Imagine taking your child to their prize-giving ceremony, other kids, some of their best friends get an award, and he doesn’t.
As the season of graduation and prize-giving ceremony approaches, it is expected for kids to start getting agitated, which makes it wise for you to consider how to respond when your child doesn’t receive an award.
Here’s how to prepare your kids for disappointment on prize-giving ceremony day.
1. Talk About The Possible Outcomes Before The Event
Talk about the possible outcomes before the event and make your child understand that not all children can and will receive an award.
The point of this is to start to mentally prepare your child to consider both possible outcomes and build up some resilience.
Help manage the disappointment by convincing them that they did their best and are more than what some random award says.
2. Teach Them Not To Model Narcissism
It’s absolutely human to respond to disappointment as most kids do: questioning the fairness of the process, the judgment of the giver and whether the winner deserved to win.
In as much as it’s only natural to react this way, it is a flawed way to deal with disappointment, and can very quickly lead to a dark place.
There’s some narcissism inherent in assuming they deserved the award that was given to someone else.
Groom your child instead of presuming bias, to consider they don’t know the whole story, and there may be numerous factors that summed up to another kid getting the award.
Feeling passionately about something doesn’t make it true.
Encourage them to take the long view. Most awards, the popular Nobel and Grammys inclusive, do not really have a long-term effect on anyone’s life.
After they are received, they have a short shelf life and quickly decline in importance.
There are few to no adults who can truly point to a childhood award and label it as making a deep impact on their future?
3. Teach Them To Find Joy In The Success Of Other People
More than anything, disappointment provides an opportunity to take joy in someone else’s success.
Yes, it’s difficult, and might take practice, but the ability to enjoy another’s good fortune is part of emotional intelligence and having a positive outlook.
It’s not too early to start helping your child cultivate a foundation to successful relationships, because in real life, sometimes friends win and we lose out.
Teach them that a positive mindset regardless, is the source of far more joy than we get from exclusively celebrating our own triumphs.
4. Teach Them To Focus On Relationships And Happy Memories
A fantastic way to help your child prepare for/overcome disappointment on prize-giving ceremony day is by teaching them to choose to be happy for their friend(s) who receive the awards. It is the right choice because the friendship will endure well past the memory of the award.
Imagine losing a playmate to some end of year award. Not worth it.
If your child cares enough about a subject enough to be disappointed by not winning an award, that activity has probably been important to his/her happiness or development.
They probably have grown and gained any number of important intrinsic benefits, including relationships. It’ll be truly tragic to lose those good memories because of one award.
In the end, focusing on the happy memories, the lessons learned, the personal growth and skills developed, and the relationships cultivated may help lessen the real sting of feeling passed over.
So, when your child doesn’t win a prize, stop a minute, acknowledge the real disappointment, but then pause and redirect him/her, and, if needed, yourself.
Never let one disappointing experience dispel happy memories or ruin friendships.
It’s really not that deep. In doing this, you help your child stay focused on what is most valuable and you help them (and yourself) develop resilience and emotional maturity.
5. Plan Your Own Ceremony To Award Your Child
Make a list of the attributes that have helped your child to become successful. Attributes like kindness, attention to details, persistence, confidence, helping others.
Others like helping out in the house, being honest, etc., and award your child for these Ice-cream, an afternoon out, a new toy, you know what your child likes.
Part of this should include acknowledging your child’s feelings. It’s ok for your child to feel sad, let down, and disappointed.
Instead of diminishing or disregarding them, help your child find ways to manage these emotions so that they don’t become overwhelmed.
You should also read: 9 Ways To Help Your Gifted Child Live A Balanced Life
Encourage them to do something that distracts them, something fun, and beneficial.
It would also help to have real discussions with your child about your own life experiences.
They will learn that parents and teachers experience disappointments – and even though they might hurt at the time, they’re able to move on and be successful anyway.
You can do this at home and/or have their teachers do it, leading up to award ceremonies to help your youngster emotionally prepare themselves.
6. Have Them Take Some Time To Reflect On What Can Be Learnt From The Situation
Disappointment is an emotion that occurs when what you want to have happen, doesn’t happen.
Sometimes it’s simply ‘not your time’, but more often than not, it is that our plans or expectations need some adjustment.
So, work it out with your child. Have them ask themselves: “What can I do better next time?”
Thankfully, there are many programs, books, and other resources available to do better next time. It may be another class, but they have a next time to do better.
Find more about parenting and kid’s education tips here.