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The Do’s And Don’ts to Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment

The Do’s And Don’ts to Help Your Child Deal with Disappointment

Disappointment can be hard to handle, this is no secret and children are in no way exempted from experiencing these feelings. When it gets too much they might start throwing fits, quit, play the victim, and cheat. Child psychotherapist and parent Erin Leonard has put together a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” to help your child manage disappointment in a healthy manner.


  • Avoid lectures. No child wants to hear a speech on what they’re doing wrong. Hold back on emotionally detaching and using reasons, logic, or rationalizations to explain the situation. Instead, use this approach for after you have helped your child come to terms with the difficult situation through empathy.
  • Do not deny your child of their feelings. Avoid statements such as “Don’t be disappointed,” “Get over it,” or “Life isn’t fair.”  You may come across as a parent who does not bother to listen, consider or even try to understand the wat your child is feeling. This might eventually top your child from coming to their parents when they are in need of help.
  • Do not confuse sympathy with empathy. Feeling sorry for a child strips him of his self-efficacy. Sympathy tempts parents to enable. Abstain from calling up coaches or instructors and demand that they cater to your child or change what they are doing to benefit your child. This teaches your child to play the victim.


  • Let them know they are not alone. “I’ve felt the way you do lots of times in my life. It is hard.”, Is a statement that can help.
  • Embrace disappointment. We all know it is inevitable. Use it as an opportunity to make you child strong and resilient. Helping your child adjust to the feelings disappointment brings is important and creates resiliency in him/her.
  • Show them that you understand. You could share a story about when you were disappointed.
  • Stay present. In tough situations your child needs you, have empathy. Try to understand the way that they might be feeling. You can make statements like “You are disappointed. I would be too. I get it.”
  • Encourage them to keep trying. “Keep at it. It will come.”
  • Praise any effort before achievement. Put it clearly across that victory is secondary and working hard is far more important.


Leonard, E. (2018, June 28). Retrieved June 29, 2018, from www.psychologytoday.com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/peaceful-parenting/201806/how-turn-your-childs-disappointment-determination

[Blog contributed by Charlene Pereira during her internship tenure. The centre is not responsible for the views expressed here. Any instances of plagiarism in the above article will be the sole responsibility of Ms. Pereira]