Disappointment, unfortunately, is a part of life. For every planned picnic at the park, there’s a thunderstorm. For every road trip, there’s a flat tire. Learning to deal with disappointment is an important life skill, and there are plenty of ways you can teach your child to handle whatever it is that life decides to throw at them. Here are just a few ways you can help your child deal with disappointment.
Playdates can be canceled, plans can be rearranged, and the unexpected happens. While learning to adapt is important, it’s also okay to be upset about plans changing. Emphasize with your child when they feel disappointed. Help them learn that their feelings are okay, and act as a support system. Tell them about an event you were disappointed was canceled. Showing your child that it’s okay to be disappointed will help them learn to normalize their feelings.
Talk It Out
Ask your child what they were most excited about. While it may seem odd to lean into their sadness, this will help your child know that they are supported. Be careful to not distract them. Don’t give them an immediate alternative to a canceled activity. Rather than saying “Let’s do this,” ask your child if they have ideas on what to do instead. This will help your child learn to come up with their own solutions and adapt in the face of change.
Use Disappointment as a Teaching Opportunity
While no one wants to welcome disappointment in their life, disappointing moments can serve as a learning opportunity. Remind your child that disappointment is normal, and illustrate some examples from your family’s life. But don’t focus solely on the negative. Talk about how you overcame disappointment and what good and exciting things followed.
When your child is disappointed, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to support them. Be careful that you don’t dismiss your child’s disappointment, and show them that their feelings, whether good or bad, are okay and normal to experience.
At Lake Forrest Prep, an Orlando private school, we encourage all children to respect and honor their feelings. To learn more about how we nurture growth, challenge minds, and enrich lives, give us a call at (407) 331-5144.