Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5 Tips to Help Kids Deal with Disappointment

As kids grow older, they start shifting from experiencing life's little disappointment to living through bigger ones each day. Even parents start to feel heartbreak over their children's hiccups or missed opportunities.

Kids start to learn for the very first time that academic tests are super important. They realize that they have to tryout to play their favorite sport and even the most comfortable performers develop stage fright. Some children lash out angrily after hearing or living through a hard disappointment. Some cry. Some withdraw and don't ever want to speak of the situation. Yet others act as if nothing ever happened. No matter how children react, it's best if  parents consistently handle the situation in the same manner.

1) Show empathy. Watching a child swing a bat and miss making contact with the ball over and over is not easy for any parent. Receiving the news that Alex has to work harder in math to keep up with his peers is tough, too.  Nevertheless, parents should always ask for the child's version and perspective of the situation and try to figure out what to do next...together.

2) Show love. Regardless of how the parents feel about the "failed" opportunity, they never stop loving their children. Kids should always know their parents still love and support them during their successes and failures.

3) Don't reward. A call from a teacher to discuss a student's poor behavior is not only hard on the parents but sometimes extremely embarrassing to the child. Even if a child cries (and breaks your heart) and promises to start behaving, it's best if parents don't reward with anything just to try to make him feel better during that difficult moment of discussion. Allowing your children to feel disappointment is okay.

4) Give it time. Try not make a child's failure an instant "teachable moment." Sometimes kids understand a missed opportunity but react positively in disbelief and want to chat about it as soon as possible! Sometimes kids break down and cannot even listen through their heartfelt sobs! Tread carefully before plunging into a deep conversation.

5) Consider it a learned lesson. Kids should know that a failed opportunity and a disappointment will only help them achieve their future goals. Raising resilient kids in a world full of challenges is important and parents shouldn't try to solve all of their children's problems. Listening and practicing positive feedback to help them see what went wrong is key, but allowing the child to feel what they need to feel during a failure is crucial. Parents will soon see that children can become more confident after analyzing their failures and will give them hope that next time things can have a different outcome.

Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over


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