How to Handle Kids’ Disappointments and Strengthen Bonds
Life is a series of ups and downs and it’s natural for children to face disappointment along the way.
When my son confides in me about a disappointment, my natural instinct is to think of solutions and ways to fix it, especially if he is feeling sad and dejected.
Disappointments are valuable life lessons that help develop skills like perseverance, empathy, resilience and problem-solving. If you try to protect them from disappointment, it will stop them from developing these essential skills. Without a healthy approach to disappointments, a young person can feel like a failure, causing them to give up or quit.
Below are four strategies to help you and the child in your life effectively deal with disappointment:
1. Acknowledge Emotions
Let them know that it’s okay to feel disappointed and that it’s an emotion that everyone encounters at various times in their life. Remember to acknowledge your own emotions when you see a child experiencing disappointment. Being able to feel your own discomfort is an important part of teaching them to lean into uncomfortable emotions.
2. Validate Emotions
Refrain from dismissing their emotions. Avoid phrases like “It’s not a big deal” or “You’re overreacting.” Such statements invalidate their emotions and can make them feel unheard or misunderstood. Instead, validate their emotions by saying, ‘I understand you’re feeling really disappointed right now’ or ‘That must have been really tough for you.’
3. Teach Emotional Management Strategies
Help them identify healthy ways to release their emotions that bring them comfort and calmness when they are upset, such as deep breathing, counting to ten, or finding an activity that relaxes them.
4. Encourage a Problem-Solving Mindset
Together brainstorm potential solutions or strategies to improve the situation. This approach gives them a plan to better prepare them for handling future disappointments.
Providing a supportive and understanding environment goes a long way to helping a child not only navigate disappointment, but also develop resilience.
Until next time…
14 Oct 2021
Kids want to know ‘They Are Enough!’
I want kids to know it’s possible to face adversity and still choose to believe in yourself! That is why, in my presentations to youth, I share stories about two dreams I had growing up and the challenges I encountered along the way.
My first dream was singing the national anthem at a Blue Jays game. Despite being told NO multiple times, and feeling frustrated and embarrassed each time, I chose to keep asking. My persistence and belief in myself turned that dream into a reality.
The second was auditioning on Canadian Idol. I made it past two rounds of judges only to hear from the celebrity judges, ‘You can’t sing, give up and do something else!’ When I left the competition that day, I felt sad, frustrated, angry and disappointed. I wanted to give up! But then I realized, if I chose to give up, I wouldn’t be respecting myself nor my dreams. So, I chose to keep singing and recorded multiple songs.
Even though I encountered many challenges, I’m so glad I decided to learn the important lessons those challenges were teaching me – lessons of determination, putting in the effort, and most importantly – bouncing back from disappointment so that I could move forward with even more motivation to pursue my dreams.
This is What I Know: We can’t save our children/students from challenges and tough emotions, but we can support them, share with them, and teach them ways to keep going. Reminding them that it’s not as much about the challenges and emotions they face, as it is about who they choose to become and how they choose to bounce back. Challenges are chapters of life, not the whole story and when life gets tough, I want them to know…They Are Enough!
Until next time…
18 Nov 2019
Does Common Sense Exist?
“Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people.”
Let’s dive into the definition…
Is sense really common?
The above definition implies that the average person should just know how to act in specific situations, but the problem with that is we are all different. You and I weren’t raised the same, didn’t learn the same things, didn’t have the same experiences, don’t live by the same rules—so what may seem to be common sense to me could be new information for you and vice versa. Wait, what?!
Here’s my theory… If sense were common, then we wouldn’t see road rage, violence, greed, and poor manners. No one would fall out, breakup, or argue over how to parent or teach children. We’d all agree on the fundamentals in life.
But we don’t.
Different experiences = Different sense.
Through my work, I’ve learned that sense and awareness is not common for people. Our experiences impact what we learn and how we perceive what happens around us and because we all experience different circumstances, we learn different lessons. There’s nothing common about it.
For example, my parents raised me to believe that mistakes are opportunities—an essential part of learning and growth. This is now common sense to me, but when I present this idea to a child who was raised to believe mistakes should be avoided, it’s new for them. They’ve learned the opposite.
When our version of sense differs, whose opinion is common?
Does this sound familiar? Someone acts in a way that surprises you and your instant reaction is: ‘Well, it’s common sense, right?’
But what if it’s not?
I remember one day we had guests over. After greeting them at the door, I expected they would take off their shoes. Instead, they walked around inside with their shoes on.
And here’s where sense isn’t common. At my house, we remove our shoes at the door, at their house that isn’t the expectation.
What if it’s not about common sense but
your expectations aren’t communicated, others won’t know what you want. How
would my guests know to remove their shoes if they normally don’t at their
house? In this case, I should have politely asked them to leave their shoes at
the door They would then know my expectations instead of me relying on common
It’s too easy to jump to the assumption that someone should know better because it’s common sense.
The more helpful reaction is to identify what your expectation is and clearly and politely communicate it to the other person.It’s simple, really! By being clear about expectations you can save yourself and others from unnecessary disappointment.