Confronting disappointment

Life happens. Despite our efforts to protect our children from disappointment and loss, these things are bound to happen. 

The best thing that we can do for our children in this situation is to provide them with the tools they need to deal with these emotions effectively. Once they are able to deal with disappointment and loss, they will also be able to handle conflict and social interactions better. It will also help them to plan ahead in order to avoid possible disappointments in future. They learn that mistakes happen but that it is also possible to bounce back and carry on.

Here are a few tips how you can guide your children when they experience disappointment.

Be the safe place where they can discuss their thoughts and feelings. Listen empathically to what they have to say.

When something disappointing happened, talk them through the process.
"What exactly happened?"
"How do you feel about it?"
"What life lesson can you take from this?"
"Was your reaction appropriate or are there alternatives you can try next time?"

If they find it difficult to share their feelings, help them find the right words, e.g. "You seem upset about it. Is there something we can do to make you feel better?" Often activities such as drawing, writing or cycling can help them work through these emotions.

Share with them the times you experienced disappointment, made a mistake or felt upset. They want to know what they feel is normal and that they are not alone. 

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