One of the hardest parts of parenting is helping your child deal with disappointment. No one likes to watch their child suffer disappointment. But, like many other things in life, everyone will experience disappointment at least once or twice in life. It’s how people deal with this that makes them the people that they are.
Be The Example
You can’t protect your children from everything in life, and certainly not disappointment. But you can teach them that happiness is a choice that they can make each and every single day by being a good example to your child. Let your child see how you cope with disappointing events and how you experience the issue and then pick yourself up and move on.
Be a Sounding Board
Aside from modeling the behavior you’d like your child to emulate, you can also be a sounding board for your child, especially when they’re a little older. Let them openly express their dismay at whatever is happening, about whomever is responsible, and then help guide them toward a resolution. Showing your child empathy by showing them that you understand how they feel and letting them talk it out with you is a great start.
Actively Teach Self-Calming Techniques
Everyone has a self-calming technique whether they’re aware of it or not. But, you can actively teach your child to calm him or herself regardless of what is happening or why they’re disappointed. A good method is the deep breathing method, which can be done anywhere at any time. Just teach them to breath in deeply through their nose, and out their mouth a few times to pull their emotions back in a bit.
Some children need to run off the extra energy that comes with disappointment. I know mine do. Especially after losing a soccer game. Go for a fast walk while talking with your child to help them clear their head. Put on some skates and get moving. Turn on some music and dance away the problems and get the energy out. Physical activity can boost good endorphins lessoning the physical effect of disappointment on your child.
My favorite! For little children a little magic can go a long way. Just like the magic spray bottle to spray away the monsters, you can have a special blanket or pillow used for self-comfort and helping a child cope with the feelings disappointment elicit. When a child hugs or cuddles with his or her magic pillow or blanket you’ll see them physically feel better almost immediately.
Finally, the best cure for disappointment is laughter. Humor can go a long way to helping people feel better. Teach your child to see the humor in human behavior, human activity, and just in being human. There are a lot of funny things we do, and being able to look on the bright side even when they’ve lost the big game, or something didn’t go their way will go far in helping them cope with more major disappointments that will eventually come their way in life.