Facing Disappointment

I’ve been reflecting on book 4 this week, as it’s in the final stages of development.  Amy faces disappointment when her mum isn’t around to follow through on a promise.  WitSadh that in mind, I’ve been listening out for some of the disappointments the children I’ve worked with this week have been dealing with.  We’ve had:

  • Falling out with friends.
  • Not getting a coveted toy for a birthday.
  • Not doing as well as hoped in a test.
  • Feeling let down by a parent.
  • Feeling they’ve let themselves down by not practicing their new skills.
  • Finding out someone has told them a lie.

It’s been a busy week!

Disappointment is a difficult issue for adults to get their head around, especially if you feel like you’re having a run of them.  So, how can we develop our children to deal effectively with disappointments and ensure they continue to strive for their goals?

Here are five tips to help your child through disappointing events:

Identify feelings

Help your child identify all feelings associated with the disappointment, for example they might feel angry with themselves or a third party, upset at the way they feel they have been treated or sad about the outcome.  Talk to them about what the feelings mean to them and the impact of each.  Wherever possible associate the feelings with the situation not the person, e.g.” I’m disappointed that my friend told a lie” rather than,” I’m disappointed because my friend is a liar”.


Help your child to understand the reality of the issue.  Is it being distorted?  We often have a habit of increasing the severity of an issue to gain sympathy.  The problem is that we start to believe our own exaggerations.  Help your child review the size of the problem against other activities in their life.

Redevelop confidence

The disappointment may have knocked your child’s confidence.  Help them retain or redevelop their confidence by reviewing what has gone right or how far they have progressed already.  For example if the disappointment is with a test result, focus on how much they have learned already and how much more they can learn if they continue to practice.

Identify the positives

Help your child to identify what the disappointment has taught them and how this information could benefit them in the future.  Would they carry out the same action again?  If not, what would they do differently?  What would they teach someone else from what they have learned?  This will constructively reinforce their decision making processes and help develop new positive strategies for the future.

Keep going!

Encourage your child to continue with their plans or ideas and not give up.  Disappointments are a fundamental part of life; we learn from them, adjust our thinking or actions and continue with our goals.

Maybe you want to practice this in time for Christmas day?!  🙂


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.