As we discussed in our post about failure, success is not everything, but it can cause disappointment when we are unable to achieve our goals. Disappointment, like failure, is something that we face throughout our life – it is something that a lot of us faced to a great deal throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. I know I was disappointed when I could not see members of my family and my friends. I can only imagine what it was like for the social butterflies of the world and the young children who could not play with their best friends. However, disappointment (as with failure) is not the end of the road, can be overcome, and is even a learning experience. 

How might disappointment be a learning experience you ask? Well disappointment in childhood helps to build resilience in the long run as they learn delayed gratification and to overcome failure. Failure plays an important role in disappointment, as many of us feel disappointment when we fail at a task – for more information on handling and overcoming failure check out our blog post here. According to Parents Magazine disappointment can foster resilience in children. As children feel that they have lost control over a situation when they face disappointment, providing them with new options (such as reading a book inside or coloring instead of playing outside due to the rain) allows them to regain control. Allowing them this opportunity to regain control also allows them an opportunity to regain control of their emotions and show them that disappointment isn’t the end of their day.

Facing disappointment is difficult for both adults and children. Practicing self-regulation methods can help you or your child overcome disappointment. PBS Kids for Parents explains the importance of practicing self-regulation through breathing exercises, yoga, emotion identification, and meditation to calm yourself and your emotions. Validation and acceptance of your and your child’s emotions is an important part of overcoming disappointment. Psychology Today and Child Mind Institute explain the importance of validating and acknowledging these emotions as a means to moving forward and learning from the disappointment. Have you ever ignored your disappointment, and found it resurfacing days later when you found yourself faced with a similar task? This is what happens when we do not process the disappointment the first time around – it comes back to haunt you and can cause fear of failure and disappointment in the future. 

Similarly to facing failure, when facing disappointment you need to be kind to yourself. PsychCentral and Berkeley Well Being Institute explains the importance of not taking your disappointment personally. Although it is important to recognize your disappointment, it’s important to understand and recognize that some things are just out of your control. By taking a step back and understanding that it is not your fault can help you be more resilient in the future. For more information on how to practice self-compassion please check out our blog post

Unfortunately disappointment is inevitable in our lives, but we hope this information will help you use it as a learning experience for you and your students or children. 

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