How does your difficult child see...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    him/herself? Are they aware of their strengths & weaknesses?

    I ask because Duckie has fallen into the habit of lumping the kids in her class into either "the school-smart" group or the "not-as-school-smart"group. And, I have a feeling she's lumping herself into the "not-as-smart" group so I asked her if she thought she were smart. She didn't think she was particularly smart and was naming off kids that are "just perfect" as they never have any struggles: good academics and good behavior always.

    Her perception is off, frankly. She's at the top of her class and has been on yellow once (for talking) this year. She has a minor problem with adding detail to her writing but that is improving quickly as her teacher has focused her on it. She's had some social struggles with the other girls but it doesn't seem to be anything they all aren't experiencing. All A's, doing great in music (viola) and chosen for the district art show. She's in the chorus for the school musical. Her organization is even showing some improvement. She's still a difficult child but has never shown it much in school (thank goodness).

    Does this sound like low self-esteem or that she's not aware of how well she's doing when compared with her peers? She didn't seem down on herself, just wasn't aware that you could be imperfect and still a great, well-rounded student. Does that make sense?
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Alternatively, could it be perfectionism in action?
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Mine is one of the smartest in her class and often sees herself as "stupid" because her scores aren't perfect. Drives me bonkers and drives her anxiety level really high at times. But there's so many different kinds of "smart" - like street smart, life smart, people smart, etc.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Okay... so how do we get our brainiac girls to understand that they do have smarts? And.... keep them working hard at the same time instead of resting on their laurels once they accept their academic prowess?
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Right now mine gets that there is always more to learn no matter how much you know. Maybe it's overwhelming for her. Until she's a teen and knows everything, anyway.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Perfectionism was the first thing that occurred to me. It also could be that she truly doesn't know that everyone has problems, no matter how perfect they or their lives seem. It is entirely possible that she doesn't know that you can be a great, well rounded, top of your class student and still make mistakes.

    How do you think of yourself and your parenting? Do you always see where you could do it better? Do you see that you are doing well but...?

    This may be something that doesn't apply to your family, but it was an issue in mine. My mother was raised by an alcoholic who was a single parent by the time she was 10. Her mom died, so he was all she had. One thing that children of alcoholics get really really well is perfectionism. They want to be the top in everything - no matter what. If they can just do everything well enough, be perfect enough, then the alcoholic in their life will be happy and life will be good.

    It is a really nasty, insidious and pervasive way of thinking. It literally applies to every single thing in your life. Without some serious help and a whole lot of work, it never goes away.

    THen when you have kids they become perfectionists. I did not know my grandfather was an alcoholic until I was 20 and was pregnant with Wiz. I was shocked - beyond shocked!!! No one talked about it. He did NOT drink around me - ever. He knew that if he drank around us even one time my mother would never let him see us again (around my bro and I).

    I went to some alanon meetings because my mom pressured me. Then I started paying attention. She was NOT going because her son was an alcoholic, although he was. He wasn't even living in town when I went. I didn't go because my brother was an alcoholic. I went because I was the grandchild of one. It truly shocked and amazed me how my life was impacted as far back as I could remember.

    I NEVER thought of myself as being at the top of the class. I was, but it didn't register. What I saw was the red marks on my papers. I saw the mistakes. I saw my parents helping drill me on math, vocabulary, helping rewrite an essay, etc... I also saw them going over a test with me - so I could figure out what I messed up.

    Don't get me wrong - I was praised for my grades. I was even PAID for them - $5 for an A, $3 for a B and $1 for a C. It started because bro's grades tanked - then when they paid him they felt they had to pay me too. My pics went on the fridge, my best ones were saved.

    That didn't register nearly as much to me. I saw the other kids and ALWAYS thought they were better than me. No matter WHAT I did or said, what I saw was how I could have done it better. I still do this to an extent. I work to not do it, to let things be enough just the way they are. I also have had to work to NOT focus on how my kids could do things better. I work on praising and leaving off that "but you could have ...." that comes after "WOW - you did a good job!"

    I don't know if you have alcoholism in the family tree. But are YOU a perfectionist? Our kids, esp our daughters, learn this from us.

    This could be the reason behind not realizing that she is a top student in her class, that she is one of the smart kids. It is something you can work on - NOT pointing out if thngs can be improved - in every aspect of your and her lives. SOmetimes it is important to point out how to improve thigns, but often it isn't as important as it seems.

    I mentioned the alcoholic link because it is one of the strongest, most pervasive problems in children of alcoholics that they don't even realize is happening, and one of the things that is easiest to pass on to our kids. Especially to our daughters. If mom is never happy with what she has done, if what mom does can always be improved, then how can anything her daughter does ever be good enough?

    (This is how daughters think. I actually can remember thinking along those lines as a kid - many times. It was NOT what my parents wanted to teach me.)
  7. crazym&p

    crazym&p New Member

    We have the opposite problem with our brainiac daughter. She's absolutely brilliant but ODD. She could easily make straight As without even trying, but that would mean following directions from teachers and doing her homework. It's more important to her to prove that she doesn't have to do what we say. She prefers to whine about not being on the honor roll while not lifting a finger to do anything about it. As a childhood perfectionist myself, it makes me completely crazy.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Susie- I started working on my perfectionism a long time ago; you learn to accept "good enough" when even being practically perfect for your family doesn't make a lick of difference.

    I do know that Duckie is really feeling her differences lately, that some things aren't fair like needing an Epipen, being sensory reactive and getting frustrated easily. I feel for her but I need to get her to where she accepts her differences (good, bad & neutral) so she can move ahead and get on with life. She doesn't realize that she has a boatload of positives that, with a little work and diligence on her part, will help her lead a mostly happy & productive life just like everyone else.
  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Crazy- sounds like my big brother. Any chance that the ODD is masking one or more learning disabilities?
  10. crazym&p

    crazym&p New Member

    Nope. She's been tested - she's in fifth grade and tested at a grade level between 8th-11th grade in everything. Everything they have tested has come back in the exceptional range. She's a freakin' genius. She does not respect authority figures, and teachers are authority figures. Assignments are directions from the teachers, and she does not follow directions from authority figures. She feels that it is beneath her to even attempt any assignment that she deems "stupid." The educational specialist at her PH program is starting to push her more on the quality of her work, which I am glad to see. difficult child does not appreciate being pushed. We are hoping this turns out in our favor.
  11. crazym&p

    crazym&p New Member

    "I started working on my perfectionism a long time ago; you learn to accept "good enough" when even being practically perfect for your family doesn't make a lick of difference."

    tiredmommy, we sound a lot alike. I don't suppose you had a Borderline mother, too?
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Sometimes (!!!) the best thing for our difficult children is an independent, outside confirmation of what we've being saying all along. I've learned with homework, projects, etc to provide a time line for things to get done and allow the teacher to do her job and correct/rate the work done. I might point out an obvious error (like not completing a math problem or dropping a word), but the work is up to her. I will, however, listen and offer my opinion when asked. And I've been known to shoot an email when it's obvious that she doesn't understand something (without telling Duckie).
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    My mother had bipolar disorder & suffered from alcohol/substance abuse. She was a pretty straight-shooter, though, more neglectful than borderline or even passive-aggressive. She was basically more interested in being a drunk than being a parent; I don't really believe it was anything personal against me.