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6yr old bottom of class in everything and doesn't care

(38 Posts)
beatrix03 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:00:39

My 6yr old fb daughter has been teeth grindingly slow at every developmental stage. If something happens between 6-12 months, you can bet it'll be 14 months before she gets round to it. SHe does get round to it and is capable and not special needs (as far as we know)but she seems not to be motivated at all. She is currently skiing with her school. They were all beginners but all the rest of the class are now far and away better than she is. She refuses to do as she is asked and is not even doing the basics, let alone mastering them, as the others are. The instructors and her father are blue in the face telling her what to do, to no avail. And she does not care. All the others tease, and want to be better than each other and are motivated by their own success but she just wants to go down the smallest slope. She is not scared and actually thinks shes very good at it! It was the same riding a bike, swimming etc. She learned how not to drown but is refusing to take instruction to actually learn strokes. She doesn't use stabilisers but has given upriding her bike because its hard work. We are worried in case she is left behind so far in everything that she will not be able to catch up. If she offers no challenge and nothing interesting to her peers, how long before they forget all about her. I don't want a forgotten child who no-one wants to know becuase they perceive her to be too stupid to even learn the rudiments of all the usual kids stuff.
At school they say she is reading, writing and doing maths with no problem, so i am assured there isn't an over riding learning difficulty, but her "away with the fairies" approach to life in general is getting us all down, she seems to make zero progress on everything and we don't want to push to the point of "military school" approach. What can we do? How do we motivate a unmotivatable child? The fact that her peers are way ahead on other stuff does not bother her like it does for a normal 6 yr old. Help!

foxinsocks Sat 31-Oct-09 21:05:56

I imagine you aren't in the uk if she is off ski-ing wink

I don't know. It's hard to say. Dd is totally away with the fairies and it has only changed this year when she has suddenly become interested in the work she is doing (she's yr 5 now).

I would say, if the teachers aren't worried (and you trust the school) and you don't think it is a learning problem, then unfortunately, there isn't much you can do. The teachers used to say that they weren't worried because children like that almost hang on in there waiting to be inspired. Does that sound familiar to you?

Is there anything she really likes? Books, paintings, music, making up stories?

Inghouls2 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:06:34

she's away sking wth the school??? and she's 6... are you not in the UK?

preciouslillywhite Sat 31-Oct-09 21:09:22

I don't really understand- you say she's "bottom of the class" but then you say she's doing fine with reading, writing and maths- so she only seems to have difficulties with swimming, skiing and riding her bike- is that right?

Inghouls2 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:10:24

well. I'm going to be harsh I'm afraid. your dd is your own person. You can't make her do things at a certain pace, she will do them in her own time.If the school is not worried and happy with her progress you will have to be satisfied with that. I promise you though if you push her hard now to do things when you think she should you will put her off all together,.

Inghouls2 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:12:45

BTW I did wonder if she is dyspraxic as she has had most trouble with riding, swimming etc But if she has mastered those things at 6. I think it's probably not an issue. my 8.5 yr old can't do any of those things.

Heated Sat 31-Oct-09 21:16:50

What happens if you take complete pressure of her and just let her be? To be away with the fairies is no bad thing - it's a creative process. And she sounds rather lovely wanting to do what she's comfortable with. Life is not all competition' I imagine her friends like her for who she is rather than her ability to snowplough.

beatrix03 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:25:45

Sorry, guys, I didn't amke myself clear.
She has skiing lessons with the school once a week. We are in Scotland, close to a huge dry slope so it's pretty normal for kids to ski in this area! Wish I was skiing in the alps...!

Thank you for all your replies, I have taken them all on board. Husband has had a look too, he's an alpha male type, possibly wanting more from her than she can give right now.

When I said bottom of class I meant ski class, sorry again, I wasn't very clear, but it isn't just the skiing, obviously, it's the "away with the fairies"-ness and the fact that it doesn't trouble her that all her friends can and do do everything bfore her/better than her/faster than her.
Is peer pressure really not important yet? Thing is, peer pressure seems important to all her classmates (ski class and school class)Aaarrgh! As I write this I know what you're going to say but still I worry!

She likes drawing, dressing up, her barbie dolls and all their clothes, sweeties, fantasy stories, her teachers, dvd night (with popcorn), loves swimming. She likes the idea of helping me doing crafty stuff and in the kitchen but her attention span rivals that of a gnat. We give her omega 3 capsules, but who knows if they make a difference.
I often have to tell her things 3 or 4 times. She ignores me, but I know she's heard me as she can tell me what I've said after just one telling. This isn't malicious on her part, I'm sure. Most of the time I feel I need to be on her to get her to do absolutely everything. And that makes me feel like a sgt major!

Inghouls2 Sat 31-Oct-09 21:29:29

she sounds lovely beatrix..she is perfectly capable and even better than that, knows her own mind..
she's away with the bad thing she's obviously going to be a creative person.
I think you and your dh need to relax and let her be... she is not an extension of yourselves.

foxinsocks Sat 31-Oct-09 21:34:03

I tell you what beatrix, as she gets older you will realise how fabulous it is that she doesn't feel that peer pressure. It's because she's so confident in her own little person that she can be that way, and hell, how fabulous is that for a 6 year old!

she sounds creative and happy to do her own thing and an independent thinker!

Heated Sat 31-Oct-09 21:52:48

Seriously, what would happen if you just took the pressure off and let her just be and enjoy her for who she turning out to be? Relegate the sgt major role? It seems such a pity this is a source of concern for you and dh. Presumably you don't convey to her your disappointment or sense she is lacking, but she's not daft, she will eventually pick up on it. But she sounds such a strong character, happy and confident to march to her own tune - nurture that. You are very fortunate.

preciouslillywhite Sat 31-Oct-09 21:53:13

beatrix- I've got twin dds the same age, and while one of them is on everything and strives to do everything first, the other sounds a lot like your dd. Either way, they're delightful. Your dd sounds great because she wants to do things on her own terms, not yours, or her teacher's, or classmates'!

She's got a mind of her own, and I bet in a few years' time you'll be really pleased that she has, iykwim!

stakethroughtheheartofgold Sat 31-Oct-09 21:55:19

so "bottom of class in everything" as per title or "zero progress on everything" as per op isn't actually accurate at all? why do you think you have such a skewed perspective of her achievements? do you have any other children?

LynetteScavo Sat 31-Oct-09 21:59:50

beatrix....are you and your DH high achievers?

YOu sound disapointed in your DD,which I don't think you should be, as she sounds an absoulte sweetie.

Having a child who has high standards for them selves, and isn't happy unless they are the best is no fun at all.

Not all dafodils flower on the same day.

JesusChristOtterStar Sat 31-Oct-09 22:09:30

beatrix - if i look in the archives i could link to ds s parents evening post that i made on here when he was reception. The teacher used the phrase 'away with the fairies' all year when speaking ABOUT HIM [HMM]


anyway that was two years ago and he is not much different but we are very chilled. Ds is our 4th of 6 children and some of the others have not been quick off the mark

dh and I are academic types and have high hopes for our kids to be the same....ds does not appear so! smile He is high in the class for reading but spelling and handwriting is bobbins! He really - like your dd- appears not to care much and will not be pushed in any direction. he too was slow to ride bike and will not --give- a toss care about peer pressure

we do think he is bright however and his interest in life and the world are great...he has his own agenda and as he is only 6 i am happy with that

we do have the benefit of experience. DS1 was a real slow starter - not quick at anything - slow to swim ride bike etc - not driven but has turned out very very academic - much to our surprise. I would say chill - help her where you can and look for the positives! smile

beatrix03 Sat 31-Oct-09 22:17:13

Yes, stakethroughtheheart.. we do have another, 3yo who is pretty sharp. She tells 6yo what to do (in that 3yo style) and 6yo will do it. But when dd1 doesn't want to play ball she won't. So yes, you are all right, she will do things the way she wants to do them, when she wants to do them.

I will try to step off for a while, I do find it hard to do that, Heated and Lynette,but only because I want her to want things. It's me. She likes to ski and swim and loads of other things so I help her do them and I want her to be good so she can do them well, enjoy herself and have a sense of pride and achievement. If I am a terrible mummy, it's because I want her to be successful, but for herself, not for me.
I see her little face light up when she gets something right for the first time, and she gets high fives and "yay!"s. But that doesn't seem enough to get her to do it again, or push on and get better at whatever it is.
I'm so sorry, I don't show disappointment in her when it goes pear shaped, but it's hard not to get frustrated when she doesn't seem to listen over and over agian. I know that'll have negative effects if she picks up on it but how do I get her to motivate herself without pushing or going on at her. Surely all kids need some form of encouragement, she seems not to respond to any.

Again, I do really appreciate you all taking the time on this

foxinsocks Sat 31-Oct-09 22:22:38

all children are different though beatrix

you'll soon find out what lights her fire - maybe it will be going to the theatre or art museums and then you can enjoy going together.

one thing you will soon learn about away with the fairies children is that the more you push, the more they will pull away

it is a challenge to understand children who are not built the same way as we are but there lies one of the joys of trying to parent - and one of the most important things you can learn to do is respect the character that your child has. It sounds easy but I know how hard it can be (I was an away with fairies child but have one like that who I totally get and one perfectionist who I worry about all the time!)

beatrix03 Sat 31-Oct-09 22:25:04

Thanks Jesuschristotterstar, very encouraging. DH is very high achieving, academic and tremendously intelligent. I am ex (at the moment) teacher so feel that between us we should have produced something like an above average kid. But you can't think like that, as much as it would make it neat and easy to do so.
I do have the feeling we have yet to find that one thing she is really enthused about and good at. She is fascinated with the human body and its workings, and asks some tremendously insightful questions eg, "Where does water come from?", "What do clouds feel like?", "Why do we have diffeent languages?", "How do you get rainbows?", "How does the petrol make the car go?" so I know under all the fluff and gossamer that surrounds her brain, I know that something is going on!

Inghouls2 Sat 31-Oct-09 22:26:59

but what do you actually need to motivate her at? She's doing well at school yes? she has friends? is she happy?
What more does she need? Does she need to be a great skier?... er no
as you said you want her to want things. When she discovers what she wants I'm sure she will be motivated.
Seriously beatrix...she's totally fine. It worries me slightly that you are disappointed because she hasn't achieved what you expected.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 31-Oct-09 22:34:33

MY DD is similar possibly- although it's difficult to decipher what the issues are with your dd, who is meeting expectations in the academics but not trying hard enough in skiing and swimming - which gets tranlated as 'zero progress in everything' and 'bottom of class in everything'.

DD is 5, and she likes what she likes. She does things when she wants to do things, and is convinced of her brilliance in anything she enjoys. I think that is actually not a bad position for a 5 year old.

beatrix03 Sat 31-Oct-09 22:36:02

Yeah, I'm totally coming across as pushy mummy from hell! And I'm not, honestly!

I think I am mostly worried that she will be rejected by her peers. Why that should be, I don't know.
I get the impression they are all zipping along being all grown up, talking about Hannah Montana and skinny jeans and the latest this-that-and-the-other. ANd she is content watching cbeebies with her sister and wearing a (today, at least) vampire dress. She is unique, she is totally her own person and she is funny and the happiest kid I know. I have a fear that others will reject her for being different.

I think that's the nub of it. Fear that she will be rejected and she will be sad because of it.

foxinsocks Sat 31-Oct-09 22:39:23

there's nothing abnormal about worrying whether your child will be happy or not

thing is, she is happy. And at the moment, that's all you need to worry about. The minute she isn't happy, then you can step in and help. But she's happy being mini beatrix and if she's anything like a normal away with the fairies child, she's not bothered about fitting in and will do her own thing.

I'm pretty sure fitting in isn't all it's made out to be you know

mimsum Sat 31-Oct-09 22:40:51

you know, 6 may well seem very old at the moment, especially as you have a younger dd, but when your littlest is 6 you'll probably realise how very, very young she is

My middle child is away with the fairies a lot and was very slow to learn to ride his bike, swim etc and the thought of him trying to ski down even the smallest slope makes me wince, but on the whole he's very happy. He has absolutely zero competitiveness, and when he feels he's being forced into a competitive situation he just switches off and gets even more vague. He also doesn't care that other people do things faster or better than he does. He likes riding his bike now (but he was nearly 7 before it clicked) he likes swimming but would rather be eaten by crocodiles than race anyone and he likes playing cricket, but will never be picked for the A team (or even B or C ...). He does those things simply because he enjoys them at the level he does them at.

It's taken a big shift of attitude from dh and me as we're both high achievers and ds1 and dd are both competitive kids who are naturally good at virtually everything they turn their hands to. At one point my mum kept on at me saying we needed to find something that ds2 could excel at - but I don't think he'll ever excel at anything in particular - he'll do some things quite well, other things less well and hopefully he'll enjoy most of what he does.

I would really take the pressure off your very little dd and let her be herself

TheFallenMadonna Sat 31-Oct-09 22:41:32

You can't make her the same as everyone else. I do know exactly waht you mean now. I was a loner,and I really, really don't want my children to go through the adolescence I did, but they are who they are. DS will I think always be a bit odd. I love him and he is just fab, but he is not as other children. I work with him on strategies for social stuff, but the very fact that I have to do that...

You can't change them. Only help them embrace their inner nerd (in DS's case - no slur on your DD grin)

mimsum Sat 31-Oct-09 22:44:11

just to add, ds2 is very popular and has the widest group of friends of all my dc - he's not at all streetwise, or hip or cool, but he's very much his own person which his friends seem to respond to and respect (they're 9 btw)

I really wouldn't worry that your dd will be rejected ...

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