We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King. Jr.
Disappointment is a normal part of life, and I’ve noticed through my Brisbane Positive Parenting courses how lockdowns due to COVID-19 have caused some major disappointments. Across the world, kids missed out on big events as well as ordinary daily activities like hanging out with friends. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little sad and discouraged! It’s also natural for parents to want to shield children from such unpleasant situations. However, dealing with losses can be a beneficial experience. If children don’t learn that disappointment is a natural part of life and how to deal with it, then they may struggle when they run into bigger let downs as adults. I’d like to share some ways now to help your kids deal with disappointment.
Talking with Your Kids about Disappointment
There are major differences between dwelling on disappointment, trying to suppress feelings of disappointment, and dealing with them constructively. Your child will probably find it easier to move on if they can talk about their disappointment and process it.
Show empathy. Help your child to accept their feelings. Validate their experiences of disappointment even if they’re different from your own. Avoid saying anything that could sound judgmental or dismissive.
Ask questions. Ensure that you understand what’s really bothering your child. Maybe they’re concerned about how this unusual time will affect their studying prospects or maybe they’re more focused on staying in touch with their friends.
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 For Kids
Skilful communication will help relieve doubts and fears from disappointment. Then, you can work with your child on how to take concrete action.
1. PRESENT CHOICES
Lack of control plays a big role in the distress and disappointment that many children and adults feel today. Help your child to develop their own daily routines that makes them feel more in charge of their day and lives and shift their attention toward activities that boost their self-esteem.
2. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
Hardships and disappointment 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.
3. CREATE SUBSTITUTES
Be creative about coming up with replacements for the things they’ve experienced disappointment from. Host virtual birthday parties and playdates. Visit art museums, zoos and planetariums online.
4. HELP OTHERS
On a broader level, reaching out to others in need usually makes us feel happier as it releases good-feel hormones. One way to do this is to volunteer as a family in your community.
5. REDUCE STRESS
Teach your child to soothe themselves when feeling disappointment. For example, they might want to cuddle a stuffed toy, listen to calming music or take some deep breaths together with you or by themselves.
Dealing with disappointment teaches children valuable lessons that will prepare them for adult life and it boosts their resilience skills. As part of positive parenting, you provide s a loving role model to help your kids develop their coping skills and resilience.
If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter and would like more positive parenting advice and information, please request to join my Positive Parenting Advice and Support Group on Facebook or my Working Mothers & Father Group on LinkedIn.