My DD is 4 now and things are so different than with my older DS.
Today as we were getting ready for a class she said she didn't want to go at first but then said "Oh I know how much you love it when I do XYZ by myself so I'll go." That alone wouldn't bother me but the more I think about it she is like this a lot. As I said, I don't remember DS seeking approval for whatever he was doing but she does all the time. Is this normal at this age? Is it a girl thing? I just worry that she'll go through like seeking affirmation from others and not find it from within herself.
sadly i have no easy answers for you.
i think you will have to accept her for who she is.
why do i say that. because i have one like your dd.
she is a people pleaser. i have no idea how to change that.
one of the things dd and i have both discovered is the duality of life. the want to and dont want to exist at the same time. sometimes dd is sure, and sometimes she isnt. she almost didnt go for her spring break vacation because she didnt want to disappoint me and leave me and go with friends. i had to take the upper hand. tell her yeah i will miss her, yes part of me wishes she wasnt going. BUt. i knew she would have a great time - its her favourite place to go so i kinda pushed her to go. because dd WANTED to go. but she was feeling bad for me.
many times i've had to step in and take the lead. and make the decision, because dd was doing it for me rather than herself.
in your dd's case i'd have said, yes i do enjoy watching you do xyz... but what matters to me is how much you enjoy yourself when you do it by yourself. the key here is not myself but you. what is important for you..... when put like that i find out that dd usually has issues over things she could go either way. she was ok with not going, she was ok with going. but it was easier to make the decision if there was a reason to take a stance.
i hope i am making sense. i see this affirmation thing with dd when she is ambiguous. i think we think of life as yes or no. we help them with yes or no decisions. but really life exists more in the 'eh i dont care' place. where it does not really matter. where you neither hate it or love it. it just is.
at 4 your dd's sense of empathy is just brilliant. she sounds like she loves reaching out to people.
i personally dont think its wrong when you seek affirmation from others. i think we have been programmed too much to seek everything within us. we dont have to do that do we all the time. an example here. lets say you've had a long day and just come home. and your friend calls you and wants to go out for a movie. and you say no - not coz you really dont want to go but just coz its been a long day. however if your friend says 'hey i am having a really difficult time right now and the house seems to be closing in on me. would you be willing to go to a movie with me so i can just get out.' if you heard that it would make it so much easier to make a decision. either 'gosh i'd love to go but i feel beat at teh end of the day. could we just talk on the phone for a while instead'. or 'sure i'll go to the movie (since i know how much you'd enjoy it).
hope this makes sense.
I agree with PP. I would focus on making comments like, I can see you worked hard to accomplish that, I'm proud of your effort, I see you didn't give up! I love these traits about you that are the core of who you are, not what you can or can not do.
Thanks so much. I do so love her empathy and caring but I don't want her to do things for me alone! It sounds like I am telling her things you are suggesting so that makes me feel a little better about things. She isn't very assertive (lets people cut in front of her, won't tell people to stop doing things to her she doesn't like) and that worries me a bit. I don't want her to turn into a target. I tell her every day how amazing she is so hopefully she's hearing the right things. She really is amazing in so many ways
By loving her you are doing the right thing. Wanting to please your parents is a really normal thing. Heck I'm still doing stuff to please my parents! Keep helping her with words and supporting her. You are doing great. Even if she can't always stand up for herself she knows she has you to always believe in her.