It’s a fact. Life is full of both big and little disappointments. As parents, it is not our job “fix” our child’s disappointment. Teaching our child how to deal with disappointment is a life skill everyone should know.
Whether it’s raining outside and your trip to the park is ruined, or the crackers your child wanted fell to the floor and got crushed, it’s all a part of life.
As much as we would like to save our children from life’s disappointments, we just can’t and that’s ok. If we as parents, spend our time bending over backward to shield our children from disappointment, then we are essentially holding them back from developing the tools to get over disappointment by themselves.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT
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The most effective way to teach your children how to handle what life throws at them is to personalize your strategies based on how your child reacts when thrown a curveball. If small issues equal big reactions, then starting with the basics is the best idea.
There are some situations that just can’t be augmented, and your child may not understand that. Your little one may think that by throwing a tantrum you will jump to fix the issue, even if you can’t.
Take time to get down to your child’s level and let them know that while their feelings are valid, this isn’t the way to solve a problem.
Take this time to discuss more effective solutions to the issue at hand.
For instance, if the weather is preventing that trip to the park, create the park inside your home. Plan to have a picnic on the living room floor on a blanket, and even pack your snacks or lunch in a cooler.
GIVE YOUR CHILD A VOICE
Young children can feel as though they have even lost even more control of their life when something doesn’t go exactly as they have planned.
Giving a little one the chance to decide can actually be very empowering for them. If you had planned to go to the toy store, but the car won’t start, offer your child the power to make a different choice by explaining the issue and following it up with different options they can choose.
DON’T RUSH TO THE RESCUE
Instead of rushing to fix a problem, help your child to make the right choices to solve the problem themselves. It may take a little time, but your little ones will learn that they have the power to make a negative situation more positive on their own accord.
WHAT NOT TO SAY
When your little one talks back, cries or has a meltdown, it can be simple to accidentally say the wrong thing.
Try to avoid saying things that will only trigger your sad child further and make them feel as though they can’t handle situations on their own.
“It’s not a big deal.”
- A more positive response would be to let your little one know that you are aware that this is hard for them.
“Let’s just do this instead.”
- Instead of suggesting an alternative yourself, take this time to ask your child if they have any ideas on what can be done.
Parenting isn’t easy, but we do have to allow our children to feel disappointed once in a while.
As long as we give our children the tools to cope with that disappointment, they will grow up knowing how to react when something doesn’t go their way.
Relating to your child is one of the most important things you can do in this situation. Show them that they are not alone and that you too have had to deal with disappointment in life.
The way they handle life’s disappointments, big and small, will make a big difference in who they grow up to be.
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