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5 Tips to Help Kids Deal With Disappointment

By Kate Gardner 

Life is full of disappointments. If you don't believe me, you can ask my oldest child. She could probably tell you a tale that would bring a tear to your eye, all centered around the fact we told her she couldn't go to sleepaway camp this summer. Disappointment seems to come easily to kids. Their hopes get so high, untempered by any of the experience we adults carry around with us. And there's no shame in being disappointed, it's part of life. But sometimes kids may need a little help in handling their disappointment in a way that helps them instead of hurts them. 

Helping Kids Deal 

Dr. Erin Leonard has some words of wisdom for parents of children who are struggling with disappointment. In her article, "How To Help Your Kids Conquer Feelings of Disappointment," Leonard provides us with a list of do's and don'ts. 

  • Embrace it - Don't deny or minimize your child's disappointment. They feel it and it's real. Only when you acknowledge the feeling can you begin to deal with it. 

  • Have empathy - Having sympathy means feeling sorry for someone. Having empathy means putting yourself in someone else's shoes. When you're empathetic, you get a better idea of what the other person is going through. 

  • Show you understand - There's a good chance you've experienced disappointment like your child's. Tell them about a time you were in a similar situation and let them know they're not alone. 

  • Encourage effort - Teach kids what's important is their effort. This isn't about giving participation trophies, this is about kids learning that they can learn new things and develop their skills through practice and hard work. 

  • Don't lecture - When your child is in the middle of a disappointment meltdown, it's not the time to try to reason with them using logic. This is an emotional moment, and your child isn't going to react well to your attempts to show them the error of their ways. You probably wouldn't, either.  

It would be great if kids were born knowing how to navigate their feelings in positive, beneficial ways. But they aren't (and neither were you). When your kid is directing all their anger and disappointment into an outsized tantrum, it can be hard to find the patience and energy to help them through it. But if you do, you'll soon find you have a more resilient kid.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brandon, Fla. 

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