John F. Kennedy once said that courage was “grace under pressure.” Your child’s character is tested when she doesn’t make the play or when her best friend stops talking to her.

The truth is that we will all have days when nothing seems to go our way. Learning how to handle disappointments is a big part of growing up. It’s also a big part of building your child’s character.

Try teaching your child the STAR method of handling a problem. These four steps can give your child a way to feel in control, even during a hard time:

S: Stop and focus. Before getting mad or starting to cry, help your child learn to take a deep breath. Staying calm helps when things don’t go your way.

T: Think. Children don’t always know what they’re feeling. You can help by giving her words to use. “It sounds like you were feeling left out.” Once your child can focus on feelings, she can start to think about some ways she might respond. She might just walk away. She might find someone else to play with.

A: Act. Once your child thinks about several ways to act, she can choose one.

R: Review. Later, you can talk things over. “When you started playing with Mike, did you feel better?”

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