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#1 of 13 Old 08-31-2011, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 13 Old 08-31-2011, 09:19 AM
 
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mama mama mama relax. just coz dd is doing this now doesnt mean that is who she will be for the rest of her life.

 

she is trying out things. she is experimenting.

 

u know it could be play or reflection. she has seen this in a book or tv and is not trying it out on herself. she foung it cool and is repeating it. doesnt mean she really thinks that is who she is. maybe the act maybe stupid, but doesnt make her stupid.

 

i think you are seeing the perfectionist element of your child. i have a child like that who is unwilling to try things unless she is confident she will get it. dd walked late, rode a trike late, still cant ride a bicycle, wrode a scooter late - but when she was ready to try it, boom you couldnt tell that was her first time.

 

what has helped with mine is my own attitude.

 

my completely unphased attitude towards it. i think its really important to show her 'your' mistakes. i draw attention to mine. 'ai ai ai. i did it again?' one of the things dd LOOOOOOOVES even now is the spill issue. so i tell her be careful dont spill and then I go and spill. soy sauce on my new khaki linen pants. to date dd gets a thrill out of me doing 'stupid stuff' because i make it so much fun. DP and you can show her everyone makes mistakes. its not such a big deal. (just so you know when you show her life through your experience [i actually cant think of the better word for this. it starts with an m i think and i keep thinking mentoring] it doesnt sink in right away. all these years of talking and finally now at almost 9 i see dd actually starting to get it).

 

mama your dd is 3. she is going to go through so many changes. she will be ok. i think you are blowing things a little out of proportion. children are resilient and be careful about your expectations out of her. you want her to be more assertive amongst friends. hey its a little too early to worry about it. encourage her to stand up more but dont quite expect her to do it yet.

 

as her world gets bigger and bigger through her safetynet - you guys, your family will provide the core group where seh can experiment in safety.

 

one fo teh things i have repeated often to my child is that if she sets her mind to it, it doesnt matter how long it takes - she can do it.


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#3 of 13 Old 08-31-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Your daughter sounds a lot like my son (and a lot like the way I was as a child, and even as an adult). Not sure if I have any answers for you as I think this is to some extent innate and lifelong, and all you can do is help her learn to deal with these emotions (frustration, anger, feeling overwhelmed) in a productive, kind-to-self way. Relaxation and breathing techniques, visualizations of throwing the angry voices out the window of a moving car or tying them to a balloon and letting them float away, making friends with them and telling them she appreciates that they want her to do a good job, but they are not being helpful in actually learning the skill, helping her break the skill down into little pieces so that she's not overwhelmed with complex tasks. These are the things that work for me as an adult when I am quick enough to do them before the perfectionist tendencies get the upper hand. Do try to get good mental habits in place for her before her teenage years, when even easy-going girls can have fits about their hairdo or how their clothing is ALL ugly.

 

When my DS says, "I can't do it," or starts getting down on himself, I remind him that aside from breathing and our bodies making pee and poop, EVERYTHING in life takes practice, patience, and perseverance. But anybody who practices enough will achieve competence. My bottom line is that it's okay if you can't do something, but it's not okay to say "I can't" if you aren't trying. You must be patient with yourself and acknowledge effort towards the goal as being a worthy endeavor, and if you want to do something, you will have to keep practicing until you can do it. I don't know how much he 'gets' it at this stage, but he will continue trying or ask for help if I remind him that no failure = no learning = never being able to do it.

 

Maybe show her some videos of her learning to walk and falling down, and tell her - see, when you were a baby, you had to fall down and get up again lots of times, but look how well you can walk now. It's the same with learning to write or throw a baseball or recite poetry or eat with chopsticks. Or you could take up a new skill (with her or just to model) to show that nobody can do something well if they don't know how to do it.

 

Book rec: The Highly Sensitive Child, Elaine Aron


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#4 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 04:02 AM
 
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  You mentioned she wants you to teach her to read

but that you are, "now so completely reluctant to do anything

that is academic or that she could get right or wrong or 'fail'"

Isn't that reluctance or attitude on your part mirroring just what

you do not want your daughter to adopt? 

   I like what the other posters said but perhaps teaching her to

read would model confidence and establish a bit of it in her as

she succeeds which of course she will in time because. Set

her up to succeed bit by bit.

   So reading takes quite a while to learn and maybe you can

recall how long you or DP took to learn and share that with her.

Maybe DP could be behind a book or newspaper holding it

upside down when you ask how long it took DP to learn

how to read. No rush and maybe no system of learning

for a while, no sitting down for a lesson. With no formal

lesson there's nothing to fail at; just fun and doing it in such

a way as she cannot fail.

   Start perhaps just labelling things around the house. 

   As way of an example and not to be crude but maybe

somebody goes on a bike ride and complains their butt hurts.

You get out a piece of paper and write out 'butt' on it with

the letter 'B' over it and sound out the "B" sound out as part

of the word "butt" and maybe "T" too which is DP's cue to

stand up and walk away displaying the word "butt" on a

piece of paper taped to the right spot. Maybe somebody

else has has "nut" taped to their forehead later and is

teased for being a nut with a mention of the "N" sound

and that the word has the same sound as 'butt" and like

that with lots of reading aloud to her.

   Can somebody learn how to use a bicycle along with

her? Maybe she'd try a scooter.


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#5 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

 

Thank you all for your advice and suggestions.

 

I agree - both DP and I are perfectionists and something we are trying hard to overcome and do not want DD to become and I can see now that you have pointed it out, that we are mirroring the very characteristic we don't want her to have!  It's a "ah-haa" moment to realize what we have been inadvertently doing and good job we have realized this fairly early on.

 

kcparker and aparent - thanks for the specific suggestions. We have started modelling trying, learning new skills, relaxation skills and being okay with making mistakes and in only a short time we can see improvements ( she seems happier for a start, more willing to try) It's hard to correct your own deeply entrenched patterns so I *really* appreciate the advice. I have also taught her to put her hand up and say "Please Stop! I don't like it" if another child is doing something that is making her feel bad and we have had good fun practicing this phrase too.

 

Thanks so much Mamas.


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#6 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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Minus the self-berating, this sounds like my daughter, a perfectionist who waits until she senses a certain level of competence before trying something difficult.  Seems odd to think that competence comes from just waiting, but it can indeed.

 

First, try not to repeat her words.  I don't know if you say "You're not stupid" or not, but don't.  You might say, if she's 4, "I've even known some of 6yo's who can't ride a bike" etc etc.  I can already imagine counter-arguments to that approach and won't try defending it.  I don't say stuff like that every time, but hearing it once was enough.  

 

Sometimes I launch into a story about when I was a kid.  Not the parental telling-how-it-was-back-in-the-day, but a real story. "Did I ever tell you the story of how I learned to ride a bike?"  Sometimes I pull out the old pictures after telling these stories more than once.  The fun thing is that as I tell them over and over again, I remember more and more details to include.  Seemingly unimportant details loom large in a story to little ones.  (I remember discovering the wonderful, pungent smell of garlic--a completely foreign food to me-- by riding my bike over a clove, first by accident, then on purpose.  Back and forth over and over for days until the smell dissipated.  Of course, where that clove came from is part of the story, too:  the Italian man who spoke broken English and his giant vegetable garden next door to our house.)

 

While this might not stop her from berating herself, it will change your focus.   At some point if it continues, you can talk to her (once is enough) and tell her how it concerns you that she says this about herself because you *know* she is a bright girl.  Then go back to letting it slide.

 

(BTW, you can take the pedals off a bike or buy a scoot.  You don't need to know how to use a bike, and it teaches balance better than training wheels.)

 

As far as "learning how to read", a 4yo has no idea what that entails.  When my girls ask for reading lessons, I pull out a book and do something slightly different, like following the words with my finger which normally annoys them.  Mostly, I just take it as an invitation to read.  I might use a baby book with one word on each page and read that.  Simple as that.  You don't need to turn it into an academic lesson--she probably won't know the difference.  My girls are learning to read without any "lessons" at all.  We just read.  (Then maybe tell *your* story of learning to read!)


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#7 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much Mama - yup I say " you're not bad - your amazing/wonderful/other phrase" every time!! Good point not to reinforce that. I am starting to think some of it is her way of saying 'I am frustrated please help me, I need your attention'.

 

She has a running bike without wheels but hates it. I do tell her that  her Grannie did not learn to ride a bike until she was 12 ( true story) - it took her many years to get the hang of it but she never gave up ( true story!)

 

We have made up a little " keep trying, keep trying..." type of song and I start singing it when I can tell she is beginning to get frustrated with something which I think is helping.

 

Good suggestion on the reading front. Love the story of the garlic!

 

 

"a perfectionist who waits until she senses a certain level of competence before trying something difficult.  Seems odd to think that competence comes from just waiting, but it can indeed." this is DP all over as a child - he always waited and watched on the sidelines until he felt a little more confident. I often see her do this, but know deep down that she comes to everything in her own time, not my time nor what her peers are doing.

 

Thanks again Mamas - I am feeling so much better and so is DD!

 

 


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#8 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 04:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMum View Post

"a perfectionist who waits until she senses a certain level of competence before trying something difficult.  Seems odd to think that competence comes from just waiting, but it can indeed." this is DP all over as a child - he always waited and watched on the sidelines until he felt a little more confident. I often see her do this, but know deep down that she comes to everything in her own time, not my time nor what her peers are doing.

 

 


I remember when my oldest, then 3, gave up trying the "noodle slide" (the pole with the spiral pole wrapped around it) when she saw two much older children use it with confidence--from the very top!  She just gave up that playground toy for a while.  It was indeed heartbreaking because she completely gave up all in a moment.  Two years later, she looked at that toy, ran straight to the top and spun down, as if she had been doing it the whole time.  

 


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#9 of 13 Old 09-02-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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DS will be 4 at the end of this year, and he has similar behaviors. He "practices" being angry and frustrated. Sometimes, I'll just ask him if he's really angry/frustrated or if he's just practicing. Sometimes he claims to really be mad even though I know he isn't. But I treat it like it's real, and ask him if he wants to talk about it, and say things like, "Well, when I feel frustrated, it helps me to take a big, deep breath and then I think about ways to ___ < fill in the blank with whatever he's frustrated with/try again/whatever seems right>." He usually gets over it. I don't know if I'm just glossing over something that could get worse later, but I do try not to give the negative behavior a lot of attention b/c he'll just do it more. Yesterday he decided to repeatedly rake his fingernails across his forehead. It made me cringe, b/c it looked painful and b/c he looked me right in the eye while doing it, as if looking for a reaction. So I didn't react, and finally I looked at him, worried, and asked him not to do it anymore b/c it would hurt his skin. He didn't do it again. I think it's all about testing and finding their own power, which is why I try not to challenge or argue with him on these things.
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#10 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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just want to send along hugs.


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#11 of 13 Old 09-06-2011, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I remember when my oldest, then 3, gave up trying the "noodle slide" (the pole with the spiral pole wrapped around it) when she saw two much older children use it with confidence--from the very top!  She just gave up that playground toy for a while.  It was indeed heartbreaking because she completely gave up all in a moment.  Two years later, she looked at that toy, ran straight to the top and spun down, as if she had been doing it the whole time.  

 


*

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

DS will be 4 at the end of this year, and he has similar behaviors. He "practices" being angry and frustrated. Sometimes, I'll just ask him if he's really angry/frustrated or if he's just practicing. Sometimes he claims to really be mad even though I know he isn't. But I treat it like it's real, and ask him if he wants to talk about it, and say things like, "Well, when I feel frustrated, it helps me to take a big, deep breath and then I think about ways to ___ < fill in the blank with whatever he's frustrated with/try again/whatever seems right>." He usually gets over it. I don't know if I'm just glossing over something that could get worse later, but I do try not to give the negative behavior a lot of attention b/c he'll just do it more. Yesterday he decided to repeatedly rake his fingernails across his forehead. It made me cringe, b/c it looked painful and b/c he looked me right in the eye while doing it, as if looking for a reaction. So I didn't react, and finally I looked at him, worried, and asked him not to do it anymore b/c it would hurt his skin. He didn't do it again. I think it's all about testing and finding their own power, which is why I try not to challenge or argue with him on these things.


 

*
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kayleesmom View Post

just want to send along hugs.



*!.

 

*!


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#12 of 13 Old 09-09-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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My son does the same thing, and I understand, because I did it as a child too.  It's what happens when they have very powerful emotions and don't quite know how to deal with them .. plus I know in my case, and my son too - we are just hard on ourselves. I always have been, and still am.

 

When my son first started doing that, I would stop him and say, "I know you feel that way right now, but that is not true, you are wonderful.." blah blah, it made things 10x worse. He would argue with me bout how he is so dumb because of x,y,z.

 

I've taken a whole new approach now, it lightens the mood and makes him laugh. He knows I hate for him to say those things about himself, and honestly I think sometimes does it to bother me, make me feel bad. So now when he says he's stupid, I play with him. In a totally sarcastic voice I say, "Oh, yes, I just have the DUMBEST child on earth! My goodness, what I am I ever going to do with you?"  And he can't help himself, he will laugh because we both know it's ridiculous.

 

I don't think you can do that with a 4 year old, but I would try to ignore as much as you can and redirect. Don't take it personal, it's nothing you have done.


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#13 of 13 Old 09-13-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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OP you've already gotten great advice, but I wanted to especially echo the PPs point about watching how you handle your own mistakes/whoopsies and even throwing some fun into it.  My dd is 2.5 and when I spill or DH spills she loudly points and laughs and says "You made a mess!  Daddy, mommy made a mess!" and I laugh with it and model how I want her to handle it, I say "Yup, I did, so now I'm going to clean it up!" and other than that it isn't a big deal.

 

Bigger things, like taking a toy from another child, I am noticing DD is getting more sensitve when I correct that behavior, so I'm just trying to practice being clear and kind but firm about what's not ok, and if she gets upset I immediately hug her or say "It's ok, it's just important to share" or whatever the issue was. 

 

Mainly though I think being very non-chalant and easy-going when she messes up but being clear about cleaning up or apologizing to another child or whatever seems to be helping her to also take most things in stride and recover quickly if she gets frustrated.

 

And since you're already seeing improvement maybe you don't need to do this, but when I read your first post I was wondering where she heard those phrases like "Bad _____" or "Stupid ____"?  Those aren't usually things kids just create on their own, so I was wondering what the contexts are that she hears others say that to her, themselves, etc?  I know you and your DH have been very attentive to what you say to her, but is this something you guys say about yourselves when you mess up?  If it is, sounds like you're already trying to address it and be more positive/model self-gentleness already.  But if you don't, have you talked to her about who else talks that way to themselves, maybe see if there are peers or situations where she's hearing that and maybe you could also try to limit her exposure to others talking that way, if that's what's happening.

 

Happy to hear she's already responding positively to changes you're making!

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