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Outwardly confident but no self esteem

(3 Posts)
Clemsmum1 Thu 24-Mar-16 11:19:50

My dd is outwardly very confident and exhibits very bullish behaviour. I think it masks inner lack of confidence. She can be very sociable when she wants to be but has a real issue with authority and "being told what to do" - by anyone, including parents, teachers and adults. The usual strategies simply aren't working and she looks so sad and withdrawn.
She is very bright but her attitude (refusing to do things she doesn't want to) means she isn't reaching her potential. She's praised for good behaviour, kindness etc but every request is a battle if it's not on her terms. Any advice?

Clemsmum1 Thu 24-Mar-16 11:21:33

She was 6 in January.

Kleinzeit Thu 24-Mar-16 20:39:00

One possible solution, at least in the short term, is to try putting things on her terms. This might not be a problem of deliberately defying authority for the sake of it; it might be more like a problem of not being able to change direction suddenly. Imagine you are walking on a tightrope and concentrating very hard on going forwards to reach the end and you're balancing very carefully and your boss says to you "Turn around! Now! Do it! Just do it! Why aren't you doing it when I say RIGHT NOW? Well everyone else has turned round so you really must have an authority problem!"

Things that worked for my DS were: routines (so we did the same thing in the same order and I did not suddenly decide to walk home by a different route or drop in to a shop on the way home); advanced warning (if we were going to the shop after school then in the morning I would say "this afternoon we will go the shop on the way home from school" and at the start of the walk home I would remind "tonight we are going to the shop on the way home"); visual instructions (e.g. picture timetables for the day so he knew what was coming, and picture lists to remind him what to do); giving one single simple instruction at a time, using as few words as possible; and giving the instruction, then waiting for 10 seconds, and then repeating it even more simply; giving DS time to make his mind up (so "count-to-three and consequence" worked well as a discipline strategy, we almost never had to do the consequence because the clear instructions meant he knew exactly what to do and the slow steady count to three gave him time to process and do it); and when he was a bit older giving him a time choice "shall we do it now or in 10 minutes?" and he always says "10 minutes" but he doesn't strop off, whereas if I say "do it now" it's still strop-time.

Your DD may have a different set of issues from my DS, probably not as extreme anyway, and hopefully your DD will become more adaptable as she grows up (my DS has a diagnosis and is still rather inflexible.) But if you can adapt your way of giving instructions to her current issues you might find it's not really an authority problem at all and she'll get through the day successfully without affecting her self-esteem, until she grows past these issues.

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