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#1 of 16 Old 09-14-2012, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my son Tyr (5/grade 1) is very stubborn.  This is something wealready know. Unfortunately it is showing through with his teacher.  His teacher recognises his reading ability and has allowed him to bring his own books into class for reading (He is reading Geronimo and Thea Stilton- the class has Mercer Mayer and I Can Read books). I think she saw the beginning of his stubborness then.  When I picked him up from school she mentioned how he didn't like the books in the classroom and that she didn't want to get into a battle with him.

 He just finished his second week. 

The teacher pulled me aside and explained how he didn't finish his journal and didn't want to write his practice words.  I know that writing is a weaker subject for him.  It isn't that he can't do it, but he can't do it perfectly.  The same with drawing.  The teacher had told the class to draw a picture of their favourite toy and then write it.  She does a lot of one on one with the kids.  She told him that he could draw a favourite game and that she would help with the words.  Nope...he didn't want to do that.  I talked to her about the fact that he has always been one who if he can't do something perfectly the first time then he just can't be bothered.  She understood and said she could see that with him.  She suggested that he will have to take his journal home on nights he didn't finish it in class. 

I was thinking that maybe doing some practice words at home to help him "perfect" his writing.    He never really liked drawing (well, since itty-bitty) and I think it is because the drawings don't look like what he wants them to look like.

Any suggestions from those who have gone through this??


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#2 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Bumping because I'm sure there are other stubborn gifted/bright kids out there.


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#3 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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I think in this case it may be more about perfectionism that anything else. Maybe focus on helping him see the fun and usefulness in doing things he is not perfect in. You can be successful and even great, without being perfect.

Kids who are very good in one area sometimes get a lot of praise and internal satisfaction from it to the point that they can really feel like total failures when they "just" perform normally in otherwise things. Rather than helping perfect another thing, he will get more growth out of learning how to be ok at where he is at.
Once he is comfortable with just doing it, he will get better naturally. The actual act of mastering a previously unknown skill is an amazing feeling. Though it is also really important to learn that one simply can't not be expected to be great at everything.

This comes from personal experience as someone that was super strong on math/geometry & 3D things and struggled with language and 2D arts.
Also as someone who had influential adults in my life overly focus on how perfect I was at some things.

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#4 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 06:50 AM
 
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My son was more willing to write on a dry erase board or chalkboard because it felt less permanent. He could rub out lines he was unhappy with. He generally isn't willing to try things until he's confident in his ability. It's a bit tricky but he isn't in school so I don't need to get him to go along with the class.

 

You can focus on non-writing things that build writing skills, if he's willing. I'd be concerned trying to practice writing directly would get you and him into a power struggle. Things like drawing, doing mazes, dot-to-dots, building with legos, etc, all build up fine motor dexterity and strength.


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#5 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 06:55 AM
 
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I think Adorkable is right on. I would also caution you about labeling him as "stubborn". You might want to consider rephrasing that to something with less negative connotations. He can be persistent, or perfectionist, or have strong feelings about things, etc. 

 

If my child was doing the things you describe I would not put it down to giftedness first of all. I'm not a big believer in the the over excitabilities theory and all that. I've known plenty of gifted kids who didn't have issues in that direction and plenty of non-gifted kids who did. I also don't think it matters at all. Even if being gifted did coincide or even cause "over excitabilities" in a child we still need to help the child learn how to deal with it and not use being gifted as an excuse. 

 

So, for your first example, with the reading, I think that worked out pretty well. My dd2 had to read some books that were too easy for her last year in 2nd grade and she really didn't like it. (Thankfully she's being much more challenged in 3rd grade this year and is very happy.) Taking in some of his own books, or getting some more appropriate books from the school library seems like a great solution.

 

As far as not wanting to practice his writing and drawing I think he needs to get the message that while some things do come easy to some people, almost everyone has to work at learning how to do some things and almost everyone has to work and practice and train to get better no matter their skill level. At my house we talked about all the training the Olympic athletes did this summer. You might talk about something similar or maybe how hard you worked to learn to play the piano, etc.

 

Many studies have shown that kids who are recognized for their hard work are much more likely to succeed than kids who are told they are smart. Many gifted kids falter when they run up against something that doesn't immediately come easily to them. Check out these articles:

http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/02/why-you-shouldnt-tell-your-kids-theyre-smart/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids

 

I try to catch my kids working hard at whatever they're doing (playing Legos, drawing, learning to ride their bikes, doing the monkey bars, doing their homework, etc) and praise and recognize their efforts at hard work. 


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#6 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 07:10 AM
 
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i agree. this is more about perfectionist than just stubborness.

 

perfectionism has its plus and negative points. 

 

what really helped my dd was me focusing on myself and showing her places where i did terribly. of course not in an obvious manner. 

 

also what really really really helped dd - was getting that 'this is life'. this is what you have to do whether you liked it or not. to accept the duality of life. for her the 'at this moment this is the best i can do' was huge for her. her K and first grade teachers were wonderful. they fed the other things she was good at. teaching her how to use the coffee maker and be the coffee maker of the class was HUGE in first grade. it met her need to feel she contributed. in K the teacher involved her in day to day activities to help the teacher. to such an extent that dd would go to school to help the teacher because dd felt her teacher wouldnt be able to work without dd. what this did was she was willing to do her work, than if all she had to do was do her work. 

 

so the writing. now first grade is STILL a struggle with writing. perhaps your son is one of those kids like my dd who doesnt like writing. our school has recognised this so that by 2nd grade kids were allowed to bring in typed reports. 

 

i would definitely NOT do any practise writing at home. this is like bringing the torture home. and something as boring as practise words. instead try getting him to write other ways. how is his storytelling. can you guys do a one line story and then see if he wants to write them down to remember. somedays you will be able to get him to write. other days not. but i would NOT push it. it will improve in school. they will start writing more and more. 

 

he doesnt like drawing or writing. do you think its something to do with the pencil? have you tried other mediums? like chalk on the sidewalk, dry erase pens on white board, charcoal... dd was given crayons in school. she never ever drew anything there. then they brought out coloured pencils and she would draw. 


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#7 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank-you Adorkable.  I appreciate this perspective.  I have tried this before but will perservere with this in hopes that eventually he will accept that it is ok to be average in some areas.  He loves to be number one in everything and up to this point he has been.  We never pushed him to do things he didn't excel at while homeschooling.  He would use the keyboard to type on or practice on the whiteboard.

I think that having a daddy (IQ 160- was highest in our district as a kid) who is also a perfectionist in many ways also encourages this.  He is all about being number 1, being the best of the best.  Hubby is one who could do anything if he set his mind to it....but so often he can't be bothered.  He hates "stupid" mistakes (in himself and others).  He has created some of the best games I have played....but no matter how much we all encourage him to publish them he doesn't (I think it is fear of rejection and the fact that the games are always being improved upon.)

So sadly DS comes by it naturally.


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#8 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

My son was more willing to write on a dry erase board or chalkboard because it felt less permanent. He could rub out lines he was unhappy with. He generally isn't willing to try things until he's confident in his ability. It's a bit tricky but he isn't in school so I don't need to get him to go along with the class.

 

You can focus on non-writing things that build writing skills, if he's willing. I'd be concerned trying to practice writing directly would get you and him into a power struggle. Things like drawing, doing mazes, dot-to-dots, building with legos, etc, all build up fine motor dexterity and strength.

 Thanks.  He has no visible probles with fine motor dexterity.  I have pictures of him writing his letters well at 2.  He easily does dot to dots and has always loved mazes. 


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#9 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 08:17 AM
 
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 Thanks.  He has no visible probles with fine motor dexterity.  I have pictures of him writing his letters well at 2.  He easily does dot to dots and has always loved mazes. 

for many kids it isnt about fine motor dexterity. for dd it wasnt that at all. i think with dd i have found she prefers to draw from her shoulders - wide movements and then fill in with movments from the wrist. no one really ever focuses on that giving the kids small paper and pens and pencils. her drawing pad on which she uses charcoal is 24" x 36"


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#10 of 16 Old 09-16-2012, 11:18 AM
 
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 Thanks.  He has no visible probles with fine motor dexterity.  I have pictures of him writing his letters well at 2.  He easily does dot to dots and has always loved mazes. 

 

It may not be dexterity, but also a coordination-motor planning concern. It takes a lot of different skills to form the letter, plan what word you want, attempt to spell the word, and no loose your train of thought for the rest of the sentence. Perfectionism can also make a kiddo reluctant to practice.

 

One of my DD struggles with writing. She still reverses letters and has awkward letter formation. She *can* write, but it is difficult for her so she avoids it. She does not like how messy her writing is- but struggles to make it smaller/neater/etc. The fact that it takes her so much longer to write her thoughts (and sometimes she forgets what she was writing) than scribe or speak them that she gets frustrated, and rightly so. 

 

Have you looked into his pencil grip and/or using a slant board? It may make writing less of a physical task and possibly help his letters to look neater.

 

 

As for avoidance of tasks that dont come 'easily' it is understandable, but also something that I talk to my DDs constantly. Yes, it is OK if you need to practice. It is good to practice things you dont do perfectly, it is how you get better. After saying that 1,000 times, they now can say it back to me when I ask them to write/draw/review something and they reply they dont want to. Some of it is maturity and time and some of it is seeing that *yes* somethings need to be practiced (liked or disliked). I like to remind them of the things they were not excellent at a long time ago (and they love to look at pics/art/writing/video)- much like walking, talking, writing name, spelling, jumping, etc.

 

Do you have an Ipad? There is an app out there that is traced with a finger for letter formation practice. It is much less permanent, fun because it is on the ipad, and you can gradually make the letter smaller and smaller for better letter formation.

 

I also second the white board. It is a good tool for practice that seems less 'permanent'. Another activity we do is put shaving cream on the table and trace with a finger spelling words (or math facts or just draw!).

 

Unless you are honestly concerned about a writing disability, I would encourage writing. It will get better over time- plus as the grades increase the demands on written output go up. We have just started 2nd grade and one of my DD , 6, is struggling with the writing load. It is just plain hard for her- when everything else is easy.  But she is young for grade and honestly her writing is age appropriate--- but everything else, including spelling, is above grade level so she sees the gap and feels the frustration of 'thinking big thoughts and writing little sentences' (her words). I try to remind her that everyone is good at different things (a theme her school supports) and that is OK.

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#11 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 12:37 AM
 
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I think you have gotten great advice.

We have similar struggles and i second all those posters who have recommended disengaging, leaving school work in school (literally and figuratively) and talking lots and lots about how everyone needs to practice in order to be good at things (even if this is not perfectly true).

It sounds as if your husband needs to work on modeling this, too.


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#12 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone! 


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#13 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 06:05 AM
 
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...and talking lots and lots about how everyone needs to practice in order to be good at things (even if this is not perfectly true)

 

Maybe everyone doesn't need to practice in order to just be good, but everyone does need to practice in order to really excel. No one is born knowing how to be a rocket scientist. Even if you're really gifted as an athlete, musician, artist, academic, scientist, politician, whatever, you've got to practice and work hard. Picasso, Michael Phelps, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, even J.K. Rowling and Carly Rae Jepsen all practiced and worked hard at their craft. 


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#14 of 16 Old 09-17-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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Maybe everyone doesn't need to practice in order to just be good, but everyone does need to practice in order to really excel. No one is born knowing how to be a rocket scientist. Even if you're really gifted as an athlete, musician, artist, academic, scientist, politician, whatever, you've got to practice and work hard. Picasso, Michael Phelps, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, even J.K. Rowling and Carly Rae Jepsen all practiced and worked hard at their craft. 

Taking up a worldwide perspective, that is a very balanced view - if you want to be world-renowned in your craft, you will have to put in the 10,000 hours Malcom Gladwell talks about in Outliers.

 

However, I was thinking more of a 5yo's little pond. He's probably had the experience that there are things he can excel at without practice in his class, his school or even his community, and his father was the same before him....

 

I am thinking of examples like Peony's little daughter in the "non-academically gifted" thread, who was able to master climbing feats as well as her coach and much better than the teenagers watching her - without having to practice. Sure, if she wants to be a world-famous climber one day, she will have to channel her passion and drive into putting in the hours, but for the open-mouthed kids watching her, it won't help at all to be told "well, even she will have to practice if she wants to be the best climber in the world one day".

 

So for a gifted 5yo who may not have a chance to meet a 5, 6 or even 7yo who is a better reader than them and who cannot even remember ever having to put any effort into it - it is hard to understand the concept of having to practice to "really excel" in the sense you mean...

 

Lonegirl, this is how homework is going down in our house (second homework ever...)

Me: Are you sure this is how you are supposed to be doing this? It looks to me as if you are supposed to trace the letters starting at those little arrows...

DS: MAMA! THIS IS MY HOMEWORK! ONLY THE TEACHER GETS TO TELL ME HOW TO DO IT!

Me: so what did she say then?

DS. She said: stroke up down - stroke window-door! (Demonstrates left-right). She did NOT say: Don't colour all over it!

Me: well how is she supposed to see whether you got the strokes right if you colour all over it with your pencil?

DS: IT'S MY HOMEWORK! (pause, then, in very aggrieved tone) okayyyy, I'll just colour in the uppercase letter and then just do the strokes in the lower case letters. (meaning I realize you are right and I've got it wrong but no way in hell can I admit having made a mistake...)

 

I left it at that to ward off a major explosion that was building up and would have completely undone him if he had had to take out an eraser...

 

I have to admit that I have talked about everyone having to practice at things, everyone making mistakes and having to learn from it, have modeled making mistakes and correcting them until blue in the face, and it does not yet seem to have helped my little perfectionist.

 

maybe they'll just have to grow out of it...

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#15 of 16 Old 09-23-2012, 04:18 PM
 
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Taking up a worldwide perspective, that is a very balanced view - if you want to be world-renowned in your craft, you will have to put in the 10,000 hours Malcom Gladwell talks about in Outliers.

 

However, I was thinking more of a 5yo's little pond. He's probably had the experience that there are things he can excel at without practice in his class, his school or even his community, and his father was the same before him....

 

I am thinking of examples like Peony's little daughter in the "non-academically gifted" thread, who was able to master climbing feats as well as her coach and much better than the teenagers watching her - without having to practice. Sure, if she wants to be a world-famous climber one day, she will have to channel her passion and drive into putting in the hours, but for the open-mouthed kids watching her, it won't help at all to be told "well, even she will have to practice if she wants to be the best climber in the world one day".

 

Tigerle, this is a good point. We talk a lot in our house about how everyone is good at different things, and everyone need to practice some things more than others. This is my answer to why my children are better than some adults at some things, and why my three children also have different skills. 


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#16 of 16 Old 11-05-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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Sounds a lot like my son. We chose a school with "looping", meaning he stays with the same teacher for 2 years in a row. The first year with every teacher takes them 6 months to establish a working relationship with each other. He likes to test the limits, question why something should or shouldn't be done, debate the definitions of words the teacher uses (this year it was the rule that sweatshirts can be worn inside but not jackets, and where does one draw the line), and refuse to do work for a wide variety of reasons.

 

We always set up consequences of not following the teacher's rules, we always meet extra with the teacher at the start of the first year, and always it is the same. Once he has tested the teacher's resolve, he settles down and has a great rest of the year and a good year the next year with the same teacher. Right now we are starting out with a new teacher (4th grade) and he is testing all of our patience. Refusing to write because the notebook paper feels to rough (he does have SPD but this has never been an issue before), arguing that he has the homework memorized so he does not need to write it down in his planner like everyone else, arguing that his vest is more like a sweatshirt than a jacket so he should be able to wear it, especially since his sweatshirt that day was super thickly quilted and felt more like a jacket than the vest did...I could go on and on. The teachers learn to not get sucked into his whirlpool of arguing, and instead learn to draw very clear distinct lines and make him responsible for getting his work done. I follow up at home with a combination of consequences, rewards, and support as needed. He knows he will have less free time at home if he doesn't get his work done at school, and that he has to redo it if he hasn't done his best. I make it very clear to him that he is expected to try his hardest even when it is difficult and to give extra effort even when it is easy. That message gets brought up endless times every week with the hope that it will sink in.

 

Just keep supporting a framework that works for him and hope he finds a career that matches his personality. My son would make a great lawyer :)
 


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