
        February 27, 2018 / 10:44 am

        It doesn’t just happen to kids but to adults too – and I absolutely loath it when people promise and don’t deliver on it. Thanks for reading.

    4. February 22, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. This is why, so many times, I don’t tell my son what we are going to be doing until the day of the event. Just in case something happens and we don’t end up doing it. I once told him we were going to the zoo then the weather was terrible so we didn’t go and he was really disappointed. I hated that so made the change. Plus, it’s a nice surprise for him when he says “what are we doing today?” and I can tell him something good!

      • Noleen Miller
        February 27, 2018 / 10:40 am

        The disappointment on their faces is what makes me sad when people promise things to them and don’t deliver. A child will remember how you make them feel and will often not remember what you promised. So love your approach.

    5. February 25, 2018 / 5:12 pm

      Broken promises are so disappointing aren’t they. I completely agree with trying to steer clear of making promises if you are not certain that you can keep them to little ones. It is a big deal to them. Actually, it’s a big deal even to us grown ups when promises are broken. Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam.

      • Noleen Miller
        February 27, 2018 / 10:30 am

        We must be so careful what we say to our kids and how we say it – the same with grown ups.#Dreamteam

    6. February 26, 2018 / 3:52 pm

      Yes, so wise to temper our words with the reality that we don’t have control of the universe, and, therefore have to break our promises at times. I love the opportunity this provides to contrast my own limitations with the love of a Promise Keeping God who always comes through!

      • Noleen Miller
        February 27, 2018 / 10:46 am

        So true

    7. February 27, 2018 / 11:29 am

      This is a really interesting post, and I think that I’m always promising things to my daughter or that’ll be just a few minutes. However some of these never materialise, I just need to be better at either not making them, sticking to them, or explaining why is never happened. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

      • Noleen Miller
        February 28, 2018 / 9:33 am

        I think some parents make the promise without giving the effects a second thought – which of course is normal. Instead of promising, rather say ‘we can see’ or ‘if there is time’#fortheloveofBLOG

    8. February 27, 2018 / 11:09 pm

      I completely agree. I never say promise because I can remember how disappointed I used to get when promises didn’t happen as a child. There’s too many things that can get in the way and children just don’t understand. Thanks for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday x

      • Noleen Miller
        February 28, 2018 / 9:37 am

        So true – I remember how I felt with all the failed promises that were made when I was a child. Sometimes we just need to explain to our children why we couldn’t keep to our word as life happens and it has many unexpected twists and turns#TwinklyTuesday

    9. February 28, 2018 / 11:37 pm

      You’re right and I try very hard not to make promises unless I really mean it, Sometimes I’ll tell Dee that we will do something, but then think ‘actually, that might not if x,y,z happens…’ so I’d immediately correct myself and emphasise the ‘maybe’! #BlogCrush

    10. January 22, 2019 / 12:48 pm

      I completely agree with this. I have witnessed my husband make promises he hasn’t kept (not necessarily any fault of his own) for my little boy and the disappointment in his eyes is heartbreaking. Great post with a great message. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales

    11. January 22, 2019 / 3:53 pm

      Gosh this is so important isn’t it. My Mum was always so good at keeping her promises I have felt terrible when I haven’t managed to keep one with any of my kids – I do take the time to explain when it happens, but it still feels awful! Thanks for linking up with #ItsOk xx

    12. January 22, 2019 / 3:55 pm

      So true … but if not possible, then the explanation better be good, but it also better be given! #TriumphantTales

    13. January 23, 2019 / 7:09 pm

      This is a lovely post with a brilliant message. Promises, when broken, are hurtful even to us adults, but it takes on a whole new level for children. To them, a promise is a golden ball… Great advice on using other words rather than ‘promise’ so the disappointment isn’t as much. Thanks for linking this fab post with #itsok

    14. January 24, 2019 / 10:35 pm

      Your post has me wondering, yet again, do we save for college or therapy? You are so right on. A Promise holds with it an experience,and excitement wrapped in goodness. Don’t let them down! xoxo #itsok

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