When your child doesn’t receive a prize it is important to learn to cope productively with disappointment because it is an important skill for a happy life.
Talk about what matters
The best lesson is to enjoy learning and activities for themselves, not for prizes and accolades. Some students desperately always want to be at their best. Ask your child ‘what does a prize really mean to you? If it is recognition for work well done, help them see what a good year they have had and how much they have accomplished. It is their own sense of satisfaction that really matters.
Don’t blame the school
Those who determine prizes are keenly aware of the responsibility and are thoughtful and conscientious in their decisions. Decisions are made in good faith.
Take the long view
Short of a Nobel, most prizes don’t really have a long-term effect on anyone’s life. After they are given they are given a short shelf life and quickly decline in importance. How many adults can truly point to a childhood prize making a deep impact on their future?
Learn to find joy in the success of other people
Disappointment provides an opportunity to take joy in someone else’s success. That is difficult, but the ability to enjoy in others’ good fortune is part of an emotionally mature life.
Focus on happy memories
If a child cares enough about an activity to be disappointed by not winning a prize, that activity has been important. Celebrate the year’s work as a family by focusing on happy memories, the lessons learned, the personal growth, the skills developed and the relationships cultivated, parents can help lessen the very real sting of being passed over. Acknowledge the disappointment and help your child stay focused on what is the most valuable. That way you can help them develop resilience and emotional maturity.