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Your student will experience disappointment. It is inevitable. There are the little disappointments that occur all through childhood, of course, but then there are bigger disappointments. It may be failure to make the team or get the part in the play, a grade that is less than desired, loss of a scholarship, college application rejection, or a low GPA. It might happen in high school or it might happen during college.
Your student may look to you, even without realizing that they are doing so, to model how they should handle this disappointment. Whether it is forgetting an important deadline, failing an academic test, or not receiving a desired job offer, it is important to see this as an opportunity to model your attitude and behavior for your student. How you respond may affect how they react to the situation. Remember when your student was little and fell down? Often, the first thing they did was look to you. If you smiled and laughed, they often got up and were fine. If you were alarmed and fearful, tears came.
It is difficult to deal with our own disappointment, but watching our student’s disappointment may be even more difficult. The hurt or anger or sadness is real and that makes us more than uncomfortable. Trying to see this as an opportunity seems almost impossible. As parents, we want to fix things and make them better for our children. However, not only is it impossible to do that all of the time, it may not be the best thing for your student.
If we want our children to grow up with resilience, or grit, and to be able to get through the difficult times, we need to help them learn how to get through difficult times. Coping with disappointment is a skill, and your student will need the tools to do it. This may be their most important lesson.
This is your student’s disappointment, (you may have to handle your own separately) and they will need to deal with it, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t help. Of course, every family is different, every situation is different, and every child is different, but here are a few things to keep in mind if you need to help your student cope with disappointment.
We have protected our children throughout their childhood and it is natural to want to continue to do that. However, as they learned to walk, we also let them fall down a few times and get back up. Helping your student work through their disappointment will arm them for the future. Seize the opportunity to help your student learn to use the tools that they have.
Author of Article: Vickie Nelson. Article adapted from collegeparentcentral.com. Please Note: Missouri S&T does not endorse or have a relationship with SOURCE and articles are provided for information purposes only. Missouri S&T and SOURCE do not assume responsibility for error or omission in materials.
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