Doing and trying and being

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Yesterday, Ellie and I somehow ended up talking about University and, as I explained to her what it was exactly, she started shaking her head.

“I don’t want to go to university.” She stated. I explained that people don’t have to further their education, that going to university is a choice but that it’s a good choice and that some careers require that further education.

“Don’t you want to be a zoo keeper?” I asked, given that both girls have passionately spoken about helping animals and working at a zoo to care for certain animals.

“No. Too hard. I just want to be a mum.”

The conversation had to be left there due to one rambunctious blonde haired boy, but I’ve visited it in my mind often since.

How do I, gently, tell her that being a mum is the hardest – and best – thing I’ve ever done? That parenting is not ‘easy’, as she seems to deem it.

How do I help her understand that having dreams is good but it’s the working towards them, no matter how hard the road may be, that makes them worthwhile.

I know she’s only young and her thoughts on future plans can change dramatically time and again. What I worry about is this defeated attitude already. I had hoped we were raising children who could push themselves and come out a winner because they went beyond what they believed they could but already I see Ellie giving in if things push her. When they first started home readers she wouldn’t try. Suddenly, her interest in reading and writing completely disappeared. It was frustrating and disappointing.

She’s got it now, but there’s still that block. If its hard, shrug and walk away.

I don’t know where I’m going wrong here or how to help her to understand without being that crazy, pushy parent. I want her to have her own desire to try harder.

I can’t simply leave when things are difficult, even when I’m at the end of my rope (which I’m rapidly reaching) and James is a hard worker, so I do not believe we are modeling this to her. I also don’t believe I’ve made her expect that she can simply do, as I’ve always been diligent in encouraging them to keep trying when there was something which required some mastering.

I don’t know. Any thought or suggestions for me? I’m hoping its a stage that she will soon leave behind as she starts to recognize the worth in doing her best.

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10 Comments

  1. Interesting thoughts and I don’t have the answers for you, but I can tell you that when I grew up it was just always an expectation that you went to further eductation of some kind. I always knew that school was not the end, whatever you decided to do, you had to learn more.

    There is also the highlighting (LOTS) and reminding of when tasks are achieved, my Miss 7 can used to get delated easily and would talk in terms of her being good at some things and not at others, the things she wasn’t good at, seemed to mean she didnt have to try at all. Work on a tiny thing, a fun thing, like getting across the monkey bars or riding a bike etc and show her how it is something that you can only do with practice, over and over again, then one day – it is just easy.

    goodluck.

  2. Hi Becky, don’t be too concerned. Your daughter has only got a handle on what school is like. Seriously though, yes she will be seeing and hearing what you &james do but she will make her judgments in her future based on much much more. She just doesn’t know this yet. I recall asking my granddaughter (now 16 & in Year 11) about going to Uni as he mum had done .. At 6 she said no way!! Now she is already planning her course choices. Do not be concerned! Ok?! D x

  3. My daughter has this attitude, like trying to get on clothes such as stockings, she cracks it, gives up and cries, and when her drawing isn’t perfect she screws it up – it breaks my heart! I also want my kids to know they can do ANYTHING! I hope it’s just a stage, hang in there 🙂 x

  4. Hi Becky – my daughter is almost 10 and she is also prone to giving up – but when she is confident she will keep trying (she loves dance, and is good and confident at it and will keep on trying and trying). She is also developing a real love of reading and I think her confidence with dance is rubbing off in other areas. I think some kids will only put effort in once they are confident in what they are doing – so it is that chicken and egg of building confidence so they make effort, when effort is required to build confidence. I know I could do better in the encouragement department because it really helps in the confidence building stage. Good luck with your daughter.

  5. I’ve got one of these, and I work hard with him. I refuse to let him give up even when he is crying with frustration. I just remain calm and positive and give clear instructions about how to do what has been asked (like put one leg in your shorts at a time), and then lots of praise afterwards and a big hug. It’s awful because there are times when I want to do it for him, but I just remind myself that learning to push through is one of the hardest lessons to learn, and we all need to learn it, but also know we have encouragement from others to help us do it. xxx

  6. Great post and I love the insight from others too. We haven’t gone as far as to talk abt uni but sometimes I feel my girl gives up too easily on simple tasks too. Maybe it’s because she stoo young, or maybe it’s because she just doesn’t see the need to try knowing we will be around to help. I hope to be able to motivate her more to not give up too

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  7. My kids are too young to have gone through this yet, so I don’t have a lot of advise I’m afraid. One thing we do though, is we’ve adopted a bit of a family phrase “We can do the hard things.” (It was supposed to be “We can do hard things, but my three year old inserted the ‘the’ and it’s stuck). Whenever we (usually Mr Banya and I) come across challenges, we say this phrase. But I don’t know if it will make any difference in the long term….

  8. Not worth worrying about yet! Way too early in the picture. My eldest is 13 now and currently tells me everyday that school is boring. She is in the SEALP (Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program). I know she will change her attitudes over time. I too panic when I hear this but then I remember I was the same at her age.
    Don’t hold on to their words too much. They spill from their mouths but often the feeling is fleeting for them.

  9. My Miss 11 has said that in the past as well.
    Today she is more of the view that being a mum is quite challenging… so she’s aiming to open up her own gelatisserie… or so she’s said. 😉

    I know she’s more talented than that but I will leave it up to her. I hope all my children do what makes them happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

    Essentially Master 18 isn’t at uni and doesn’t have a job but he is alive and happy. I’m grateful for that eternally right now, I’m sure the rest will come in time.

    Just remember to breathe! xxx

  10. With our daughter we say that practice makes perfect and to get good at something or to learn something that you need to keep trying. We give her examples of when Hubby and I have tried hard to get something and to learn things, like whistling or clicking your fingers. It seems to have helped.

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