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How to Make Disappointment a Good Thing
January 30, 2020
Jenny White

Disappointment: you hate seeing your child struggle with this kind of pain. We get it. But too often, we try to avoid it altogether. Sports psychology reminds us that this can be a healthy and positive emotion, but only if you work at understanding it and using it to your advantage to learn, improve and meet your goals. Alternatively, it can also snowball into a sense of devastation, loss of confidence, and sometimes quitting outright.

While we talk about this in the context of skiing, these are life skills that teach our children how to approach disappointments throughout life.

So, what can parents do?

Dr. Jim Taylor suggests:

  1. Don't protect your child from disappointment or distort the situation to make them feel better.
  2. Instead, encourage them to figure out why they feel bad and how they can get over that feeling. What can they learn from it? Give them the power to overcome their setback.
  3. Allow them to express their feelings about the setback.
  4. Show empathy but stay positive and enthusiastic. Show them you have confidence in them to figure this out.
  5. Let them know that setbacks, mistakes, failures are all common--in life and in skiing. Offer perspective.
  6. Give them a hug, tell them you love them, and then get on with life.

Learn more about disappointment, skiing, and parenting in this article: "Disappointment is a Good Thing."