Dealing with Disappointments

Triple P

Dealing with Disappointments
By Professor Matt Sanders
Despite what certain sport shoe commercials might have you believe, life isn’t always about winning.  It is equally important for the development of healthy self-esteem that children learn how to deal with disappointment

As a reaction to not getting what they want, such as being chosen for a team, children may sometimes put themselves down, saying things like: “I’m dumb” or “you hate me” or “I’m just stupid”.

If this happens, try to avoid being too sympathetic. Instead encourage your child to try again after the set-back and to enjoy the activity or game even if they aren’t the winner. Rather than simply reassuring your child that everything will be OK, you can help your child develop their own sense of worth by letting them know that you understand their feelings of disappointment and that you are there to help them work out a reasonable way of dealing with that disappointment.

Remember too, when you’re helping your child with an activity or with homework concentrate on effort not results.  Praising your child for trying and making an improvement will motivate them to continue trying at a difficult task.

Professor Matt Sanders is founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program®. To find out more about Triple P in Alberta go to

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