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Can't tolerate failure...

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  • Can't tolerate failure...

    My gorgeous 2y 9m little girl is a lot like both her parents - sensitive, passionate and likes to be able to do stuff. Problem is she seems to have very little tolerance for her own failure. It can be anything from dropping something, knocking over a construction or trying to get clothes on or off.

    The other day at Kindy (preschool) she was unable to get her shoes on herself and she got really upset about it. The teacher said she wondered if the root of Evie's quite extreme reaction was in parental expectation or her own.

    I don't think we expect Evie to be able to do too much. She is incredibly verbal and comes out with some amazing stories at times. I don't so much expect her to be able to do stuff as give her the chance to give it a go.

    Evie's dad and I praise Evie a lot, I'm sure. We want to be encouraging and supportive. We try not to use the general "good girl" but end up saying lots of "good work" instead. I'm trying to be more specific about my positive comments ("I like how you gave your sister a toy" etc.)

    We have very few AP friends here in New Zealand. The general advice that I've had regarding this is to either reduce our praise and/or just leave her to work through her frustration. Neither feel right.

    Help, please!!!

  • #2
    Hi

    I know this post was a while ago, but if you're still reading I just wanted to say that I do receognise what you're seeing with your daughter - my son is very similar. He is very stubborn and independent and has always really wanted to do stuff by himself (though funnily enough not dressing, which he still at nearly 6 likes me to do for him!). I think perhaps when a child is able to do so much for themselves, you do perhaps develop an expectation that they can do stuff. Whilst it feels like you are just being proud and supportive of their acheivements, maybe it can feel to them a little like expectation / pressure. That is really not meant as a criticism, just something I realised about myself after much thought and soul searching!

    Actually my son now tends to respond to failure with a refusal to try "I can't do it" "I'm rubbish at that" which is heartbreaking to hear, or just by mucking around and doing anything other than the task at hand, which is very frustrating.

    Also I know that my son at least, whilst he has always been very verbal, does not always find it easy to express emotions or to ask for help. I did find it helpful to give him lots of vocabularly and examples of how to do this, and opportunities to ask for help without feeling that he had failed. "Oh dear. Is that naughty shoe making it difficult for you again? That must be really frustrating when you're trying so hard. Do you want me to help you or are you going to try again yourself?" Sometimes he will choose help, sometimes it will just break the mood enough for him to be able to try again more calmly. "Frustrating" and "annoying" were words I used with him a lot at that age!

    Anyway, hope that helps a bit!

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    • #3
      Do you tell her things like, "it's okay if it didn't work, but at least you tried", or "wow, you tried so hard, keep practincing" or "you've got a good start to learning how to ______", or it's okay to drop things, we all do that sometimes? Things like that?

      Also I wonder if too much praise can cause her to feel pressure to do everything right?

      Just some thoughts I was having. I don't know for sure about the praise issue either, I'm not totally sure about how I feel about using it with my son either.

      Good luck,
      Amy

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      • #4
        I hope since you originally posted things are starting to get easier. I think some kids truly are harder on themselves then others, I think it can be a huge blessing as they grow it's a strong internal compass telling them what they should and shouldn't do, and eventually makes our lives as parents easier. But it is so hard when they want to do things. At 2 almost 3 I would say part of it sounds developmentally appropriate the frustration that she can't do something she really wants to do, and believes she should be able to do. I wonder if some of it may be time of day, does she tend to get more frustrated when she is tired or needs a snack, or just needs to reconnect. I would also try talking to her about how to voice her dissapointment and model it too, does she ever hear you react when you can't do something the way you wanted to, and how do you react? Maybe showing her through example some ways to react when things aren't working out for her. I'd write more but I am being requested by my little one.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mommypower View Post
          I hope since you originally posted things are starting to get easier. I think some kids truly are harder on themselves then others, I think it can be a huge blessing as they grow it's a strong internal compass telling them what they should and shouldn't do, and eventually makes our lives as parents easier. But it is so hard when they want to do things. At 2 almost 3 I would say part of it sounds developmentally appropriate the frustration that she can't do something she really wants to do, and believes she should be able to do. I wonder if some of it may be time of day, does she tend to get more frustrated when she is tired or needs a snack, or just needs to reconnect. I would also try talking to her about how to voice her dissapointment and model it too, does she ever hear you react when you can't do something the way you wanted to, and how do you react? Maybe showing her through example some ways to react when things aren't working out for her. I'd write more but I am being requested by my little one.
          I suggest to REALLY focus on this. I didn't come from AP but my wife did. I have read so many books on the subject and have really been open to learning about it. I found my daughter doing this because, GUESS WHAT, I was like this. I found that she was simply imitating how I get frustrated with myself over things that I find ridiculous that I allow myself to do due to lack of focus. I.E. dropping things, misplacing things, low level of patience sometimes, etc...

          99% of what they do is imitation, IMO. Usually if you're patient and even keeled, it will help them to be more like that also.

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