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How to help teens deal with disappointment

Spring sports canceled and now, fall sports might be as well. Many teens are struggling with disappointment. Blanca Cobb shares tips on how to help teens cope.

As we recently reported many Guilford County parents are rallying for high school athletics to start again in the fall. And many teenagers are still disappointed that spring sports were called off when the coronavirus pandemic started. And now, fall sports are in question and this is adding to their disappointment. 

As a parent, you want to help your teen feel better. A common mistake is not letting your teen feel disappointment, anger, sadness. You have good intentions, but telling your teen to suck it up, get over it or deal with it. However, these types of statements will do the opposite and your teen won't want to talk to you because they don't feel like you understand.  

Instead, it's more effective to validate their feelings. For example, you might say something like, "It's disappointing that you've been looking forward to playing soccer, but it looks like sports might be canceled." When you validate their feelings then feel understood. And they're more than likely to open up to you. 

You can be instrumental in helping your teen find the silver lining in bad situations. If not then some teens can ruminate on the negative. So you should point out the positives when you can. For example, you could comment on how they're still staying fit by running or practicing volleying the ball. So they don't feel isolated, you can mention that all teens playing sports are in the same situation. 

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If high school sports are put on hold then it's a great opportunity for parents and teens to figure out options and alternatives. What skills do they want to practice and how might they do it. Think about what can be done at home and at a park. Contact the high school sports coach and ask for ideas. Reaching out to the coach shows initiative and interest in staying on top of their game. 

Share your thoughts on my Facebook page: Blanca Cobb - Body Language Expert. Write a message on my timeline and I'll get back to you. While you're on my page, I'd appreciate if you give it a "like".