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Parents Can Help Children Learn From Disappointment

Parents can't spare children from disappointments in life. Nor should you want to. Learning to deal with rejection by a friend, not winning an election and other setbacks help kids cope later in life.

How you respond to your child's disappointments will greatly influence how well she learns to cope. Doing these things will help ensure your child learns to tolerate frustration and even grows from it:

  • Praise your child often. Having a strong sense of self-worth helps your child think, "I can do things if I try".
  • Help your child anticipate that things might not work out the way he/she wants. Show them how to explore options by playing "what if" games.
  • Don't assume you know how your child feels - ask them. Their emotions might be quite different from how you would feel.
  • Take your child's disappointment seriously. Listen closely and acknowledge their feelings of loss. Don't try to talk them out of their feelings.
  • Ask questions about what happened - to help your child explore, understand and learn from the experience.
  • Don't try to fix everything for your child. Don't blame the teacher or another child, or automatically pull your child out of an activity.
  • Say you are proud of your child for trying.
  • Share your disappointments and how you overcame them.

In short, talk to your child and don't be afraid to express your emotions/feelings with them. If you do not talk, you will never know what your child is thinking.