Parents Can Help High School — and College — Students Deal with Disappointment

Events like the Olympic Games are a marvel.  Once every few years we are able to watch the best in the world doing what they do.  They put everything on the line, give everything that they have — and they do it publicly.  When they succeed, there is nothing like the thrill of that moment.  When they do not, to say that they are disappointed is completely inadequate.

As parents, most of us love nothing better than to see our children succeed at whatever they attempt.  Sometimes, however, they will not.  It is easy to celebrate with your child when they are successful.  It is heart wrenching to support your child through disappointment.  As parents, we can make the difference in how our students face and deal with their disappointment.  Our children have dealt with disappointments all of their lives, but as they face college acceptances or rejections, or perhaps their first semester college grades, the stakes seem somehow higher.  They will get in to their choice of college — or not.  They may receive adequate financial aid (perhaps merit aid) — or not.  They may get into the classes they want, or the major they want — or not.  They may make the team, or the play, or the assistantship — or not.

As parents — college parents or almost college parents — it is important that we give some thought to our responses to our students’ disappointments — and to our own disappointments for them.  Nichelle Strzepek at has written a wonderful post that should give us all food for thought about how we help our students handle disappointment.  Although her article is titled, Helping Dancers Deal With Disappointment, the principles she talks about go well beyond dancers and apply to all of us.  Nichelle encourages us all to ask ”Who is this person becoming?”  Disappointments are part of the growing and learning process.  ”In fact, often we are defined more by our failures. It is despite and sometimes because of obstacles or disappointments that we become a dancer, a doctor, or something completely opposite but all the more right than whatever it is we want (or wanted) to be.”

We recommend the article and its message on the importance of our part in helping our students deal with disappointment.

During this time of year, with the arrival of the acceptance — and rejection — letters, we may be acutely aware of the public nature of our student’s victories and defeats.  Our responses will be an important key in helping them to keep these life experiences in perspective.

Read Nichelle’s post Helping Dancers Deal With Disappointment.

Don’t miss our upcoming post College Acceptance — or Rejection — Letters: Ten Suggestions to Help Parents Help Students Cope

Related Posts:

Waiting for the College Acceptance Letter: How Parents Can Help

Making Sense of Your Student’s College Financial Aid Package

New Year’s Resolutions for High School Parents – and Their College Bound Students

Students May Be Accepted to College – But for Spring Admission

College Waitlist: Should Your Child Just Wait?

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