Q:

How do you boost your children's spirits when they come home feeling low because something bad happened to them at school? -- Baffled

A:

You want to avoid pooh-poohing what happened at school by saying things like, "That was nothing," or "You're making too much out of what happened." The child obviously thought that it was a big deal at the time. At the same time, avoid blaming the child by asking, "What did you do or say that caused the teacher or another student to upset you?" If you do, it well may stop the child from communicating with you in the future.

The best approach is to let your child vent and talk about the upsetting incident. You can agree with the child that what happened was upsetting to him or her. Quite often, this is sufficient to calm the child down. At this point, you can ask the child to consider what he or she might do in the future when faced with a similar situation. Together, you can discuss the child's ideas. Plus, you can build the child's confidence by bringing up that he has handled many unpleasant situations successfully in the past.

Finally, if a situation is truly a serious one that is likely to continue, like bullying or a barrage of criticism from a teacher, it is time to step in and ask the teacher for help. And extra hugs and treats can also limit children's low feelings.