Disappointments serve as valuable lessons

Alongside the joy of fulfilled expectations, we all, inevitably, encounter disappointments. No parent wants to see the sad face of a child but it’s important to remember that these disappointments serve as valuable lessons in resilience and growth.

For young children, their world is a journey filled with wonder, curiosity, and the anticipation of what each day might bring. Expectations play a significant role in shaping their experiences, influencing their observations, and moulding their understanding of all that is around them. Children, however, must learn how to process and handle their emotions because disappointments can lead to – what an adult may consider – irrational behaviour. Minimising the disappointment and trying to move past the emotional outburst too quickly can cause your child further frustration. Our advice to you is to help your child process the feeling and to let him/her know that disappointments are a part of life. We don’t like them, but we learn to cope with them – and everyone has them. Perhaps, share a few disappointments you have had.

Despite the unwanted sting of disappointments, these experiences provide invaluable opportunities for growth and learning. Through disappointments, children learn to

  • adapt to unexpected circumstances,
  • develop strength in the face of a difficulty,
  • and learn to manage their emotions positively.

For parents, your children’s disappointments serve as teachable moments. They offer the chance to impart valuable lessons in empathy, compassion, and problem-solving. You play an important role in supporting your children through the highs and lows of life. With an awareness and an acceptance that acknowledges the intensity of children’s emotions, parents can help their children develop healthy, constructive ways to manage disappointment, and a resilient mindset that will serve them into adulthood.

Children – and adults – often set big goals for themselves and become depressed if things don’t turn out the way they had hoped. Seeing your child dealing with feelings of failure, disappointment and sadness is difficult, but these moments provide the opportunity for you to help your child learn how to manage his/her expectations, handle disappointment, and celebrate small successes. And, perhaps, adjust the goals.

The relationship between expectations and disappointments is a natural aspect of the human experience. It shapes the way we understand the world and respond to its challenges. For young children, each expectation and each disappointment serves as a stepping stone on their respective journeys of growth, resilience, and self-discovery – preparing them to deal with the difficulties of life with courage, grace, and optimism.

Expectation has brought me disappointment. Disappointment has brought me wisdom. Acceptance, gratitude, and appreciation have brought me joy and fulfilment.

- Rasheed Ogunlaru –



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