Dealing with Disappointment

We all have moments when things don’t go as planned. For children being disappointed can seem unbearable.

Parents can show kids how to accept disappointments, learn from them and move on. Role-model how you deal with disappointment by showing how you find unexpected yet positive outcomes, even when things don’t go your way. Make them understand that life’s twists and turns come from Allah and that He is Wise and Merciful. He will not burden us more than we can bear, and every situation is ultimately engineered for our good if we approach it correctly.

Ask your child to speak about the day: what they liked and didn’t like and to find one positive thing. This helps kids choose happiness instead of dwelling on disappointments. Islam encourages finding good in every situation with the prayer ‘All Praise to Allah in every condition’. It encourages this stock-take and a positive outlook: ‘No one should die except with good expectation of Allah’.

Bounce back from disappointment. The Qur’aan makes mention of the initial defeat Muslims suffered in Uhud and highlights it as a necessary learning curve: After that set back, the Sahaaba would not be heart sore at missing out on any opportunity that might have come their way, nor would they become depressed at any adverse conditions that might befall them. Help kids recognise times where they bounced back from disappointment - some strategies can be used again.
Laugh together. Humour is a great coping mechanism. It helps kids understand that things will get better as they always do. The Qur’aan mentions: ‘With hardship must come ease.’ Umar radhiallahu anhu cracked a joke with the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam at a time when there was some strained relationship with his wives.

Islamic Focus 45 May 2007