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Excellent at arguing, can't lose games or cope with mistakes!

(30 Posts)
spaghettihoopsagain Sat 17-Dec-16 20:42:44

Does this sound like your child and if so, please tell me how you cope! Ds, year 3, is a challenge (not sure if gifted but he taught himself to read age 3, read Tolkien in reception, has spelling age off the scale, so over 13.5 yrs, constantly asks questions, studies everything for fun etc). If he gets something wrong, he marks his work as right (ticks over a dot or cross, angrily), he argues and argues attempting to get his own way - often to win a game (getting desperate last year he said "well today the winner is the loser and the loser is the winner"! - yer right!). He needs boundaries that people stick to - and we certainly do stick to them, clearly explaining the consequences - which we then enforce and he argues against them. Arrghhh. Any wisdom?

JustRichmal Sat 17-Dec-16 22:26:41

Phrases like, "excellent at arguing" and "taught himself to read", are give a away that you are valuing his preconscious nature. Try replacing the phrases with "needs to listen more to guidance" and "has picked up reading from the input of those around him". He needs to develop the humility to realise his success is due to the caring upbringing of those around him and those messages need to come from you.

HamletsSister Sat 17-Dec-16 22:32:40

Praise effort, not achievement.

Find him something to do with you that is hard and that you can fail at together (ice skating,playing guitar etc).

HamletsSister Sat 17-Dec-16 22:33:35

Sorry, and then model coping with getting things wrong.

Science is good too. Lots and lots of attempts and minor changes to get things right.

JustRichmal Sat 17-Dec-16 23:06:55

Should be "precocious^ not preconscious. (thank you auto correct)

Also, Carol Dweck has written a lot on mindsets and is worth a read. A label of clever can be a lot to live up to and he needs to know he will learn more by making mistakes than by getting everything right.

donquixotedelamancha Sun 18-Dec-16 00:52:50

Teacher here. Doesn't matter how clever he is, if he carries on this pattern he won't be successful.

Now in fairness many, many kids are brittle learners and struggle with failure; many grow out of it. Its no big deal at this age, but you need to break it:

- Firmly challenge poor sportsmanship as appropriate.
- Don't praise cleverness.
- Do praise special effort, kindness and mature behaviour.
- Explicitly teach the skills he's lacking (modeling coping is good suggestion).

HeddaGarbled Sun 18-Dec-16 01:00:10

I know it is completely wrong to do ill informed diagnosis over the internet but have you read up on Aspergers? Just in case.

Astro55 Sun 18-Dec-16 01:06:08

Just about to comment on high functioning aspergers!!!

Other things to look for - love of maths or patters - love of rules and fairness - difficult in group socializing - better one to one.

Need to plan - or over plan

Need to compete - all the time

Doesn't link one event to another (eg mean to friend over sweets on Friday - no idea why friend is upset on Monday)

Triggers - can be over emotional over small things - won't say what they need to to let it out

irvineoneohone Sun 18-Dec-16 10:55:51

My ds was like this, and he had hard time since started school. I'm quite surprised your ds is already in yr3, and hasn't dealt with it before.
my ds applies to a lot of what Astro55 says(we thought he maybe on spectrum, not diagnosed), but year after year, he seems to become more and more normal.

I think his personality/nature needs to be changed, otherwise he is going to have difficult future.(Of course unless he has SEN.)

Dragonbait Sun 18-Dec-16 11:05:07

Hi. Sorry to be blunt but if you look at the traits for gifted you'll see they virtually tally up with the traits for high functioning autism. Someone initially flagged up our dd as gifted but she is in fact autistic. It's hard to get those on the spectrum to cope with losing or being wrong but it is possible with lots of intervention. We have a running joke with dd that she's so lucky she has never been wrong in her entire life!

MiddlingMum Sun 18-Dec-16 19:15:24

You need to let him practice losing at games. All children need this, the idea that the child always wins is ridiculous.

He also needs to learn that it's ok to make mistakes. Make some yourself, shrug and say "oh well, it doesn't matter."

He will massively struggle in school if he doesn't learn these social skills. I have been playing games with a child on the autism spectrum recently and he's fine if he loses, although will occasionally ask to play a game again to see if he can win.

caroldecker Sun 18-Dec-16 19:34:00

AS someone mentioned, science is good as many errors. Also evolution only occurs because of mistakes.

schmack Sun 18-Dec-16 19:41:02

justrichmal can I just say your posts are some of the best and most intelligent I have seen on the subject on MN. I am surrounded by children at the DC school who, frankly, are insufferable, bragging, showoffs and it's not their fault of course. Their parents are constantly going on about how brilliant and amazing they are and how much better they are at X Y Z than their peers. I have noticed that in the most extreme cases, as they are getting older, there is now an increasing gap between their academic skills and their emotional and social intelligence, which is more and more lacking. Great advice from you.

schmack Sun 18-Dec-16 19:42:25

He needs to develop the humility to realise his success is due to the caring upbringing of those around him and those messages need to come from you.

I actually wish I could write this on every report card.

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Dec-16 19:44:59

We play a lot of quick card games with DS (who is year 3 and has high-functioning autism). It seems to take some of the sting out of losing, because you're going to have another turn, and everybody wins a few and loses a few. We like Loot Letter, Uno, Minecraft card game, Exploding kittens.

We also play a lot of collaborative games, so that we are playing "against" the game as a team, rather than "against" each other. If he has good concentration to last about an hour, he may like Castle Panic and Forbidden Island. Whoowazit might be a bit too simple for him, but we enjoyed it a lot when DS was 6ish. Again, the team aspect makes any loss less intense, so he can build up tolerance for it.

IsItMeOr Sun 18-Dec-16 19:47:23

We also made it clear to DS that it is fine for us to stop playing a game at any point if he is finding it too difficult. We want him to learn to manage himself, and knowing when to step away is an important part of that.

ems137 Sun 18-Dec-16 20:24:18

My 9 y/o DD has always been terrible at losing games, I have tried all sorts of different approaches and it's not got any better tbh! She's very intelligent and creative but this desire to always be right holds her back, she refuses to try new tasks if she feels she won't be 100% at them

BdumBdummer Sun 18-Dec-16 20:58:18

Failing together is a good idea. Oct 19 is international fail day (or sometime around then. I even failed to get a thread going about it!

JustRichmal Mon 19-Dec-16 09:09:14

Schmack thank you for your feedback on my post.

senua Mon 19-Dec-16 11:10:32

Get him playing a team sport - he will get used to losing (graciously).
Rugby is good because there is a position for every player - big/small, fast/slow, attacking/defensive - and nowhere to hide. He will learn that the team is more important than the player and that you have to follow rules. Rugby places great emphasis on manners and behaviour.

MyschoolMyrules Mon 19-Dec-16 11:47:23

We often make the mistake as parents to praise a child for giving the correct answer, tell them they are so clever, he is a smart boy, etc etc but when they get to the point when they make a mistake, their own perception of themselves is that they are not clever enough. When they lose at at game they are not good enough, this is why for me the 'positive mindset' theory makes sense, it's about encouraging children based on effort, practice, not giving up, not being scared of challenges that are a bit hard (and that they might fail). It's about learning to cope with the mistakes as a learning experience. There are many books you can read on the subject, and many clips on YouTube. dH is a primary school teacher and uses it at school and we use it at home (with both our children - ds2 is G&T and used to be anxious about getting things wrong, now he is a lot better at trying even very challenging problems).

MyschoolMyrules Mon 19-Dec-16 12:19:53

It's also called ' growth mindset'.

spaghettihoopsagain Tue 27-Dec-16 21:34:19

Thanks for all the wisdom - all good to read so thank you for the frank and blunt comments! We're pretty sure he is not Aspergers or High functioning Autism as he has very few traits, - I have done a lot of research and have various friends who are teachers and they think not too. He is fine at losing games out of the house/very happy to lose at sport/very sociable/very happy to get things wrong when doing science etc. I think it is just family playing games which is the tricky one - and he is actually better than he was (hard to see improvement at times as feel fogged by daily struggles!). We've played lots of games these school hols and I think things are not quite a bad as I made out. We'll keep going!

Blipbip Mon 02-Jan-17 18:55:46

I posted something like this a couple of years ago and got a bit of a flaming for having a big headed, over confident, smarty pants on my hands.

I couldn't agree more that smart children need to learn humility and respect for skills other than being able to spell, argue and do mental arithmetic. It can be a delicate path to tread though as you want your child to keep the confidence that they have while understanding that they are not necessarily the best at everything. I'm still trying to get it right with DS.

Some of the good advice I did get was a link to this website. I have far fewer arguments with DS and he understands that rules don't always make sense but he still has to follow them.

ILoveDolly Mon 02-Jan-17 19:04:26

We try hard to do fun games together. My three are all extremely bright and the tears and tantrums we have! Horrendous, as they all expect to win. The oldest in particular can't handle not instantaneously being the best. So today we went bowling as a family where it was clear that having fun was the goal and an opportunity for adults to model gracious failure. We could all have fun sharing in successes and failures. As it was my youngest son beat my husband so it was a good for everyone confused. Dd1 did cry the first few go's as she realised she wouldn't be getting a strike but perseverance despite probable failure is a virtue......

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