Help Your Kids Deal with Disappointment

Disappointment is a normal part of life, and the lockdowns due to COVID-19 caused some major disappointments while disrupting lives everywhere. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little sad and discouraged. But disappointments don't only pop up during global pandemics, they are mixed in with all the joy and excitement life can bring. 

It’s also natural for parents to want to shield children from such unpleasant situations. However, dealing with losses can be a beneficial experience. Otherwise, your sons and daughters may struggle when they run into bigger letdowns as adults.

How can you guide your children without taking over? Try these ideas for helping your kids to deal with disappointment.

Talking with Your Kids about Disappointment

There are major differences between dwelling on disappointments, trying to suppress them, and dealing with them constructively. Your child will probably find it easier to move on if they can talk about their feelings.

Try these techniques to talk with your kids about their disappointments:

  1. Show empathy. Help your child to accept their feelings. Validate their experiences even if they’re different from your own. Avoid saying anything that could sound judgmental or dismissive.
  2. Ask questions. Ensure that you understand what’s really bothering your child. 
  3. Offer perspective. A moment of disappointment can be a relatively small percentage of one's lifetime, but it can be more overwhelming for someone under 18. Remind your child of this and how much more joy, wonder, and happiness is awaiting them in their lifetime. 
  4. Be honest. At the same time, you want to avoid making unrealistic promises. Share truthful and age-appropriate information.
  5. Think positive. It’s also important to remind yourself and your children that there are still many things to look forward to. Try to be curious and hopeful about what the future holds in store.

Other Coping Strategies to Help Your Kids Deal with Disappointment

Skillful communication will help relieve doubts and fears. Then, you can work with your child on how to take concrete action.

Use these strategies:

  1. Present choices.  Lack of control plays a big role in the distress that many children and adults feel today. Help your child to develop their own daily routines and shift their attention toward activities that can boost their self-esteem.
  2. Create substitutes. Be creative about coming up with replacements for the things they’ve lost. 
  3. Reduce stress. Teach your child to soothe themselves. Depending on their age, they might want to cuddle a stuffed toy or listen to music.
  4. Manage expectations. Hardships will be easier to bear if you help your kids build self-awareness and self-knowledge. Encourage them to pursue their own goals rather than comparing themselves to others.
  5. Band together. Another advantage of hard times is the potential they have for creating social bonds. Your child may feel closer to their classmates due to going through the same events together.
  6. Help others. On a broader level, reaching out to others in need usually makes us feel happier. Look for ways to volunteer as a family in your community.
  7. Love unconditionally. Disappointments can be especially uncomfortable if your child feels like they failed at something. Reassure them that you love them regardless of how many times they lose their backpack.
  8. Show faith. Your child is more likely to overcome any kind of disappointment if you express confidence in them. Tell them you believe in them and praise them for their efforts.

Dealing with disappointments teaches children valuable lessons that will prepare them for adult life. As parents, it’s up to us to provide a loving role model while they develop their coping skills.

Grow, Give, Love, Live,

The Mother & The Daughter

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