Interesting difficult child viewpoint

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by janebrain, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Just thought I'd share a difficult child perspective that may be of help to someone. My difficult child is now 22 yrs old and really not much of a difficult child at all anymore. Last night we were talking about her struggles with school (she dropped out but did earn a GED at age 17) and I told her that we all knew she was smart, her teachers would tell her, we would tell her, but she persisted in thinking she was stupid.

    She said that everyone always telling her she was smart just reinforced the notion that she was stupid because she felt that if she was really smart we wouldn't keep telling her that. I guess she thought we were trying too hard or it came across as false, not really sure. This never, ever, occurred to me at the time. I thought if we kept reassuring her that we knew she was smart it might get through to her, instead it seemed to backfire!

    Maybe this will be helpful to someone else!

  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am going to bet I will be able to post the very same thing in a few years.

    That is enlightening and good that you shared for the people that may be in the heat of that moment right now.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    in my opinion there are a LOT of kids who think this way. Schools focus sooo much on "self esteem" and so many sources give lots of praise for very little work that the kids simply do not believe it. It is an ugly reality that has comoe from the last couple of decades of easy praise. Sort of the way trophies do not mean much to many kids because they get them regardless of how they perform in sports. My nephew, now in his 20's, had three large BOXES of trophies by the time he was 8. He played several sports, and every single weekend was a tournament where they gave away a LOT of trophies. He never did really value them because they were too easy to get. Same goes for praise. It wasn't until he got praise for something he WORKED HARD for that he ever believed the praise.

    Even my kids don't like to hear praise all the time. They would rather only get it when they truly have earned it. Wiz was the difficult child who NEVER even registered praise unless we praised him to another person - if we said it to him he didn't believe it. I think there are a whole lot of kids who think the way your daughter does.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree.

    Back in my "wild child" days, I knew things came fairly easy for me but I didnt understand what the testing and numbers really meant until I was older and actually could look back and say..oh wow, that was I really did that? Gee...why didnt I realize I had that Maybe if someone had explained it in different terms it would have made more sense but then again, maybe not. I hated hearing "could do much better if she would only apply herself" Heck, I would have been straight A's in HS if I hadnt been high all the time, ever cracked a book, and didnt deliberately fail tests so my friends would like me.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Jane, could you ask her, "Can you tell us now, with hindsight, of a better way we could have handled it back then? It would really help to know."

    All such knowledge is helpful. It may even help her to understand that the way her self-esteem was, there was no right answer.

  6. Jena

    Jena New Member


    great point, never thought of it that way AT ALL!! so we stay quiet when they say i'm dumb, etc.?? I like Marg's question.......... probe away, enlighten us grown up Non difficult child!!! LOL. :)
  7. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Yes I would like to hear her response as well..... Thanks for posting ....
  8. Frazzledmom

    Frazzledmom Guest

    This is so true!! Any attempts to complement or encourage my son are met with, "No, that's not true..." or something like that. My nature is to encourage and praise but it rings hollow for him most of the time. Sometimes, (when I think of it!) I'll do the probing and ask a detailed question, "What happened when you screwed up that skate trick?" Thanks for the insight!