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One of the hardest things about being a parent is helping your child with hurt feelings. It’s the one thing that we never want them to encounter but everyone has their feelings hurt throughout their life.
Helping Your Child With Hurt Feelings
The Hardest Part of Parenting is Teaching Your Child to Cope When They are Sad
Little Man loves going to preschool and playing with his best friend *Buddy* (I’ve changed Buddy’s name for privacy). Little Man comes home talking about Buddy ALL the time. He goes on and on with stories about everything he and Buddy do throughout the day, how they play ice cream man on the playground, and how Buddy is his “bestest friend ever”.
It’s the sweetest thing– this is Little Man’s first true experience with friendship. And it warms my heart everyday when I pick him up and he excitedly tells me about all of his adventures with Buddy.
So, last week when I picked Little Man up from school I was surprised to see him with puffy red eyes sniffling back tears. When I asked him what happened he didn’t want to tell me. My heart ached for him because I could tell he was emotionally hurting. After about 20 minutes of coaxing he finally whispered “Buddy said he’s not my friend anymore”.
My heart broke for him.
How to Cope When Someone Lets Your Child Down
One of the most difficult things in life is seeing your child in pain. Whether it is physical or emotional pain, any parent would do anything to keep their child from it if they could. What can you do when your child is hurting because of the disappointment they feel in another person? When someone lets your child down, it is difficult, but there are steps you can take to help and not hurt the situation.
When your child is feeling down because of someone else’s actions, your protective mode goes into full swing. The mama bear instinct comes out and you simply have an inate desire to protect them.
Although seeing your child in emotional pain after being let down makes you want to react strongly, keep your cool. Flying off the handle at this point will not help the situation, and will only make it worse. Give yourself time to think, and to respond rather than react.
Pause before Commenting
Although you may feel compelled to pick up the phone and call the school about the situation or contact the other parent- think the situation through.
In Little Man’s case, kids are going to be kids. They are learning about relationships and how to navigate the world of friendships. More than likely things will blow over in a few days.
Console Your Child
Talk with your child about how people don’t always mean what they say in the heat of the moment. Many times when people are upset they say things that they regret later. Then cuddle your little one and let them know that you are always there for them.
Get All the Facts
While you are taking time to pause before moving into action, gather all the facts about the situation. Is this disappointment a one-time thing, or a pattern that is causing long-term damage to your child? Are there other people involved? Is your child telling the full truth?
Check into all the details, and have a talk with your child about what actions can be done differently. Talk to your child and find out if you need to get a teacher involved or if it’s just a learning spat.
Talk to your child about their feelings and how they feel when someone hurts their feelings. Acknowledge that their hurt feelings are valid but encourage them to think of ways that they can make sure that they don’t cause hurt feelings in others.
With Little Man’s situation we talked about how Buddy may have been having a bad day or was overly tired. We talked about how other factors could be the cause of Buddy’s outburst…maybe his feelings were hurts so he lashed out to hurt someone else’s feelings.
Seeing our child let down by someone is one of the worst feelings in the world. It leaves a parent feeling angry and helpless to change the situation, since it does not directly involve us. When you take these steps after your child has been let down, you will be able to cope with the situation more effectively, and for the best interest of your child.
How do you help your child when their feelings get hurt? Share in the comments below!
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