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3 ways parents can help kids deal with disappointment

Life is full of disappointment, and it is difficult for kids, so how does a parent help? Psychotherapist Dr. Erin Leonard shares a few tips:

1) Empathize. Honor their feelings. Say, “You are so disappointed. I get it. I would be too, honey. It’s hard.”

The nice thing about empathy is that you don’t  actually have to do anything. Being empathic is healing in and of itself.

Here is how it works: Studies in neurology have shown that when a child’s brain has good Vagal tone (the Vagus nerve originates in the Medulla, which controls the nervous system) she is calm, centered, and focused. Empathy creates good Vagal tone in a child’s brain, allowing them to settle down and feel soothed.

2) Try and remember a time in your life when you were disappointed and tell them the story. For example, “I was disappointed when I didn’t get that promotion last year. I was so disappointed. I understand how you feel. It’s hard.”

3) Encourage them to continue trying. Effort and determination are a sure sign of a victory in the future.

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