Protecting Children From Negative Experiences

One of the major flaws parents have been making for at least the last thirty years (and perhaps the past fifty) is in trying to protect their children against experiencing any negative emotions, like disappointment. As a result we have had (at least) two generations of adults who are not very well equipped with how to handle negative emotions.

Here are my suggestions for how to handle your children’s negative experiences.

1. acknowledge and empathize with the child’s feelings of disappointments:

“I see that you are really disappointed because…..”
“I can understand why you are disappointed”
“It hurts/feels bad/sucks/makes you miserable, etc.”

2. normalize feelings like disappointment:

“Feeling disappointment is normal”
“Feeling disappointment is a natural part of life”
“It’s okay to feel disappointment”
“It’s okay to feel bad”
“I have felt disappointment lots of times (perhaps give one, brief, resent example)

3. explore why they are disappointed and what to do with their disappointment:

Often it is related to unmet expectations in either others or self
Journal about your feelings
Talk to a friend
Pray about it
Learn from it
Go play (ride a bike, throw a ball, run) (I’m not a fan of video games for processing feelings – a separate article for that)
Draw/color/create a collage of your feelings or what happened

2 thoughts on “Protecting Children From Negative Experiences

  1. This is SUCH good information, and so true. Instinctually as a mother, I want to PROTECT. But God didn’t protect Jesus. He was there with him. What a great reminder. Thank you.

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