Helping Your Child Face Disappointments

I don't know whose heart hurt more when my daughter lost her race for student body president, hers or mine. And I don't know if my son could possibly fathom the internal struggle I faced when he didn't get the scholarship that would have allowed him to go to a more prestigious university.

Little else breaks a mother's heart more than watching her child face disappointment. Whether your two-year-old is frustrated because you've denied him a toy or you preteen is excluded from a sleepover or your young adult isn't accepted into the school of his choice, your heart will ache with frustration and grief when your child faces the disappointments of loss, limitations or exclusion.

But, rather than wallow in our own pain over a child's grief, as mothers we have to be prepared to walk our children through inevitable disappointments so they do not grow despondent and discouraged, but instead develop more healthy attitudes, such as empathy, tenderness, focus, and resolve, as a result of their setbacks.

So how can a mom help her child turn his disappointments into stepping stones instead of allowing those same losses to trip him up? I've struggled with this at times, but I do have two young adult children who have managed to remain hopeful, positive, full of faith, joyful and confident despite the numerous disappointments they have faced. Ever the one to take some good advice when I find myself at a loss, I've accumulated some reliable and biblical pointers from more knowledgeable sources that have helped me with this daunting task. I'd like to share those with you.
Do you have other ideas for helping your children face disappointments with grace? It's a big job, being a parent. We'd love to know how you handle the emotions and struggles of a child's disappointment.

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