March 31, 2011

Helping Children Deal With Disappointment

Parents often try to protect their child from experiencing disappointment. Admittedly it's difficult to see your child hurting when they don't make the sports team or get invited to a friend's party. You may be tempted to call the coach or the parents and ask why your child wasn't included or ask if they can make an exception. If you take that route are you teaching your child the best way to handle disappointment?

A better approach would be to help your child understand that life is not always fair and it's full of disappointments. Here are some things you can do to support and encourage your child when they're facing disappointment:

* Acknowledge what they're feeling. All feelings are okay. Is your child feeling sad or mad? Perhaps she would like to draw a picture that shows what she's feeling.

* Ask your child what he can do to help himself feel better. Does he need to be alone or with someone? Maybe he needs to do something that makes him feel good about himself. That might include a physical activity, an art project, cooking, etc. Ask him how you can help.

* Remind your child of the last time she was disappointed and what she did to deal with it. It's helpful for a child to remember that they're capable of finding solutions to problems such as disappointment.

* Take a look at yourself. As a parent you should be modeling good ways of coping with disappointment.

Be mindful of teaching your child how to accept disappointments, learn from them and move on. Learning how to manage disappointments as a child will prepare him or her to handle larger challenges later in life.

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