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The Better Behavior Show with Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Jan 10, 2022

This week’s question is from Erica,

“I’m wondering how to deal with the inevitable disappointments that come from my kids when they get gifts sometimes. They are six and nine years old, and it seems like every time a fun event or season comes around, there ends up being disappointment, tears, and even temper flares. They get ideas in their head about how things will be and not everything works out that way. Or they have all kinds of things they want for gifts, but they don't get all of them. We just went through this for Christmas, and now they have birthdays coming up in the next two months, and I don't want a repeat. How can I help them handle the disappointment better?”                                       

When a child seems "ungrateful" or "spoiled" after receiving a gift, it can be embarrassing for the parent. But what's really going on when a child expresses disappointment when receiving gifts? It's not that they are spoiled or that there is a lack of gratitude, but rather an issue of reacting to disappointment.

I'll break down what your child might be going through and how to deal with it in the moment. And more importantly, how to preemptively ease any potential let-downs ahead of time and navigate through embarrassment or discomfort should a negative reaction occur from your child in a group or home setting.

You can submit a question by emailing us at with the subject line "Podcast Question."

Episode Timeline
Feelings of Disappointment Doesn't Equal Spoiled …  00:01:55
Parenting Through a Child Expressing Disappointment … 00:04:00
Tips for Handling a Child's Disappointment … 00:07:56
Questions to Preview with Your Child … 00:09:57
Problem-Solving Approach for When Disappointment Occurs … 00:14:15
When a Child has a Negative Reaction in the Moment … 00:19:12

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