This National Emergency is an unprecedented Pandemic. All children and adolescents need to recognize that this is happening to everyone around the World. Helping kids recover from disappointment has to be one of the harder jobs in parenting. The good news is that overcoming disappointment can—with your help—be a significant learning opportunity for your child. Resilience is the rule with stress and disappointment.
Empathize With Your Child
Begin by acknowledging your child’s perception of what happened. Kids have been looking forward to returning to camp since the day they left last August. This is a big disappointment.
Many times, kids need some time to think before they can discuss their upset. Give them space. Let them know that you’ll be available when they are ready to talk.
When the time to talk arrives, your child will be able to see this situation more accurately and not be led by their feelings. Discuss what is most upsetting.
Dealing With Disappointed Kids When They Won’t Talk
Depending on their personality, your child may show disappointment in different ways. They may be upset and angry, in which case you need to help them to find a way to channel that upset in a constructive way.
If your child retreats when upset or sad, look for ways to draw them out. You might say, “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but when you are ready, we can discuss this.”
Resilience is the rule. Kids will learn that this represents an unprecedented period in history and that “we will all get through this together.”
Tips for Parents
Remain calm; be hopeful; remain connected; model optimism and follow the guidance for safety. We must all be guided by the science offered to us from the Center for Disease Control to minimize risk and protect everyone from the Coronavirus.
Victor M. Fornari, MD, MS
Vice Chair, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Director, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry
The Zucker Hillside Hospital &
Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center
Glen Oaks, New York 11004
Professor Psychiatry & Pediatrics
Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine
Investigator, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience
Feinstein Institute for Medical Research