Yesterday we were meant to go and watch concrete being poured at Granny and Grandpa's new house. My four year old son is really excited about the whole building process. Unfortunately just before we left we got to a phone call to say that it wasn't happening. I then had to tell my son that we weren't going. He was really disappointed and in tears. He said that he needed to sit on the couch and have some time to himself. After some cuddles I got him to kindergarten instead and the day turned out okay.

This is the first time something my son has wanted to do (or known was going to happen) has not happened so the first time he had to cope with this kind of disappointment.

Does anyone have any advice on how to help kids deal with disappointment?

Update: Today we went to watch the concrete being poured. I hadn't said anything until this morning. When I told him he said he didn't want to go. I think this was because he didn't want to be disappointed again. I told him that I was going so he had to come with me but he could stay in the car. When we got there he didn't say anything about not wanting to get out. We stayed for about 15 minutes and he didn't want to leave.

asked 24 Jun '10, 21:50

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 01 Jul '10, 08:36

He sounds like a emotionally advanced little chap, in my opinion, asking for time alone on the couch!

My daughter also did that( & sometimes still does) when she felt frustrated, angry or disappointed. This was something that we encouraged too, because it really seemed to work when she calmed herself down.

One thing that we have always tried to do is make time to talk about the situations there and then with our daughter, and this has more often than not opened up new topics for discussion as she has asked questions back. She showed us that she was indeed really listening to the explanation that I or Daddy were giving, and that emotionally she was ready to understand.

We still have the same approach even though she is now 6. Here is what we would do/still do.

  • Acknowledge the disappointment and show him you understand. Empathy works great with children in my opinion,
  • Talk about the "reason" or "event" that has caused the disappointment.
  • Get him to talk about it too, for example if the event is delayed or postponed, it is likely to happen, and get him to guess when you think it may happen. (We do this when it rains on a day that we have had particular plans, and try and guess when we can do it next)
  • Work with him with regard to the transition of his feelings, (in our case sometimes this is very quick and sometimes it can take more time) and praise him for being such a understanding boy.

and finally the cuddles...

(I hope that the event is re-scheduled and he gets to see it soon)


answered 25 Jun '10, 05:57

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

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Asked: 24 Jun '10, 21:50

Seen: 2,044 times

Last updated: 01 Jul '10, 08:36