Help me figure out how to turn things around with my dd. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#2 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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One of my most successful parenting techniques - don't watch! Unenthusiastic swimmer? Read a book. Extremely messy ice cream cone eating? Look away. Picking up something way too full of a sticky liquid? Engage another adult in conversation.

Do you have to stick around during violin? Good teachers can handle their charges. If the teacher doesn't say anything, assume all is well. If the teacher has a problem maybe she will suggest a different age group or some other solution.

I have found that I can't help but nag if I see certain behaviors, but I hate nagging. If I don't see it, there's nothing to nag about and DS comes along at his own pace anyway.

Good luck!
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#3 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 03:07 PM
 
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I don't go into my dd's music lesson at all. It is her teacher's job to keep her on track and she does. I also try to work out upstairs while DD does swim lessons. If I notice she seems to be goofing off I remind her of the expectations and that I will have to go over and redirect her in the middle of swim lessons if she doesn't use her self control. This has been very effective the last three years because it is embarrassing to have your mom redirect you in the middle of the lesson, I only had to do it a few times and she remembers that I am willing to follow through so now we are down to "the look" on rare occasions. I do bring her for a doughnut at the end of each session as long as the teacher doesn't mark that she behaved inappropriately on the end of month sheet.

I totally agree with the look away suggestion. The teacher really will let you know if there is a problem and what you describe sounds very normal and easy for a good instructor to work with.
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#4 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The violin lesson I do need to attend because it's Suzuki... but I could make dh go instead!  And swimming I could totally go a read a book.  Hmmm....

 

I think it would be good for me to distance myself a bit from these lessons.  I don't know why I let her behaviour get to me so much, but I do.  I get so frustrated.  So maybe staying away from the lessons is the answer.  I think we could carve out a bit more time for fun and frivolous activities too.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#5 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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Does she enjoy the lessons?  Perhaps she's distracted easily because she's not really into it?  If she does enjoy it then i'd do like others suggested and just don't watch:)


Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#6 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Violin she really does enjoy.  Swimming she likes so-so, but it is non-negotiable in our family that the kids reach a certain proficiency in swimming (for safety reasons).  But, she definitely doesn't *dislike* swimming... she is just luke-warm on taking lessons (she prefers "free swim" time). 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#7 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you think is up with me getting so frustrated?  Do any of you experience similar?  I hate feeling that way.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#8 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

 

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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

What do you think is up with me getting so frustrated?  Do any of you experience similar?  I hate feeling that way.


Do you think that you're seeing a trait in her that you dislike in yourself? The traits of my kids that set me off the most are either the ones I really don't understand or the ones that I recognize all too well.

 

For the violin lessons, I'd ditch the sticker system now. I'd be pretty honest with her. "We tried this, and it didn't seem to help. In fact, I think it might be hurting."

 

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that anything that doesn't come super easy puts her out of her element. That might be the way in to talk to her about it. Tell her just that "I notice that when things are getting difficult, you tend to start to goof off. You know, I get those same feelings. I don't like feeling frustrated, and so when something is difficult I sometimes I want to ....." Then you can talk together about strategies for managing frustration -- what do you find that works for you? What would she like to try?

 

The other thing that I'd say is that our 7 1/2 year old is far more respectful to teachers and people outside the family than to us. We get outright defiance. "You can't make me!" Her teachers get a hefty sigh and compliance (and I get the rant about how stupid this was when I get home). Our daughter is a bit like your daughter -- a lot of things come easy to her. Piano is one that doesn't. Actually, she's got a great ear for piano, but rhythm is really hard. Her piano teacher has asked her to count out loud for one song to get the tricky rhythm down. Last night, dd was overtired, and when I asked her to do that, she refused and then ran upstairs screaming. Neither of these are great frustration tolerance moves either. She'd never do that for her piano teacher. (This one reason dd is not homeschooled. The dynamic of having to have her work on things would eat at our relationship.)

 

So, if there's any way to get you out of the middle of those lessons, it'd be good. Dad can put in his time with Suzuki (when do parents get to stop going?). For our dd's swimming lessons,  I can't be close to the pool (the spectator area is behind a fence). So I bring something to read, or play games on my Droid. I don't have to be the heavy. When dd and I go swimming, I might ask her to show me what she's been working on, but if she just wants to goof around with me that's fine. I'm not the teacher.

 

 

 


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#9 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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I get frustrated with some of the things DD does. I think some of it is because I know she isn't always showing what she is capable of. Sometimes it is embarrassment that I react to. I am also definitely more irritated closer to my periid. I probably made it sound like I am frustrated a lot but I really try to stay mindful of when I am reacting out of frustration so I find ways to change my reactions. It sounds like you are trying to do the same. I don't think you should brat yourself up or feel bad about this. When you live day in and day out with someone you love deeply it is hard not to have times when they drive you Mar with bad decision making.
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#10 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 06:56 PM
 
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I can definitely relate. My oldest son is 12 and I have had similar feelings about him being the seen as the 'class clown' and not taking certain lessons seriously. His birthday is at the end of August so he is always the youngest kid in his class. He is the same way- very smart but he gets discouraged quickly if something doesn't come easily right away. He's really sarcastic and witty but hasn't learned there's a time and place for that.

 

I love lizvan's advice about 'look the other way'. It's hard to not have your own feelings tied up with your child's happiness and we of course want them to be successful so they can be happy. I wish I had learned sooner that he will come along on his own with regards to his schoolwork and lessons. What has been working for us is kind of the natural consequences route. He is obviously older and at a different stage than your daughter but I wish I had started with him earlier. Before a situation arises we talk with DS about what is acceptable and expected and what is going to happen if he doesn't meet his end of the deal. That way we have minimal nagging and no arguments. 

 

He used to have excuses that showed his self doubt "I'm just not good at math." I think a lot of kids think this way that if they aren't immediately good at something they are 'bad at it'. 

I have also tried to change how I talk to him about his accomplishments. If he gets 100 % on a test instead of saying 'you're so smart' I say 'Wow you must have worked hard I am so proud of you!' Or if he learns a new chord on the guitar instead of 'you're so talented at guitar' I say 'You're practicing is paying off that is awesome!'

 

Also it's natural to feel so responsible for how our kids are acting. The teacher is used to kids I'm sure if there was a problem they would address it with you. 

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#11 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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I don't have much advice, but I can definitely relate.  My son is 8.5, and it's Suzuki piano not violin, but otherwise a lot of what you said rings true for us, too.  He's one of the youngest in his class, too, and kind of a goof-ball at times.  I have a hard time getting him to realize that there are some times when you need to be serious and respectful.  (like during piano lessons (and school!))  And I have found myself lecturing him on the way home about how upset I am that he wasn't showing respect to his teacher.  It definitely frustrates me, too!  I think part of it is that it's the complete opposite to how I used to behave as a kid.  I don't understand his reasoning.  I can't relate.  And thus I have a hard time watching it, especially when I know he's smart enough to know better.  

 

But I don't have a solution yet.  I realize that we often say good-bye in the mornings with reminders to behave himself.  I'm trying to turn that around to reminders to be kind to others, rather than reminders to not poke at them.  We're trying to get him to think about others feelings.  I don't think he does this much, unfortunately.  He's a smart kid, but he doesn't seem to think about how his actions affect others.  We talk a lot about how his actions make other people feel.  He seems to get it, but never at the time he's screwing around.  Only later when we are talking.  

 

We usually have positive reinforcement lined up next to negative reinforcement.  (Rewards for keeping up with good behavior, while taking away privileges for bad behavior.)  Sometimes I think he ends up working for the reward only and not because it's the right thing to do.  But maybe it's a step in the right direction.  I hope.

 

Looking for advice, too!

 

 

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#12 of 13 Old 02-19-2012, 08:24 PM
 
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I get antsy when DD1 does similar things.  I remember falling behind because I goofed off too much and I know how cruddy I felt when I realized I was behind.  I do not want DD1 to have those feelings.  I also want her to be great because she's mine. 

 

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#13 of 13 Old 02-20-2012, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post


Do you think that you're seeing a trait in her that you dislike in yourself? The traits of my kids that set me off the most are either the ones I really don't understand or the ones that I recognize all too well.

 

For the violin lessons, I'd ditch the sticker system now. I'd be pretty honest with her. "We tried this, and it didn't seem to help. In fact, I think it might be hurting."

 

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that anything that doesn't come super easy puts her out of her element. That might be the way in to talk to her about it. Tell her just that "I notice that when things are getting difficult, you tend to start to goof off. You know, I get those same feelings. I don't like feeling frustrated, and so when something is difficult I sometimes I want to ....." Then you can talk together about strategies for managing frustration -- what do you find that works for you? What would she like to try?

 


 


Great thoughts!  I definitely think there's an element of not wanting her to having my same "failings".  It is absolutely something I dislike about myself that I have fear/anxiety around doing or trying things that I'm not instantly good at.  I think I miss out on a lot of things because of it, and I don't want my kids to miss out in the same way.  Perhaps the thing here is to work on my own issues.  You suggested saying: "I don't like feeling frustrated, and so when something is difficult sometimes I want to...." and the answer is "quit!".  The problem is that I'm not very good at *not* quitting.  If I can improve that in myself I'd be a better example for my dd.

 

Also, re. the sticker thing... I think you are right that it is time to let it go.  It is only feeling like a negative right now.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siouxsie View PostBefore a situation arises we talk with DS about what is acceptable and expected and what is going to happen if he doesn't meet his end of the deal. That way we have minimal nagging and no arguments. 


I need to get better at this.  I always try to do that.  I have talks with my kids *before* whatever situation and explain what to expect and what is to be expected.  I let them know what the consequences of their actions will likely be.  Say in violin lessons I talk about how the teacher might get annoyed, and/or feel disrespected/bad, etc.  Then I tell myself to let it go at that, let her figure it out and learn her own lessons.  But inevitably the emotions rise (in me) and I find myself lecturing and nagging again.  I guess I just have to work on my mindfulness, and just not go there.  Perhaps I need a mantra to repeat every time I feel the blood pressure rising???



Quote:
Originally Posted by kaybee View PostI have found myself lecturing him on the way home about how upset I am that he wasn't showing respect to his teacher.  It definitely frustrates me, too!  I think part of it is that it's the complete opposite to how I used to behave as a kid.  I don't understand his reasoning.  I can't relate.  And thus I have a hard time watching it, especially when I know he's smart enough to know better. 

 

 


It's funny - I said upthread that I relate to dd (not wanting to try or do things that don't come super easily), but at the same time, like you, I don't relate at all.  There is no. way. on. Earth. I would have every acted like that as a kid.  Never.  I was quiet, respectful, etc.  It's almost painful for me to watch her behaving that way.  Or, uncomfortable, rather.

 

Another factor is that I am also a piano teacher and so I see it from dd's violin teacher's perspective too.  I have those students who just won't focus.  Who put up a fuss (whether actual complaining, or just goofing off) whenever I ask them to try something again (something they had trouble with the first time).  It's v. frustrating.

 

 

 


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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