Kids and disappointment

We have recently endured the school captain election process for the second time.  I am going to age rapidly if I have to go through this every two years. My daughter was very keen to get elected as a school officer (partly because her older brother had been school captain a couple of years ago).  But she was struggling to get her head around coping with not getting a position.

So we spent a lot of time chatting (not always without angst - 'so you don't think I can do it, do you Mum?' followed by floods of tears) about how she would respond if she missed out and how she was going to speak to the other girls about it.  We really wanted her to be kind to others in the process.  And recognise that the process is what it is.  You can't control it - whether it seems fair or not.

So that was all fine.  Good learning experience at our end.

However, I soon discovered that this was not a lesson a few of the other mothers had ever learnt.  I had some bizarre conversations with other mums who were unhappy with the outcome and thought it was terribly unfair.  One mother even told her daughter she'd demand a recount if she didn't win.  What????

So frustrating that there are mums out there who are still stuck in the backstabbing land of Year 10 at high school.  Except that now they're responsible adults with young daughters to bring up.  Our kids aren't going to cope with disappointments and unfairness if we ourselves can't manage our emotions enough to show them how to do it.

Just got to take a deep breath and hang loose to it all.  By the way the story ends happily.  She won school vice-captain.  Very excited for her.

PS If you're interested, I've written before about coping with children's disappointments here


Anonymous said…
Our daughter is very gifted academically and so has won a number of school awards over the years. We have heard of parents complaining that she shouldn't always get the awards and that they should be shared around. What? They think results shouldn't matter in academic awards?

Our daughter isn't very sporty but we never jump up and down expecting her to be awarded 1st place in sporting events just because the awards should be 'shared around'.

Parents are often their kids' worst enemies.
Anonymous said…
There is an accompanying book to 'Queen Bees and Wannabees' called 'Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads' I haven't read all of it but what I read was sufficiently scary.
It starts when the parents are comparing what reading level their child is on c/f others in kindergarten and never gets any better.
Sandra said…
oops I pressed the wrong labelling thing. That was me. Really.
wide eyed said…
oooo - I can so relate to being around parents who are in backstabbing land of year ten. You have to make a conscious effort not to be dragged into the conversations.
Motherhugger said…
For us, it prompted a talk about politics. Qualities in different candidates appeal to different voters. You could choose to deliberately try to capture the vote of a certain demographic, or you can be yourself and do what you think is right and trust the process. It isn't nice to slag off your opponents. If you don't like the result you can challenge the process. (Of course, being primary school, not recommended - the process is fine - but for later in life - working for structural change is more productive than slagging off people.)
We were happy that the good qualities in the children were being acknowledged, for all the awards.

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