Insights Into Teens: Episode 120 “Dealing with Disappointment”

This week we’re talking about disappointment and how to deal with it. We’ll discuss what disappointment is and what causes us to feel disappointed. We’ll explore signs to look for that indicate our teens are disappointed and some common things that can cause disappointment. We’ll finish up with some tips on how to help teens deal with disappointment.

Show Notes

INTRO THEME]

  • [INTRODUCTIONS] 
    • Insights Into Teens: Episode 120 “Dealing with Disappointment”
    • My sensitive and understanding co-host Madison Whalen
    • Summary
      • This week we’re talking about disappointment and how to deal with it. We’ll discuss what disappointment is and what causes us to feel disappointed. We’ll explore signs to look for that indicate our teens are disappointed and some common things that can cause disappointment. We’ll finish up with some tips on how to help teens deal with disappointment.
    • [Show Plugs]

[TRANSITION]

   [SEGMENT 1] 

  • Disappointment is perhaps the most immediate emotion children experience after a perceived failure. 
    • Disappointment involves the feelings of thwarted desire, loss, and discouragement when children fail to fulfill their hopes and expectations—or those of others. 
    • Children are going to feel disappointment when they don’t achieve their goals or believe they have let you down.
  • Disappointment is a natural response to failure, but some children react to their disappointment in ways that increase the likelihood of more failure and disappointment. 
    • These children who are faced with disappointment reduce their effort, give up easily, or quit altogether.
    • This reaction to disappointment can cause them to feel incompetent and inadequate, which, if persistent, will lower their self-esteem and will definitely prevent them from achieving their future goals.
  • Though some disappointment following failure is normal, children who are hit hard by disappointment mope around the house, look demoralized, and feel sorry for themselves for far longer than they should.
  • Why do we feel disappointment?

https://parents.au.reachout.com

https://parents.au.reachout.com/common-concerns/everyday-issues/things-to-try-single-parenting-and-teenagers/talking-to-your-teen-about-disappointment

https://bit.ly/37FGClk

  • We can feel disappointed, or even distressed, when actual events don’t line up with what we expected. 
  • We may be disappointed in other people, in a situation, or in ourselves. 
  • Disappointment is complex because it’s made up of frustration, anger, sadness and sometimes disgust.
    • Just like other emotions, disappointment is normal, inevitable and important to experience. 
    • It helps to build resilience, and overcoming this feeling teaches you to process and helps you work through your emotions.

[AD1: SSE]

[SEGMENT 2]

  • How to Identify Disappointment in Teens
    • Signs of disappointment to look for in your teen include
      • they’ve indicated they feel let down
      • they’ve become withdrawn or pessimistic
      • they’re upset that things aren’t perfect
      • they’re using drugs or alcohol
    • Look for:
      • Change in Sleeping Patterns: Are they getting 8 hours of sleep daily?
      • Change in Behavior:  Are they more easily irritable or exhibit lack of energy?
      • Change in Activity Patterns: Are they engaging less with family members or staying alone in their room more?
      • Change in Eating Patterns:  Are they eating more or less than before?
      • Changes in Overall Health: Do they complain of headaches, stomach aches, or muscle pain?
      • Changes in Mood: Do you see mood swings that are out of the ordinary: crying, laughing, gloomy?
    • As parents we may not always recognize what could warrant disappointment. Other events, beyond the current global crisis may cause disappointments:
      • An injury prevents playing sports.
      • A family conflict causes them to miss a school dance.
      • A loss prevents advancement into playoffs.
      • An unexpected breakup occurs.
      • A friendship experiences growing pains.
      • A disconnect occurs from regular routines and schedules
    • We all feel disappointment at some time or another, but it can become a problem if it’s not processed in a healthy way. 

[AD2: ENTERTAINMENT]

[SEGMENT 3] 

  • HOW TO HELP YOUR TEEN GET THROUGH DISAPPOINTMENT
  • Help them to have realistic expectations of themselves
    • If your teen’s expectations of themselves are too high or unrealistic, they will be unlikely to meet them. 
    • Talking to your teen about where their expectations come from can help them develop a healthier relationship with the standards they set for themselves. 
    • Maybe they’re getting good grades but they still feel disappointed in themselves.
    • Help them appreciate what they are achieving, as opposed to what they aren’t. 
    • Speaking about their strengths and having a positive approach will show them that no matter what, they should be proud of themselves.
  • Help them to process disappointment in others
    • Sometimes teens feel disappointed in someone, such as a parent they were expecting to see, or a friend who didn’t finish a group assignment. 
    • While it can be helpful to empathise with them, it’s important not to encourage negative emotions. 
    • Try to avoid:
      • making excuses or promises to soften the blow
      • badmouthing or criticising the person who let them down, which can increase their negative feelings towards the person
      • explaining in detail why the situation happened (e.g. that their parent missed their sports game because they couldn’t get time off work).
      • Focus on your teen and their feelings, rather than the other person. 
      • For example, instead of saying ‘this person decided not to show up and cares more about themselves than you,’ try ‘I’m sure that must be disappointing for you to hear that.’
  • Encourage positive activities
    • If you find your teen is dwelling on their disappointment (maybe they’re watching a lot of TV alone, or zoning out in other unhealthy ways), create opportunities for them to deal with their feelings. 
    • Research shows that an effective way to do this is to involve them in activities they enjoy.
  • You could encourage:
    • joining social activities that help your teen feel connected to friends and family
    • taking part in sports, music, crafts or games that help your teen feel confident and in control
    • keeping up regular commitments and routines (such as an agreement to mow the neighbour’s lawn every fortnight, or making pancakes for the family every Sunday).
  • Learning how to process disappointment is a life skill. 
    • While talking with your teen about these things is important, it’s also useful to show them how you work through your emotions. 
    • That process will include avoiding blaming other people, including yourself, for your teen’s feelings.
  • There will be times throughout your teen’s life when their expectations won’t be met and they’ll feel negatively about themselves and other people. 
    • With the right support, this is an opportunity for growth – help them find ways to manage their feelings and to build their resilience.

[TRANSITION]

[OUTRO AND CREDITS]

Transcription

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