when to push, when to leave it alone?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by confuzzled, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    difficult child 2 has the chance to try out for something in which she excels. she's been talking about this day for two years.

    but the process of doing so just caused a meltdown.

    (some background: this would require me to move heaven and earth til the end of the school year, and while i'm not thrilled abou it, i was willing to. this is also something that while she excels at it, could be a *major* source of anxiety and of course we run the risk of massive behaviors. it could be a lot of pressure. its also something that there would be no turning back from. its ALSO probably the singularly most ridiculous process i've seen yet for someone her age--professionals don't have to do what's being asked--i could wring this person's neck, lol.)


    the best i can tell she's overwhelmed with the workload of the tryout alone. its her typical M.O.---too much effort and she shuts down. i've tried breaking it down into very small parts, but it didn't help. the truth is, if she just did it, it would probably be a no-brainer...she's *that* good. and its something that would theoretically be a ginormous self esteem booster for her. i'm 99% positive there is nothing in the process she is unable to do--its just the thought of the work.

    i dont (and really can't) force her. but at some point in life she's going to end up with a ton of regrets from not even trying. its a shame to me that she always takes the easy (lazy) way out.

    at what point do you push?

    or, at what point do you just say, oh well?
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Is this something that would change her life for the better? Would she carry this sense of accomplishment with her for the rest of her life, remembering that "I did this, and so I can probably do that?" If it would be a long term benefit for her, I'd push.

    Miss KT had been in karate for years, steadily improving, but was nervous about testing for her black belt, so she wanted to quit before then. I wouldn't let her. I held her to it, taking her to classes three and four days a week, listened to her complain complain complain about it, but in the end, she earned her black belt. I let her quit soon afterwards, because she started high school and marching band took up most of her time. However, she still has the pride in her accomplishment, even though it was more than five years ago.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sit down with her and do a PMI on both options (trying out, and not trying out). Do it on paper.

    Her problem is the anxiety and panic. She needs to know that she has to deal with this, whichever choice she makes, and in life a lot of people have to take their anxiety into account.

    With practice, she can learn to not merely try to avoid anxiety totally, but instead to use it as a tool, to let the adrenalin from the anxiety drive her enthusiasm in those areas where she is really interested.

    It is normal for a kid to feel scared when trying out even for something they desperately want to do. The fear of failure is always there. But if you don't ever try, the fear of seeing your opportunity slip by, untested, is far worse long-term.

    She needs to really think about ALL the options as well as all the "what ifs" of what she has to face daily, if she chooses to not try, ever. Can she try again later if she fluffs this chance? What is the worst that will happen, with either option? Look at that worst. Stare it in the face. How does it feel? How bad is it really? Then stare in t he face the option of success - how does it feel? Weigh them up side by side, and balance in the anxiety while being in the process. Are there any things she can try, to alleviate the anxiety to manageable levels while she goes through this process?

    It's a matter of using cognitive behaviour therapy to deal with this.

    Yes, I think you should push. But push using the process I have just described, then let HER own whatever choice is made.

  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    She needs to know that she has to deal with this

    without a crystal ball handy, i'll wager i will hear about how she "chickened out" forever.

    she'll ruminate, after the fact.

    i'll try what you suggested, marg....(maybe later--i can't calmly deal with her right now--both she and the whole thing are on my last nerve!)

    it is so frustrating to me that someone can be so smart, and yet take the easy way out, every.single.time. heaven forbid she applied herself and has some kind of internal motivation--she probably cure cancer in my kitchen. its honestly not even about this single try-out, its about the pattern that i cant get her to break.

    (and i will say, this whole thing is so a result of "those who can't, teach"...this person is making it overly hard for heaven knows what reason--i happen to know a professional in the area who almost fell off their chair when i told them, but since its what's required, it is what it is)

    but she needs to know that life ain't easy....the sooner she gets that fact, the easier it WILL be for her.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I so understand this predicament. My easy child/difficult child is very much like this. She lets her anxiety (and laziness) get the better of her. She is 17 years old and looking back I try to think of what we could have done differently. We made her stick with her karate til she received her black belt because we were financially obligated. She fought us tooth and nail for almost two full years. She has always had a hard time getting involved or staying involved. Should we have pushed more or left more alone. Wish I knew the answer to that one!

    So even though I have no advice, I'm sending understanding hugs and good thoughts your way. Let us know what happens.
  6. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Your difficult child is at a very precarious age ~ add into that her issues & I would guess that she's struggling to make a commitment or is fearful of this tryout coming up. I'm wondering if your difficult child isn't, as her diagnosis suggests, simply overwhelmed & is self protecting. Please take this as it's given. Trying to give you a different perspective.

    Saying that I never pushed either of the tweedles until/unless they were stable for at least 6 months counting. At that point I pushed little by little. For kt I've it's only been over the last 6 months that I've been able to push her past her comfort zone (in all areas of her life) & she's 16.

    It's a work in progress as it is with all of our children. I'm no suggesting you don't encourage or even nudge your difficult child. Just want to remind you that many of these diagnosis's carry an emotional delay making it more difficult just making it through the day.
  7. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    thanks everyone. i'm glad i asked (because since it DOES involve a hassle for me, well, i'm might have said forget it, based on that alone!)

    she did the work. no real complaints today, she was pleasant about it and she didnt shed a tear. all the prep work she can do herself is ready to go, and she's set to gather her reccomendations tomorrow.

    i'm proud of her. it wasnt easy.

    the actual tryout is next monday so we'll see. she does understand its not a given that she'll be picked. i am reallly reallllllllllly working with her on that part because even she knows how good she is, and in her mind its a done deal. if its done on talent alone, she's good....but i'm worried that because the person does *know* her that, well, umm, she wont be picked if that person doesnt want to deal with difficult child 2. thats a very real possibility since its a handful being chosen, and as an adult, i'm not sure i'd want to be bothered, Know what I mean??

    but today she herself is glad she went for it.

    so cross a leg if you think of it :)

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If after all that work she doesn't get picked, work with her to show her how it still was not a waste. It was good practice for a later opportunity and who knows? Maybe the later opportunity will be a better one anyway. Also I would work with her on how adults are NOT perfect and don't always make choices based on who is best. Sometimes it has to be - who will be the stayers? What sort of team do I pick, that will work together smoothly and easily with no hassles? With more time, a bit more maturity and more experience, this will stand her in good stead.

    And maybe she will be more likely to be considered next time? She had a go, she tried, and that in most people's eyes is what really counts. How she handles rejection is going to be important too. It is all a useful lesson and a positive experience, even if it is not what she wanted or expected.

    We went through this with easy child 2/difficult child 2 in early 2000 - try-outs for the Sydney 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony. She broke her wrist when trying out for one of the stiltwalkers (she was borderline too young anyway) and as a consolation prize, because of her extensive dancing/singing/performing experience, they said, "We have another opportunity for you, we are looking for one special little girl but it is very top secret." Thus easy child 2/difficult child 2 was in the final 20 for the choice of the "Hero Girl", a role that eventually went to a cute, blonde, curly-haired moppet called Nikki Webster. Nikki did a great job and frankly, had a CV miles better than easy child 2/difficult child 2's. Plus she didn't have a broken wrist at the audition - when we saw what she had to do, there is no way our girl would have been ready to rehearse on that wrist. But for months easy child 2/difficult child 2 would snipe about "flamin' Nikki Webster," until we saw the rest of Australia's popular media beginning to bag out the kid too (it happen when you get too well-known too fast sometimes). Then she began to see that she (easy child 2/difficult child 2) had not had the maturity to handle the role, nor the maturity to handle the fame that would have come with it. She learned to not resent those who succeed when she has not. Good grace in this process is most important, to breed a better chance of success in the future.

    Feel free to share this story with your difficult child - she was 13 years old when this happened. Nikki Webster was 12, but had been performing professionally on stage from the age of 5. easy child 2/difficult child 2 finally realised that missing out on a role to Nikki Webster was no shame in any way.

  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sometimes difficult children just do it on their own, in their way. I find looking back that I stressed over so many things I should not have stressed about. She figured it out on her own. Her way. Completed.

    I would not call it a push that is needed sometimes, maybe a nudge.