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I am failing my son

(9 Posts)
hoolaloola Tue 12-May-15 17:48:45

My ds is 5. He is number three of four and and out of the four he is the one that is different. The older two do lots of activities and clubs. They are both popular at school and do well academically and at sports. Ds is much quieter in nature. He is not as high energy and much more placid. He is also very contrary. It is almost if I ask him to do something he deliberately won't do it.

In the last 6 months I have tried to get him to have swimming lessons and join in another physical activity (he loves doing sports at home). It has been a complete nightmare. He started off in the swimming lessons just fine but when they moved him into the next group he has point blank refused to join in. The same has happened with the other activity. Up until today he was perfectly fine but we started off on a bad foot today and we have gone into the same mode as swimming. Firstly we were slightly late so I asked him to hurry up. He would not move any faster - he doesn't make a fuss, just doesn't do as you ask. Then he wanted a drink but he just held the bottle to his mouth and then when I took it away said he hadn't had any. Then he pretended he had something in his eye. All the while he is smirking at me as obviously I am getting annoyed with him. We ended up just going home. This will be a pattern now and it makes me weak.

We are at home now and I want to cry. I lost my temper with him and shouted at him on the way to the car. When we got in the car he told me it was because there was a new instructor. I have no idea now if these issues are anxiety related or whether they are his way of getting my attention. Either way I am failing him. I don't know what to do. Part of me thinks he looks at his older siblings and doesn't believe he is as good but I know that when he joins in activities he really enjoys himself and it boosts his confidence. I don't want to just stop doing them but I also can't face trying to cajole him into an activity every week.Help.

Crazyqueenofthecatladies Tue 12-May-15 20:05:33

You are not failing your son. Not at all. However it does sound like you are trying to get him to fit his brothers' mould, which he can't so he is quite understandably resisting. His confidence can be boosted in lots of ways that don't involve sport.

albertcampionscat Tue 12-May-15 20:57:50

I didn't much like organised activities like that as a kid. Maybe your son would rather be left to daydream with a book? That's okay too. You sound like a very caring, loving mother and he sounds like a good kid. He'll be fine.

Magicpaintbrush Tue 12-May-15 21:50:49

My goodness, you are not failing your son at all! You sound like a wonderful mother who is just having a tough time. It sounds like he is very resistant to change - or maybe more specifically to people he doesn't know, which might be why he was so reluctant to join in with his new swimming class and to have a new instructor with the other activity. It may partly be shyness of strangers, especially if he is a quiet child. It must be very frustrating that he often does the opposite of what he is asked. If it was me I would sit my child down and ask them why they behaved this way (without putting any ideas in their head) and see what answer you get. Sometimes kids come out with the most surprising things. If he is only 5 he may still be finding his feet at school, it's such a big change in their lives and their social skills are still developing. It may be that as he grows older he will settle into new things more easily. As for being contrary I think that is a very common thing with children of many ages, pushing boundaries etc. Hopefully he will grow out of it but it could be worth just talking to him about it.

hoolaloola Wed 13-May-15 10:59:58

Thanks for your replies. I have calmed down this morning. He is a lovely little boy and I just want to do right by him. I think because his right might be different to the other dc's right (and mine) I just need to find what that is. Thank you for being the voice of reason.

BarbarianMum Wed 13-May-15 13:01:34

<<I have no idea now if these issues are anxiety related or whether they are his way of getting my attention>>

Maybe a bit of both? I have a ds2 who is invariably contrary and stroppy when anxious (the messing with the drinks bottle thing sounds v familiar). Getting angry doesn't help (although I do it all the time). Instead I aim for sympathetic listening to concerns whilst continuing the desired momentum (so wondering why he doesn't want to X whilst shepherding him into the car). He has a tendancy to worry about impending things but actally enjoy them once he's taking part, so I think this is the best strategy. Last week he didn't want to swim because he had a cold and was worried he couldn't put his face in the water as usual and would therefore be put down a group. Took quite a lot of stropping to get that fear in the open though.

MagentaVitus Wed 13-May-15 21:52:56

Would a chess club suit him?

oceaner Thu 21-May-15 01:26:10

Sounds to me, your son might be an introvert and more determined (as you said he is much quieter in nature, not as high energy and much more placid. He is also very contrary), while your other two are extroverted.
He might be too young to be labelled as introvert, but as an introvert myself, if I like doing sports at home doesn't mean I like to do it with others, too many people can overwhelm me.
He sounds like he was trying to find an excuse to get away from doing the activities he's not into. But it maybe true too that he didn't like to have a new intructor, some kids simply have slow-warm-up personality (like my son).
You are a great mum trying to help him getting involved in lots of actitivities, maybe you can try to have him go swimming with another friend or two to see if he will be more comfortable around them rather than in a big group?

afghanda Thu 21-May-15 10:53:17

He's an introvert in a family of extroverts. He just needs quiet time to be left to do what he wants to do. Not all children like 'organised fun' or out of school activities. Leave him be and stop trying to get him to do what his siblings naturally like and I bet you'll see a happier child.

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