From Daniel’s Desk29/11

To The School Community,

During this term as a school community, we have spent considerable time delving into what leadership looks like for our year 5 students moving into year 6. The students have played a significant lead role into what this looks like. With the support of their teachers, they have developed a suite of roles that they would like to fulfil during 2019. I have used my blog post to focus on this, without extra info about dates etc so please remember to check the Calendar on the website or Facebook.

With this exploration comes participation in a process where students share with their class mates and teachers their character strengths and ideas that highlight their idea of what a good fit leadership role is for them. The challenge is to piece all of this together, tap into the strengths highlighted by the students and “choose” who will have the opportunity to take on particular roles.  Firstly I would like to share that every student in year 6 will have a formal leadership role that interests them and connects strongly to their Character Strengths. The most difficult role allocation is always the School Captain role, we have many worthy candidates at our school but unfortunately, we need to narrow that down to 4 before the end of the year.

As part of the process, I spent time with the students discussing the range of feelings that people will experience during a “selection process” particularly the feeling of disappointment if you happen to not be selected. It has made me think hard about whether or not the way we manage this needs a revamp – I will discuss it with the students – but it also made me think that I might write something for the school community that shares with you my thoughts about how to support your children when they do feel disappointed.

I know as a parent that I  hate to see my children feel disappointment. They are sad, carry a weight on their shoulders. There have been many times that I am sure I have rescued my kids wanting to do everything to rid them of that disappointment. Reflecting on this I am pretty sure that this was an error in judgement.

Disappointment is not an emotion we want to feel regularly; it feels really bad. I do think though that it is an emotion not to be avoided. My belief is that disappointment is an emotion that plays an essential role in children’s emotional, intellectual, and social development.

What Is Disappointment?

Disappointment is likely to be the emotion children experience after an event that they feel is a failure, usually their perception. Disappointment involves the feelings if they don’t get their way, loss, and discouragement when children fail to fulfil their hopes and expectations or those of others. Children are going to feel disappointment when they don’t achieve their goals or believe they have let you down.

Disappointment is a natural response to failure, I’ve experienced it many times in my personal and professional life, but some children react to their disappointment in ways that increase the likelihood of more failure and disappointment. These children who are faced with disappointment can reduce their effort or give up easily despite that some disappointment is normal. For me this is where the language of the Character Strengths come in!

“Protecting” Your Children From Disappointment

Your natural tendency when you see your children feeling badly is to try to make them feel better, nothing wrong with that to a point. Using excessive expressions of affection or by buying them gifts, though it may bring them some immediate relief and make you feel better is a strategy to be avoided. Allison Armstrong ( author of many publications about relationships and emotions!) writes: “Many parents today try too hard to smooth away life’s rough edges in the hopes of keeping disappointment at bay…Children with no experience solving life’s little setbacks have a much harder time when they’re faced with the big ones.” Placating your children doesn’t allow them to understand what caused the disappointment and figure out how to not feel disappointed in the future. Your children need to be able to just sit with their disappointment and ask “Why do I feel so bad?” and “What can I do to get over feeling this way?” Pacifying your children may also communicate to them that you don’t think they are capable of handling and overcoming the setback. Your reaction will only interfere with your children’s ability to surmount future obstacles and it will make disappointment more painful in the future. This is challenging and takes a great deal of will power and practice.

Disappointment is a normal, though difficult, part of growing up!

You can teach your children to see disappointment as an opportunity to improve and grow. Offering your children a different perspective on their disappointment. Work with them on some tools they can use to avoid or minimize their disappointment in the future, and focus on increasing resilience, motivation, and confidence.

How do you respond to Your Children’s Disappointment?

Your attitude toward your children’s disappointments will influence how they respond. Your reaction is crucial in responding to the disappointment, empathy is important as well as a supportive but not a rescue mindset. Support them in discovering their own solutions.

Allison Armstrong also mentions that if your approach is to cut disappointment off at the pass as it threatens, you’re setting kids up to run a marathon without ever letting them train for it.

Here are some suggestions (from the experts) on how to respond to your children’s disappointments:

  • Allow your children to feel disappointment about the setback;
  • Don’t “spin” the situation to make your children feel better;
  • Offer a healthy perspective on disappointment;
  • Support your children, but don’t give them a consolation prize;
  • Help your children find ways to surmount the causes of their disappointment;
  • Tell your children that they will survive these disappointments and will experience many successes;
  • Finally, make sure they know you love them!

Enjoy the rest of the week.

You can find previous Principal’s Bulletin’s in the Blog Post section of the Newsletter

Important Dates:

Wednesday 28 November
Whole School Transition Day
Grade 5 -6 Elective Sports
School Council Meeting

Thursday 29th November
Prep Dinner

Monday 3rd December
Grade 3 Bike education commences

Tuesday 4 December
Grade 3 Bike education – Last day is Thursday 6th of Dec
Grade Prep – 2 Swimming Program commences – Last day is the 13th of Dec

Friday 7th December
Our Christmas Fair!!


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