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#1 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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i am not sure what the term is

dd is 4 in a month. we are unschoolers, so i am very conscious of not 'imposing' anything on her, especially as i know well that a tinies suggestion will backfire, and she will do exactly the opposite.

example. she was trying to write some letters. she was holding her pencil in her fist, very very high. i suggested, very gently, that she *might* find it more comfortable if she held her pencil a bit lower. this was after modeling to her for a while. she was struggling with what she wanted to write, upset that her letters were not 'good enough'. that was the reason i suggested she might want to try to hold it differently. she tried it, looked at me, and said she was NOT. COMFORTABLE. THAT. WAY. and proceeded to hold it her own way. well, i should have known and in fact, i did know. but i thought that maybe in this case she would not rebel.

how do you deal with this? i am generally following Holt and i rarely if at all correct anything.

another issue is that i consider this to be a wonderful quality. it is not easy for me, and might not be easy for her, but she is a very independent learner, she has to own what she is doing, she is not a follower. yet at this point, if she were to take lets say a swimming lesson, she would pretty much be 'unteachable'.

another example. she wants to learn to swim. she alsmost swims on her own. we were in the pool right after a swimming lesson, and i asked the instructor for some pointers on what i can do to help her out. since SHE WANTS TO LEARN. he showed me a couple of moves, was super nice with her and with me. she immediately said she was not going to do it, and she was not going to swim, and has been refusing doing certain things in the pool since. naturally, i do not insist.

i think most people consider this quality of hers as a big defficiency and something to be eradicated. my brother-in-law, for example, keeps telling me that she will never 'fit' into society, as as adults we have to follow rules etc etc. he thinks that i am perpetuating her defficiency.

i hope that when she is more mature, and has very defined interests, she will realise that she has to do things she does not like and listening to others and following directions, if this means maintaining her interest. and that will be her choice.

what do others here think about kids like this? anybody else has kids like this?
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#2 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 02:31 PM
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It might just be a faze that she's going through. But it might not; my 13yo has ALWAYS been sensitive to any form of criticism or what he construes as criticism and even most helpful hints. He still writes holding his pencil his way and he does a good job too. He eventually learned to swim, but he did it his way and was proud that he didn’t have any help learning it. I’m allot like that too, I prefer to figure things out for myself even if its frustrating the heck out of me, but when I’m done I am usually pretty proud of myself...Just keep modeling the things she wants to learn in front of her without being to conspicuous and she might pick up what she needs to know..
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#3 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 06:02 PM
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well, we unschool, and I think correction is a necessary part of maturing and realizing that just b/c we may want to do something our own way doesn't mean it's best . I kind of like to help my kids grow and understand that.sometimes if only to help a child understand that most of it doesn't have to be negative- I've met a few kids who unschool,and any sort of correction,even gentle or for their own safety is met with tantrums- (no dear, those markers are for sharing, don't smash them please) Not such a good thing, guidance doesn't mean you're overbearing- it means that as Mama, you do have a few years on dk's to have learned little things like pencil holds and such... As to something like a pencil hold, I have my own stubborn independant little ones to deal with... usually I'll ask if they want help, if they decline, I let them do their thing if it's not harmful. At some point, they usually either figure it out on their own, or ask for more help.
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#4 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 06:29 PM
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Re: Holding a pencil

I learned how to hold a pencil/pen on my own when I was a kid. And I learned "wrong." Instead of holding it between my thumb and first finger and resting it on my middle, I hold it between my thumb and middle finger and rest it on my ring finger. I remember teachers who were so frustrated with me. My third-grade reading teacher, for instance, would correct me two or three times an hour. Each time, I would try holding it "correctly" for a few minutes, but it always felt wrong. So, I just kept on doing it my way. I ended up with beautiful handwriting (think elementary school English teacher handwriting), all the same.

On the other hand, my son also learned how to hold a pencil/pen on his own, and he holds it in the usual way. He started out like the OP's daughter, holding it in his fist toward the end of the pencil, but somehow figured it out on his own. His fine motor skills are still developing, but his handwriting is perfectly legible.

Hmm.... I guess if ds had lamented about his handwriting to me while he was holding the pencil so high, I might have said something like, "I used to hold my pencil that way, but I found that doing it like this makes it easier." Or, "Does it look the same when you hold your pencil down low?" Or (if her were resistant to anything that looked like "teaching"), "Wow - look where you're holding your pencil! <big smile> I wonder if I could hold mine like that. <trying it out> Oh, look - my lines are all squiggly!"

ETA: The "unteachable" part may be due to daughter's age. A four-year-old is probably spending quite a bit of time asserting her independence (dressing herself, getting her own snack, etc.), and this might just be a part of that natural evolution. Lots of four-year-olds don't take direction well.
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#5 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by folkypoet
Instead of holding it between my thumb and first finger and resting it on my middle, I hold it between my thumb and middle finger and rest it on my ring finger.
O.M.G.!!!! My sister did the exact same thing! I've never heard of anyone else writing like this. (And, she also became an elementary school teacher with perfect handwriting!)
Anna--My dd was exactly like yours at that age. It didn't matter if I corrected her gently, or made suggestions, she didn't want to hear any of it. Regardless of whether I "should" have been able to correct her, or if she "needed" correction, it was useless to try because she would just put up a wall.

I completely understand what you mean about other people thinking of this as a problem--and I'm right with you in seeing the value of her independence. But, it can be a little frustrating, too. After trying one too many times to "help," I just decided to follow her lead and respect her feelings. If I saw that she was struggling, or knew of something that would make things easier on her, I'd say something like, "Can I make a suggestion?" If she said, "No." then no it was. There were times when it was hard to bite my tongue, but if I didn't she'd just get frustrated with me, or quit altogether, so it was really important that I not step over her boundries, yk? I guess she was "unteachable" for a while there, but that didn't mean that she didn't learn anything .

Over time, she's become more open to input from others. She has taken classes and gone to seminars and she's worked with coaches all with no problem. She still does not follow anyone blindly, and will often ask "Why?" when told to do something a certain way, but that's fine! Other times, she'll listen to input but still decide that her way is better. Sometimes she's right, sometimes not, but she's also able to admit that at this point.

Not too long ago, she wanted to learn to knit and she asked me for help. I began explaining to her, and the SECOND that I got to the part that answered her question, she ran off saying, "Thanks, Mom! That's all I needed!" *I* wasn't finished teaching, but that was irrelevant. She wants to figure things out for herself and I've learned not to force things.

She is more accepting of teachers/coaches giving her instruction (NOW--certainly not at age 4!) I suspect that she's just being tolerant of them and understanding that that's what they DO. But she patiently lets them go on with their direction and then either asks questions or tries it her own way before deciding what's "right."

But, she is who she is. She's not rude about it, she's just very independent. I like that about her.

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#6 of 7 Old 05-04-2006, 11:28 PM
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My dd is only a few mos younger than yours and she would definitely not be able to take a swimming lesson or any other kind of lesson. I think she's fine.

With my 6yo son with Asperger's it is a struggle to teach anything and unfortunately he does not really self-direct or self-correct or "self-educate"

I taught him how to hold a pencil by nagging... Um, I mean I used a mnemonioc image of his fingers as "chompers" and told him that chomper number one and the thumb have to look like a big alligator mouth "biting" the pencil. I would show him my own in action... Later, I would tell him that chomper number one (the pointer finger) is better at being in charge of the pencil, so that is why it goes in front... I use "chomper" as a cue word to remind him over and over, and persistently enough that I did feel I was nagging.

I would be doing him a great disservice if I tried to unschool and let him be self-directed. I have to direct him, or he will mill around aimlessly and destroy everything we own. I am not exagerrating! You should see the broken objects, the walls, the vehicles.... OMG. Some kids cannot unschool.

Please be glad that your dd can lead herself. There is no reason to think that she will have problems with rules as an adult. She will continue to have a mind of her own, she will be able to discern when it is in her best interest to follow a rule, and hopefully she will be full of confidence and power and ready to take on the big tough world. Be glad.

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#7 of 7 Old 05-05-2006, 12:26 AM
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I just wanted to chime in to say that she will mellow over time (probably!). My ds is very much - "I'll do EVERYTHING myself" kind of kid. I have 2 and he is very extreme compared to the other. I wanted to share that some experiences with family, friends and others have helped him mellow. For instance, his Grandfather wanted to help him learn how to fish (I knew this was a set-up for frustration on both their parts, but I kept my mouth shut to see what would happen). Grandfather looked shocked that he couldn't tell him what to do that was only meant to help and ended up calling him hard headed with a certain degree of disgust. Ouch! I talked with both of them separately. This was hard to hear and I wouldn't have handled the situation the same way if I was the grandfather, but it did seem to bring some awareness to ds that his behavior is frustrating for others who love him deeply and do not mean any harm. He is able to learn from me at home, sometimes I have to remind him that there are some things that you just have to let others show you. In a nutshell, I guess I wanted to say that patience and telling her how her behavior makes others feel may help her develop an awareness and let others in more.
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