Keeping Hopes High: Help Children Cope With Disappointment

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Child Development, Children's Book | 0 comments

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Disappointment isn’t something people can quickly deal with. While setbacks are a natural part of life, adults must address and help children cope with disappointment.

How many times do people get disappointed in a day?

This may seem like a simplistic question, but it’s something people don’t actively consider. Should they be keeping count despite the possibility of it weighing negatively on their minds? When prompted such a question, everyone would engage in introspective self-dialogue. But they won’t have to question whether they’ve been disappointed recently because it’s likely they’ve been.

Disappointment is pervasive in humanity. It sounds luckless, but it’s logical. After all, nobody would recognize happiness and satisfaction without feeling a little disappointed.

Reality is established through planning. Ensuring that a proper scheme of processes and routines moves people onward and forward with life. However, any insufficiency can result in disappointment. When adults in total control of their lives may face regrets and disappointment, imagine what children have to go through.

The Slightest Shift Can Bear The Biggest Heartbreak

Author Elaine Vanderberg has written a book tackling how children navigate around problems. Timmy the Timid Cloud follows the adorable cloud, Timmy, and his friends as they breeze against the big, bad clouds threatening to ruin Summerville’s Summer-Fun-Day. As the story focuses on the supposedly fun day being ruined, the author touches on disappointment and what can be done to combat it.

The book serves as a gentle reminder that things won’t always go how people want them to. When this happens, it’s best to help children cope with disappointment. It aims to teach them that challenges, even spontaneously occurring ones, can be resolved and better days will always come.

Timmy the Timid Cloud shows how quickly children can be disappointed. But it also showcases how strong they can be against it.

Whether it’s their favorite donut being sold out or their grades not at par with what they hoped for, children experience disappointments as frequently as adults. These don’t even have to be about consequential matters. Even the most inessential or minor shifts can trigger big emotions in children, especially since they’re still learning to fully navigate and understand the world.

No parent would want to see their children get hurt. But with how unpredictable the world is, getting them out of harm’s way is improbable. Hence, parents must find the perfect balance between protecting their children and letting them experience the world. They must be willing to let their kids encounter setbacks and challenges and experience all its ups and downs.

How Parents Help Children Cope With Disappointment

Instead of shielding them from negativity, parents must teach them the proper means of processing the emotions these experiences may bring. They must help children cope with disappointment so they won’t crumble.

But when children get easily overwhelmed, and their first reaction is to throw tantrums, how can parents remain patient and teach them the proper behavior?

Explain The Situation Without Invalidating The Emotion

While the goal is to help children cope with disappointment, they shouldn’t be made to feel like what they’re going through is invalid. When they’re upset, children automatically cry or show their discomfort. Naturally, parents react by moving them away from the situation or telling them to stop. This can give off the impression that crying or being uncomfortable in that situation is wrong or unnecessary, invalidating their experience.

Parents can easily but wrongly dismiss their children’s emotions when teaching them resiliency. When correcting or making them understand the experience, parents must be careful not to make it seem like the situation isn’t a big deal. They must remember that children and adults have different tolerances for things and see them from their smaller, more limited perspectives.

The idea is to help children understand why they’re feeling hurt without making them consider that this isn’t the proper reaction. To do this, parents can also consider sharing their disappointments. This makes them realize they aren’t alone and what they’re experiencing isn’t so bad or unusual.

Children must realize that disappointment will always be a part of life. It will exist regardless of where they are or what they’re doing. But what’s important is that they become equipped to cope and process this situation better so that they can grow and move forward.


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