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to be inwardly seething about DW's negativity impacting on DD?

(47 Posts)
Minus2seventy3 Mon 24-Nov-14 10:03:24

Bit of an outline first - DW can be negative at times, a little "glass half empty". Can be difficult keeping her upbeat. I sometimes find myself having to pick DD up as well when she picks up on her mam's mood swings (she can be very Jekyll and Hyde).
Onto the specifics that drives me to this little rant (for that's what I see this as being). I practice a martial art, have done for a few years. When I'd go for a grading on a Sunday, which would often run past DD's bedtime (I do most bedtimes), she'd always make me promise to come up to her room to show her my new belt. So when she asked to come along to the dojo when she was old enough, I was really rather chuffed indeed, and more so when she enjoyed it so much to stick at it. So that's now one of my favorite daddy/daughter things.
Now, DD probably ain't up to speed for our next grading, and whilst I and sensei are all encouragement and "it doesn't matter missing a grading once in a while", DW is less so. On to the real crux that had me hugely pissed off (inside) last night. DD asked me if I'd mind her quitting karate if she didn't get to grade this time round- apparently DW has told her if she can't learn her moves for this grading, how's she going to cope with the new stuff in the new year? "Can i give up if it's too hard?" Honestly, my heart sank with those words. DW has really fucked me off this time: how dare she put her negativity onto the little one like that, is she trying to ruin one of the most fun things I share with my daughter?

EatShitDezza Mon 24-Nov-14 10:11:45

I'd be a bit pissed off too.

Can you tell your daughter you will help her learn and if she misses this one she can try again with your help?

Try to spin it so it sounds fun and not so negative.

I would have a word with your wife about how she is very negative and try to find out why and explain that she shouldn't be rubbing off on her daughter

Heels99 Mon 24-Nov-14 10:12:34

Yanbu. One of the difficult things for all children to learn is that they won't always get the badge/trophy/ belt or equivalent for their hobby the first time But if they carry on trying, they might get it next time. It's a good lesson in commitment and resilience. My dd didn't pass her badge assessment in her sport at half term, but she passed it a couple weeks later. She Was disappointed the first time but kept trying.
We try to emphasise effort rather than results in our house, so we try not to focus on the badges/tests etc but more on enjoying the activity and trying hard. When dd does pass a badge we say "it's great you enjoy xxx activity and work hard at it" rather than "well done for getting the badge." We focus more on inputs than outputs.
Your wife's comments are negative and it would be a shame if dd gave up the activity you enjoy together. Whether you can change your wife's attitude I have no idea but perhaps you could focus with your dd more on the fun of doing the activity together rather than getting the grades, perhaps it has become a bit 'pass-fail' for your dd and nobody enjoys something where they feel like they have failed.

Good luck

parakeet Mon 24-Nov-14 11:26:43

Yes, I would find that very disappointing (your wife's remarks). When you have STOPPED seething, try and have a calm polite chat - if she cannot see how that was inappropriate I would ask her to avoid discussing this sport with your daughter in future.

But do be careful that your daughter really does enjoy the karate as much as you think she does.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 24-Nov-14 11:31:00

I don't think I would seethe inwardly, OP. I think I'd tackle this head on. Negativity is insidious and it can do and awful lot of damage to a child's self-esteem. It can be terribly impacting on their abilities to try new things or to be uninhibited when they participate in any activities.

I think if you don't tell your wife just how damaging this is and how bad it has become, she'll carry on doing it.

ApocalypseThen Mon 24-Nov-14 11:34:03

It's very frustrating. I would like for our kids to try everything - not just for accomplishment but also for different experiences and to become rounded people. My husband worries about them not succeeding at everything they try. It's very hard to explain that no one will be great at everything all the time so you should never try it give up if it's tough.

coppertop Mon 24-Nov-14 11:35:50

In my experience, children aren't usually put in for every single grading that comes up. Sometimes the sensei prefers them to consolidate what they've already learned before rushing to get to the next belt.

Teaching your dd that if at first you don't succeed you should give up altogether is a pretty crappy thing to do. I think you need to speak to your dw about it once the seething stage has passed.

Thebodynowchillingsothere Mon 24-Nov-14 11:39:05

God I wouldn't be seething inwardly I round be totally upfront with your wife about this.

Tell your dd she is welcome to go this with you as long as she enjoys it.

However as a child of generally warring parents I would often try to sort out their rows by siding with one or other of them and trying to please both. Your dd might be trying to show support for her mother by stopping going to the classes with you.

Thebodynowchillingsothere Mon 24-Nov-14 11:41:20

Sorry to add I don't at all mean she loved your wife better but she may feel your wife needs support more than you do. Kids can be complicated creatures and girls especially are very very quick to catch into emotions and frailties.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 24-Nov-14 11:45:23

Goodness me! Well in this case I would have broken the cardinal rule of parenting and told DD that DW doesn't always know best. Then again, I react really badly to people who put their children down.

My mother did this to me and it still permeates my life. I push myself to the extreme as all I can hear is her in the background saying '99% isn't good enough, it should be 100'<--- this was her response to an exam I sat when I was 13. Still engrained into my memory.

Children thrive on encouragement and support, not on criticism.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 24-Nov-14 11:55:09

Ah that's good. No encourage your dd to come with you, and reassure her it does not matter how good she is, as long as she enjoys it, that's the main thing. I am dyslexic and dyspraxic, and I love Kickboxing, but I am blooming useless on it. It make me feel good after doing it. You are her dad, you have ever right to take her if she wants.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 24-Nov-14 11:55:28

I meant that's not good, sorry

neolara Mon 24-Nov-14 12:03:07

I think your wife needs to read [ Mindset]] by Carole Dweck. I suspect your dw believes that your dd is finding things difficult because of something fundamental about who she is and because of this, it's going to be very difficult for your dd to improve. She needs to get herself a bit more "growth mindset". The books amazing.

neolara Mon 24-Nov-14 12:05:16

Hmm. That link didn't really work. Try again.

Your wife needs to read Mindset by Carole Dweck.

BramwellBrown Mon 24-Nov-14 12:12:11

YANBU I'd be furious in your situation, I think you need to speak to your wife and make sure she knows how much her negativity is affecting your DD.

Minus2seventy3 Mon 24-Nov-14 12:34:13

Thank you for the responses- it is something I intend to raise with DW, but, quietly and not in earshot of DD.
Just to add, I'm not a stereotypical pushy sports dad- I'd never push the little one into continuing if she genuinely didn't want to (that's why I was so delighted when she started- because she asked to join her dad in one of my keenest interests).
When she said it last night, I reassured her that there have been occasions where I've not put myself forward for gradings, and the important thing is that I still liked and appreciated the learning (you never stop learning, even Sensei is still learning) - I told her not to worry about new things, and as long as she still enjoyed it, I'd always be there to help. She seemed happier with what I said. I just think confidence, especially in our kids, is such a fragile thing, but a skipped grading doesn't mean she's not learning.

HelloitsmeFell Mon 24-Nov-14 12:36:27


Your wife sounds a bit of a doom-monger and jealous that you share something with DD that she is not involved in. She should be singing from the rooftops with joy that you and your DD spend quality time together sharing a hobby that teaches her physical fitness, discipline, concentration and commitment.

Boomtownsurprise Mon 24-Nov-14 12:40:56

You need to talk to dw. For all the reasons above. I would also double check dd does still like it, incase dw triumphantly whips out "but she told me x y z!"

Good luck. Hope it works out for u

Thumbwitch Mon 24-Nov-14 12:42:26

OH I'm cross on your behalf! How old is your DD?

My Ds1 is nearly 7, started tae kwan do this year in March, and has managed to get through 2 gradings successfully to be now in a yellow belt. But he only just got his yellow belt in the last grading, and was concerned he would fail, because he made mistakes - a change in teacher didn't help! - so I said to him that it would be ok if he missed the next grading, as each step up will be harder, the patterns longer and more to learn. He can't expect to do a grading every 3 months and go up a grade every time!

He was a little disappointed but it made sense - why put him up for the risk of failure? He was so upset after the yellow belt one when he thought he'd failed! Luckily the teacher/master (don't think they're called sensei in tae kwon do) agreed that he wasn't at all ready this time around, so he might go for the next one in March, which will give him time to build up his confidence.

Your DW has no idea what she's talking about, IMO - and your DD should listen to you and her sensei in terms of what she should be doing with her gradings, as you and he are the ones who do know what you're talking about!

Hairtodaygonetomorrow Mon 24-Nov-14 12:43:50

There's nothing wrong with a mum or dad sharing their passions, my children do their dad's hobby, but it's very much on the basis that they have a choice- which sounds like you give your dd too.

One of the most valuable lessons, particularly important for high-achieving perfectionist girls, is how to fail, or at least, how to keep going when you don't immediately get a reward.

My dd had a similar issue with swimming recently, she had done very well in the past few weeks, but the teacher explained she had missed a couple of classes in breaststroke so she couldn't move up to the next level. It is hard, but the trouble is with a 'everyone gets a prize/badge/sticker' mentality is that you then look towards this reward every time. Persistence is a great skill to learn. My dd decided, after a chat, to stay in swimming and she's doing very well.

I would have a word with your wife and ask her why she is undermining your dad/daughter activities (because that's what she is doing). Be open though, in case she says it is because your dd doesn't want to do them. Ask her if she can be supportive and encouraging to continue- children sometimes go through a stage of feeling down/discouraged about progress and want to quit things- it's worth keeping going through at least for a few more sessions in case this is a natural down and they will come up again. I would just speak honestly about how you feel- I know my husband would be extremely annoyed if I undermined his time with his dds or indeed the decision for them to do certain clubs which is as much his decision as mine.

QueenVick Mon 24-Nov-14 12:43:56

Your wife sounds very hard on your little girl sad

You are doing the right thing in focusing on how well she is doing in her chosen sport. Its a very good opportunity for you to help your DD understand that sometimes we are not always ready for a grading, but that doesn't mean that she wont ever be able to do it. She can look forward to the next grading and I am sure you will help her practice so that she feels confident in herself.

My DD1 is grading in 3 weeks for her first kickboxing belt as is my husband. Myself and DD2 are not as we know we are not ready, we have talked about this to help DD2 understand that her and I can grade next time so we have more chance to practice and get as good as daddy and her sister.

Keep up the awesome work with your DD, I think all martial arts are fantastic for kids, if they enjoy it, for fitness, self defence and all round wellbeing. Such a positive environment.

Thebodynowchillingsothere Mon 24-Nov-14 12:45:57

Puds that's awful. My df counted dds mistakes while she was playing her recorder to him using his fingers.

Some people just don't get it.

KatieKatie1980 Mon 24-Nov-14 13:05:19

Is your wife jealous? Does she have any hobbies of her own/time for herself etc? That's the first thing that popped in my head.

YANBU at all. I think its very important that children learn we have to work at things and don't always succeed first time. Also hobbies should be enjoyable! I think you should have a chat with your daughter first. Could she be picking up on the negativity and also be worrying about disappointing you for wanting to quit?

My DH says I have a negative outlook on life or rather a tendency to 'look on the black' ! I don't see it like that at all. I've been through a fair bit in my life and had situations where I expected the worst and anything better than that was a bonus lol! Id never be down on my children and make them feel rubbish for not meeting 'my' expectations. I want them to have fun and enjoy themselves!

Definitely speak to your wife when you have calmed down. Maybe she is harbouring some resentment about something...?

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 24-Nov-14 13:11:55

Thebody I know. This is why it angers me seeing adults doing it to children as I know from experience the affect it has sad

It breeds anxiety. I have pushed myself to the point of breaking so many times as I now have it ingrained into me that nothing other than perfection is acceptable.

SilenceOfTheSAHMs Mon 24-Nov-14 13:12:14

You sound like a lovely dad. I'm getting the feeling your DW is jealous. Possibly of your daughter, and the bond you seem to have over this shared hobby.
Echoing what other posters say about encouraging positivity with your DW.

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