I don't like how I've been interacting with my dd (age 7.5) lately and I'd love some advice
At school (in some classes in particular), and at violin and swimming lessons she really tends to "goof off" and not pay attention (esp when learning a new skill). She's a pretty bright kid and I think anything that doesn't come super easy to her she just doesn't want to do. I can actually relate as I am the same way.
My problem is I feel like we have kind of pigeon-holed dd as the "kid who goofs off". I feel like somehow we are reinforcing that as her role or something.
One thing that has happened recently is that we've fallen into offering a lot more rewards. I'm not really liking what's happening with that. I feel like instead of feeling motivated, she is instead having trouble meeting those goals and then is getting negative reinforcement. As in she's feeling like she's just not capable. Then she just doesn't try.
How to get away from these reward systems? The one that we've been doing recently is offering stickers for respectful behaviour during violin lessons. If she goes the whole lesson doing what the teacher asks when she asks she earns 2 stickers, if she needs a reminder or two (to get back on track) she gets one sticker. Otherwise no sticker. Since the beginning we've been having an awful lot of no sticker days. I'd like to just can the whole thing, but on the other hand I'd like to end on a positive note. My thought was that we would do this temporarily - get her in the habit of listening respectfully during lessons. Once the behaviour had turned around we would drop the sticker chart. But the behaviour hasn't changed. I think dd is discouraged.
Within my myself I feel constantly frustrated with her. I feel like she is letting me down. I hate feeling this way. I feel like it's all me, and there's a way I can turn my own thinking around and everything will get better. Thoughts?
I do try to stay positive, but the frustration brews under the surface, and I often end a "positive" conversation with a nagging lecture. I hate that. It's like I watch myself going there from the outside looking in and I can't/don't stop myself. How to stop myself from pouring my frustrations out? How to stop feeling so frustrated in the first place? Do I expect too much from her? How can I help her "do better"?
Other thoughts... she is the youngest kid in her class. Maybe her behaviour is due in part to age and lack of maturity? Also, I fear that we have had unrealistic expectations of her since her brother was born (she suddenly seemed so much older).
Sorry this post is all jumbled. It's definitely not all clear in my head. I guess the main thing is how do we change our way of talking to dd, interacting with dd, and disciplining dd so that we are doing our part in not reinforcing any negative self-image she might have? We need to change our approach instead of continuing to harp on and on about the same old things. I want to find a way of encouraging her successes (even if small), but I find my frustration/anger gets in the way, and I tend to dwell on the negative or "what she could be doing better".
Hope that all makes sense. Thanks for reading.