Disappointment is a normal part of life, and the lockdowns due to COVID-19 caused some major disappointments while disrupting lives everywhere.
Across the country, children and adolescents have missed out on significant events like graduations and vacations and ordinary daily activities like going to school and being with friends.
It’s enough to make anyone feel sad and discouraged.
It’s also natural for parents to want to shield their children from unpleasant situations. However, dealing with disappointment can be a beneficial experience.
Talk with your children about disappointment. There are crucial differences between dwelling on disappointments, trying to suppress them, and dealing with them constructively. Your child will probably find it easier to move on if they can talk about their feelings.
Present choices. Lack of control plays a role in the distress that many children and adults feel today. Allow your child to collaborate on what will make the holidays fun and meaningful, given the limitations we are all experiencing.
Teach your child to soothe themselves. Depending on their age, they might want to cuddle a stuffed toy, listen to music, or draw. Create a nonpunitive place your child can go to and soothe themselves inside of your home.
Manage expectations. Hardships will be easier to bear if you are clear from the start about what your family will and will not be doing during this unprecedented time. Remind your children that their friends’ families may make choices that look different from yours.
Help others. On a broader level, reaching out to others in need usually makes us feel happier. Look for ways to volunteer as a family in your community. It is also an opportunity to get creative because helping others may look different during these times.
Love unconditionally. Disappointments can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially when being faced with so much at once. Be there to listen to your child and try not to judge what they feel disappointed about or reply to their upset by lecturing them on all the reasons they have to be grateful.
Helping your children through disappointment can teach children valuable lessons that will help them be more resilient. As parents, it’s up to us to provide a loving role model while developing their coping skills.
It is hard, but we’ve got this!
I empower parents and teachers to feel calm, capable, and confident so that they can problem-solve and create new possibilities with their children.
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