Monday, 9 July 2012

Coping with disappointment

My 5 year old, who is at the end of her first year at school, has been very quiet this evening. The problem is that, in her own words, she has "worked really hard all year but didn't get the award for best work". The award, note, not an award. There is only one award given out in each year group for the child who produces the best work, and all the other children will be disappointed.

Unfortunately, such disappointments are a part of life. As adults we try our best in job interviews, but employers can't appoint all applicants, no matter how much effort and aptitude they display. How many of us felt the pain of unrequited love as a teenager when we failed, despite our best efforts, to win the heart of a gorgeous god/goddess and watched them fall for our friend instead? And after all Andy Murray's hard work and training, he still failed to lift the winner's cup at Wimbledon. That's life; there's often only one "winner", and my daughter, at the tender age of 5, feels like a "loser".

Cuddles, banana and chocolate cake, and lots of praise and reassurance have been my tactics. Acknowledging her feelings and allowing her to feel upset, while at the same time attempting to boost her confidence by pointing out the good school report she received, the positive comments from her teacher, and the great work she's done this year. Awards day in school happens once a year, but she knows that her and her sister get the awards for the best children in the world, from me, every day.

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