Setbacks and Disappointments

Setbacks and disappointments are both inevitable and essential experiences in childhood and adolescence. Without setbacks, we cannot learn from our mistakes. Without disappointments, we cannot learn about managing difficult feelings. Like emotional training, these hard experiences provide the context in which, properly supported, a child can learn to struggle, to self-reflect, to listen and modify their views, to be brave and to fight for outcomes they genuinely want to achieve. Similarly, without such tough experiences, children may develop into teenagers and adults who lack drive, give up easily, fail to set high ambitions, are casual about their work and expectant that others will bear final responsibility.

Signposting children to steer through setbacks and disappointments is perhaps the most critical signposts of all good parenting.

Children who are self-doubting will often, perhaps surprisingly, respond with tenacity and grit when faced with setbacks because they see them as their own fault. Parents should encourage such children to avoid taking inappropriate responsibility, when others should share the blame. They should affirm their child’s efforts and support them to carry on, highlighting their qualities of grit and determination, rather than focusing on the outcomes.

Children who are self-referential will need help to struggle and to push themselves when things are difficult. Parents should avoid stepping in to solve the problem for them. Snow-plough parents who try to clear the path for their children will not help them develop strength and resilience.

Children who are closed, remote, or who over-check will need help to talk openly when they experience difficulties. They are liable to try to sort out the problem alone and not seek help. Parents should be open, available and model being open to help when they face problems themselves.

  • SEARCH THE TAG CLOUD for articles which deal specifically with SETBACKS AND DISAPPOINMENTS issues.
  • The articles on this page support children with patterns of behaviour which are known to¬† be particularly associated with problems in setbacks and disaappointments.

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