Helping Children Process DisappointmentsMay 18, 2021
“I want to invite you to see this as an opportunity to help your child develop a capacity to be resilient. If you get in the way, you might be keeping your child from being able to develop those skills. Handling disappointment and sadness is like a muscle that needs to be worked out. Your child needs to continue to work out this resiliency muscle.”
This week on the 3D Parent Podcast, I’ll share some valuable tips on how you can help your child process disappointments so they can grow into a mature and resilient adult.
We will also look at ways you can hold space for your children when they are in a fragile state, especially with stress and disappointments triggered by the pandemic. Finally, I’ll provide some pointers on what to avoid doing when your children are going through the process of disappointment and frustration.
Things You Will Learn
[01:09] Kids have to face disappointment. It's simply the way of life. But in our current situation, children are faced with more burden due to the cancellation and postponement of important life moments. That's why, in this episode, I'm sharing how you can help your child navigate through any disappointments life throws at them.
[02:58] The first step I recommend is to hold space for your child's feelings. Allow them to process their disappointments. Let them have a moment of grief and sadness. It's vital for them to go through this process because suppression and absence of feelings is worrisome for children.
[5:02] As a parent, it's natural for us to protect our child from the pain that comes with disappointment. It's hard to see them frustrated, especially when they have the tendency to blow things out of proportion. Just remember that it's a learning process that they need to go through to become resilient human beings that are capable of coping with life disappointments. And if you're too quick to put a Band-Aid on those feelings, they may not mature as they should.
[5:33] So how do we actually hold space for our children? First, move empathize with your child. Don't make them feel that they have to justify their raw feelings and as much as possible, withhold judgment and the instinct to fix or control the situation. Listen to them intently and let them know that you understand where they coming from
[7:36] Part of holding space for your children is also finding the best comfort that will suit their needs. Some children prefer physical contact as a form of affection while for sensitive kids, it may be a little too much.
[11:52] As I said, it's our natural instinct as a parent to protect our children from all harms and disappointments. But we have to be careful not to fuel their frustrations and disappointments, which would be a huge disservice to your child. If we are too quick to affirm the anger our children are feeling, they will not go through their own process of self-reflection. That does not help your child grow up and develop and become a mature and resilient adult.
[16:54] Processing disappointments in life is similar to grief processing, so it takes time. But it will also result in resiliency. When children are able to feel the grief that comes from disappointments, that's where resiliency will start to creep in.
[23:12] Once your children are able to move past the sadness and disappointment, that's when you start helping your kids plan their future to avoid facing the same predicaments. For example, if the disappointment resulted from canceled plans, you can find brainstorm alternatives to make those plans come to life.
Quotes From Episode 33
"Holding space for our children is unconditional love in its purest form."
“What does holding space mean when it comes to our children and helping them cope with disappointment? Well, to me, it means a willingness to come alongside our children and their feelings while withholding all judgment and any attempts to fix or teach or control them or the outcome. Instead, we make room for their emotional experience and expression and simply stay present and bear witness.”
“If you jump in and talk to the teacher or the coach or the casting director first, you’re not giving your child a chance to do that for themselves. And that becomes more and more important as your child is growing up. You want to empower your child to be able to do that for themselves, but they will never do that if you jump in.”
“In the moment of disappointments, it's not helpful to try and give a child an adult’s perspective. It's not going to help them now. Yes, it's a conversation you can have later. That's also something that kids will develop on their own as they continue to grow and mature and their eyes become open to the outside world. When your child is upset and frustrated and grieving some type of loss, don’t try to jump in with a lesson or reason with your child. It's not going to help them and it might even hurt them.”
“Supporting our children as they face disappointments is vitally important because it allows room for resiliency to grow, and resiliency is key to emotional health and maturity.”
Let's work together! I provide 1:1 support for parents motivated to make positive changing in their parenting and gain confidence and increase fulfillment in their role as parents. If this sounds like it might be what you've been looking for, book a free consultation today.
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