It can be painful to watch your child feeling disappointed. This article by Helene Goldnadel explains some steps that you can take to help your child cope with a disappointment, so that he is able to put the disappointment into perspective and move on as quickly as possible. If a child learns how to deal with disappointment effectively, he will have learned a skill that will be valuable throughout his life.
Disappointment is encountered at every stage of life and everyone feels at least a little emotional pain when faced with a disappointment. Some people, however, react very strongly to disappointments, taking them personally and feeling much more hurt than the situation merits.
Learning to cope effectively with disappointment begins in childhood. If you learn as a child how to acknowledge your feelings about a disappointment, put them into perspective, and move on as quickly as possible, you will have learned a skill that will be valuable for the rest of your life.
So, how can a parent help a child to deal with disappointment? First of all, it is important to acknowledge your child's feelings of disappointment as soon as a disappointing event has taken place.
Tell your child that you understand how disappointed he feels about the event. Encourage your child to talk about his feelings and tell your child that you understand why he is feeling upset about what happened. Give your child a hug and tell him that you love him. Do not minimize your child's feelings of disappointment by telling him that it doesn't matter anyway. At this point, it matters very much to your child.
If possible, explain the reasons why the disappointing event happened. For example, if a friend was scheduled to visit but canceled at the last minute because she was sick, explain the situation in clear and simple language that your child will understand.
Make it clear to your child that she wasn't in any way to blame for the disappointment. This is very important as children can mistakenly take disappointments very personally, blaming themselves for situations which had nothing to do with their actions.
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