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Ds1 tried so hard but still failed

(21 Posts)
unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 20:29:05

Ds1 is 7. He's a lovely, caring boy - prone to getting a bit carried away with his enthusiasm sometimes - but always at the centre, well intentioned and kind.

He's been struggling with his writing for a while now and has esteem issues about his 'intelligence' - nothing that has filtered down from dh's and my attitudes, but it's difficult to get him out of a negative frame of mind about himself sometimes.

A few days ago he came home and surprised us by saying he wanted to stand for his classes' school councillor - something he shied away from in previous years. The application form was quite long and needed to be handwritten so I was delighted to see him take time over writing it. He did a really good job and we told him so.

Dh and I told him how proud we were of him for wanting to stand and that we couldn't be prouder of him even if he won it, as he kept saying he didn't think many of his classmates wouldn't vote for him.

Another boy who he is close to in the class also applied and although they are good friends, I feel like DS feels inferior to him a lot of the time.

As feared, DS came home saying he had come last in the voting and his friend had got the most by a long way. He wasn't dramatically upset by it but he did say quietly that he would never put himself forward for anything again. Of course I repeated how proud of him we are etc, but he looked so dejected.

Now I know this experience is an important learning curve for him but I can't help feel a little heartbroken for him, mostly because he tried SO hard and came last. The coming last is the hardest but to swallow. The other boy's application form apparently hardly had anything on so it's clearly just a popularity contest.

I just so wanted him to have his efforts rewarded because it's been a battle trying to get him to persevere when there's things he struggles with more than other children. He has really strong emotional intelligence but that works against him in situations like this.

What else do I/can I do to make it better for him? Or should we just move on?

nephrofox Fri 16-Sep-16 20:33:06

Your poor boy. I would mention it to the teacher, not so she can overturn the vote but just so they know how is feeling and perhaps if there any other jobs coming up she can bear it in mind

FadedRed Fri 16-Sep-16 20:43:18

Why did the staff need to say what number of votes the others got anyway? They could just have said who won the nomination.
Good for your DS to try. A pity is comes down to a popularity contest at 7 years old.

unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 20:46:02

Yes good plan. I'm not against healthy competition but to rank a bunch of seven year olds in order of number of votes (there were 6 children up for it it with the winner getting 15 and DS only 2) I think is unnecessarily exposing. I would be inclined to say the top 2 or 3 only and then say the rest were all very close.

This is a school that doesn't have individual 'winners' in sports day too- only team efforts, which is something I really like about the ethos.

JayDot500 Fri 16-Sep-16 20:46:15

Awww, it's devastating for him, but at the same time you must feel so proud of your son! I felt so happy for him reading that post, it must have taken a tremendous amount of guts and strength to run for such a public role. Can't you/his dad reward him with something unexpected, for his efforts? Show him how proud you are and reinforce the idea that it's the effort and not necessarily the immediate result that makes a winner. He'd have gained a lot from the experience regardless, and it can be turned into a positive experience if it spurs him on to greater challenges and results in the future. Sorry, excuse my ramblings but I just wanted to comment and offer some positive thoughts!

You could try talking to his teacher, but be weary, he may not want you to publicise the fact he came last.

unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 20:46:49

X post! Yes exactly. I think it was just a bit ill thought out.

unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 20:52:38

Thanks for all your positive thoughts and suggestions. I felt for a while like I should maybe take the attitude ' oh life's hard, get on with it' but that so counter instinctive in this scenario.

I would like to know if the teacher made a point of saying the children should vote for the quality of the candidate and their form, not for who they liked the most. The boy who won is lovely and probably a good choice anyway but I'm sure he didn't try and hard as DS because the whole thing comes much easier to him. I know that's life but I want DS to know trying is better than winning.

DoinItFine Fri 16-Sep-16 20:59:40

He didn't fail.

He lost an election with an electorate of 7 year olds.

But the effort he put in still counts - he learnt from it and that will.stand to him the next time he applies for something.

Also, he put himself forward, which is brave. Someone was going to get the fewest votes, and he knew it could be him, and he still put himself out there. So he came ahead of all the people who got no votes because they didn't put themselves forward.

He should be really proud of himself.

And you are proud of him.

So go and celebrate tomorrow.

What is an adult-esque treat he would enjoy? A posh dessert somewhere? A milkshake?

Anushka Fri 16-Sep-16 20:59:54

Firstly good for him for putting himself forward and bless him for not getting it. Similar thing happened to dd1 over 10years ago in yr 1, I did go in, really because I didn't think she should have known how many votes she got. School denied telling her and accused her of peeping when the votes were cast! Anyway it's not stopped her putting herself forward but maybe made her think if she really wants to do things before volunteering. I would still go in so they know he's a bit hurt but ask them not to make too much fuss about it now (damage is done), but if he could help out with other tasks it might help his confidence. Hope he's OK

unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 21:07:15

He lost an election with an electorate of 7 year olds.


Your comments are so spot on. Thanks! We'll do something nice with him, deffo smile

unreconstructedperfectionist Fri 16-Sep-16 21:09:17

anushka that's sad but I'm glad your Dd bounced back. DS is pretty resilient but you just never know quite how much and about what

CocktailQueen Fri 16-Sep-16 22:17:39

I hate these. Either it should be a straight vote, or the teacher should ask candidates to fill in forms, and she chooses on the basis of the forms! No point doing a bit of both.

unreconstructedperfectionist Sat 17-Sep-16 16:22:18

We took him out for a special treat today to reward him for being brave. He seems a bit happier now.

I emailed his teacher a very nice email but one which just made her aware of how sad he was etc.

Anushka Sat 17-Sep-16 21:38:17

Well done, and I'm glad he feels better today.
Just remind him later in the year when he complains about any minor issues at school to ask his school council rep to bring it up at their next meeting (held no doubt at some ungodly hour of the morning), after all that's what he got elected in to do! grin

LockingJay Sat 17-Sep-16 21:43:24

Ah this exact same thing happened to my son. He lost out to a more popular 'friend'. The thing that upset me and DS was that the class had to cheer for their winner and all DS friends cheered for the other boy. It was devastating for him. Not only did he lose but he saw that all his friends didn't chose him. I was furious and sent a letter explaining the effect it had had on DS.

DoinItFine Sun 18-Sep-16 08:53:10

Aw, glad he is a bit happier now.

It will all be forgotren about by the end of next week by the class.

Good idea to tell the teacher how sad he was about it.

plipplops Sun 18-Sep-16 21:01:33

DD has tried for this every single year. 5th time lucky (she's 9 now) she got it and was over the moon but it's been a very very long time coming so I feel your pain.

I agree with PPs that they shouldn't say how many votes everyone got, just say who won though.

Believeitornot Mon 19-Sep-16 08:24:14

I do think that it is ridiculous having voting like this at a young age especially as it won't ever be a fair contest.

The teacher should have a rotating schedule of people on the council taken from volunteers. I'm sure it could be handled appropriately. By voting it's an easy life for the teacher - less thinking for them.

I speak as someone who's ds did get picked for school council this year by classmates but there was no mention of a form or anything. I do hope that there were not other kids like the OPs who felt sad for missing out because that's just awful.

plipplops Mon 19-Sep-16 09:26:42

At our school they choose school counsellors by voting (you have to do a little speech). It's a bit of a popularity contest I think but great practise for them to get up in front of everyone (and as I said PP, they must be nice about it as DD has always accepted not winning on the chin). Then they have a bunch of other positions (panels to help advise what to cover in assembly, spread the friendship or e-safety message etc) that the teachers choose people for. So they can pick the ones who are really keen but don't get voted for. It's a quite a nice system as if your kids aren't interested they don't need to get involved, but the chances of being chosen for something if you want to help are quite high.

Singlelady Sun 25-Sep-16 12:46:44

Hey there
I don't have kids but as a child I had difficulty with my writing including B's and D's the right way round. My mother although wonderful was going through a hard time when I was a child would often shout at me and tell me I wasn't trying etc. My self esteem was crippled. My problem slowly sorted itself out but then at age 16 I accidentally done a B the wrong way round an a boy in my class noticed and made a big thing about it and it triggered something and I do it all the time still at 21.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is your doing the right thing. encourage him, tell him how wonderful he's doing and make sure he know's how proud you are. Explain that everyone has things they find really hard, even the coolest most clever boys and girls at school have things they can't do and everyone has things that they are great at. Maybe try and channel your own experiences and tell him about the things mum and dad found really difficult when you were at school. Make sure and talk more about the things he's good at than what he struggles with.

This might have been no help at all but best of luck!

Thornrose Sun 25-Sep-16 12:51:00

We always do a secret ballot at my school. No one knows the vote count except the teacher and TA. I think that's the fairest way IMO.

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