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Are you ever disappointed with who your children are?

(75 Posts)
Angloamerican Tue 18-Jun-13 20:21:34

This is a very difficult post to write, so bear with me. I am having a tough time at the moment, in particular with my 5 year old DD. Today it came to a head and I made a spectacular mess of things.

We went to a local "sports sampler" camp at our local rec center. Forty-five minutes a week, a different sport each time. Emphasis is on fun - solely - no competitiveness whatsoever. I thought it'd be fantastic - my DD is a very active child, loves the playground, bike rides, gym class, and frankly we need some outlet for her seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy.

She walked in, sat down in the corner of the room and refused to join in. Cried when anyone tried to jolly her into the group. I tried gentle cajoling ("I'm right here", etc) to no avail. We talked briefly about how important is was to try new things, even if they made us a little scared at first, and how we never know if we'll enjoy something until we try. And I told her repeatedly that it doesn't matter if she doesn't do well (in response to her "I can't do it!" the only thing that matters that she tries. If she tries and hates it, we will never play that sport again, etc. Still refuses to stand up, let alone join in.

To my shame, I lost my temper and basically dragged her out of the room by her arm, told her if she didn't get in and join in we would go straight home and she would stay in her room the rest of the day. Obviously not my finest moment. Needless to say, we left. (In case you're wondering why my reaction was so extreme - it's not the first time that she has refused to join in a group sport setting, and this time was the final straw).

On the way home I really let her have it. I told her how disappointing she was to me, because she didn't even try. I know that this is a terrible thing to say, but in my dark moments, that really is how I feel. I look at my daughter and sometimes I struggle to see that she is kind and loving and very outgoing (people often comment on how social she is, she's very much a "leader" in many ways) and all I see is a stubborn, lazy child. I know that's not fair to her. When I was a child I would have killed for the opportunities she has (such as the sport sampler camp) and it drives me insane that she just turns her nose up at it.

I know the problem is primarily me, but I am really struggling to deal with these feelings. The early part of my life was something of a struggle and I was constantly "out of my comfort zone", and I just had to get on with it. I sometimes wonder if this is why I am so irritated by her refusal to do anything that causes even a modicum of discomfort.

Graceparkhill Tue 18-Jun-13 20:29:06

Can I ask why it is so important to you that she does the sports camp? If it is meant to be for her benefit and she doesn't want to then why not just leave it at that?

Januarymadness Tue 18-Jun-13 20:33:20

She is 5. She doesn't know who she is yet so how can you. Is it possible that you actually just want it to be you who had those opportunities and you actually want her to be you?

expatinscotland Tue 18-Jun-13 20:35:01

I can't be disappointed in my eldest anymore. Or anything other than sad. She died of complications from cancer treatment nearly a year ago, age 9.

Get a grip!

burberryqueen Tue 18-Jun-13 20:37:52

maybe she is just not into team sport things - i know my son hated football, used his cub scarf as a gangster mask and then refused to go to cubs at all ('candy arsed monkey suits') - afraid we just have to go with what they are like and what they like doing eventually.

WhereMyMilk Tue 18-Jun-13 20:38:27

I'm never disappointed by who my children are TBH-they are lovely little people.

Saying that I am sometimes disappointed in their behaviour eg fighting with each other and would then say so.

I understand that you obviously want your DD to have the best opportunities, but if she chooses not to do them then you are projecting onto her. TBH your DD is very young still to do stuff like that. My DD still struggles at 8, but that is who she is. She has recently started to join things-but they are at her instigation.

DS just isn't interested in organised stuff at all. I offer, he says no! There is no reason for me to push him into doing things he doesn't fancy as he will get no enjoyment from them and that is key IMO

If I were you I'd talk to her. Apologise for losing your temper and for what you said. Ask if SHE wants to go again to try. Listen if she says no and don't force her. There is plenty of time for her to do things when she finds what she's interested in.

Angloamerican Tue 18-Jun-13 20:38:45

Thanks for your responses - graceparkhill As much as my daughter has a lot of energy, she is also prone to laziness, for a want of a better word. I have been concerned lately that she has been too eager to put the TV on (even if given the choice to go to the park she would say "Can I watch TV?" too often for my liking.) I think it's vital that she is active, and I think that the team environment has so many benefits to impart. I also think that it's good for kids to do something that is out of their comfort zones, it teaches them to overcome their "fears" as such. Kind of "feel the fear but do it anyway".

januarymadness Yes, I wonder how much of my feelings about my (lack of) opportunities in childhood are feeding into my anger about my DD's behaviour. Sometimes I just think "I'd have LOVED this! How are you not even arsed enough to give it a try?

Dorange Tue 18-Jun-13 20:39:10

your poor daughter.
yes, the problem is you.
get help.

SpooMoo Tue 18-Jun-13 20:39:41

How is she at socialising generally? Maybe there were competitive events at school/preschool/nursery which have given her legitimate reason to dislike this kind of participation.

In any case, five years old seems very young to be deciding this is her personality for life and that she "never" tries - she's still new to everything. Write this one off and try again in another context, don't make her aware of your pressure or anxiety.

Angloamerican Tue 18-Jun-13 20:41:34

expat I'm really sorry to hear that. I too have lost a child, so I have some understanding of how you must be feeling. Unfortunately my "be grateful for your healthy children" mantra doesn't always help me, iykwim?

gamerchick Tue 18-Jun-13 20:43:18

She's 5? Jesus sad

SpooMoo Tue 18-Jun-13 20:43:21

Cross posted. feel the fear but do it anyway" is the wrong attitude to have with a 5yo. A 10yo maybe! But at 5 she needs to feel listened to and secure, not pressured into doing things she doesn't want to, that's a bad lesson for her about the world.

carlywurly Tue 18-Jun-13 20:44:54

Oh blimey, your poor dd. I think you really need to explore why you over reacted so massively. She will need lots of reassurance now or you're laying foundations for some future issues.

She's 5, that's no age. My ds is 5. I don't push him to do anything, it should be all about play and fun at that age outside school, not stress and dramas.

I'd give up on the camp and next year she may be completely different.

And expat, so sorry. hmm

Angloamerican Tue 18-Jun-13 20:45:56

Yes, I do wonder if I am unreasonable in my expectations of what a 5 year old should be capable of. Since my DS was born, she suddenly seemed so much "older". Perhaps I need to add "she's only 5" to my longer-by-the-day mantras.

Moomoomie Tue 18-Jun-13 20:46:14

For goodness sake, she is 5 years old. I expect she is in Reception at school? She is probably exhausted and justs wants time to relax.
Be careful what you say to her now, it is all remembered and will come back and haunt you in years to come.
By the way, I love my three girls unconditionally.

megmagmog Tue 18-Jun-13 20:46:57

Instead of imposing your own expectations, try to see her more as an individual, and put your energy into seeking out what her strengths/interests actually are - you might get a surprise! Relax, she's five. If you're like this now, how will your relationship with DD be when she's 15?

ShadeofViolet Tue 18-Jun-13 20:48:16

I wonder if your DD feels disappointed in you.

runningonwillpower Tue 18-Jun-13 20:49:33

Your child is an individual. Please don't try to quash that or mould that to suit some pre-set notion of your own.

You think it's good for her to be out of her comfort zone? She 6 for goodness sake. Teaching her to overcome her fears? Be very careful, you may just be reinforcing them.

Listen to your daughter. Enjoy her for who she is and please don't go trying to shape her according to some arbitrary ideal.

carlywurly Tue 18-Jun-13 20:49:50

The words you choose bother me. It sounds as though there are some anger and control issues going on. All 5 yr olds ask to watch tv, it's pretty normal behaviour ime rather than indicative of laziness.

Please don't give a 5 year old hang ups. She isn't a replica you, she may not want the same opportunities you sound so bitter at missing out on. Let her find her own way.

num3onway Tue 18-Jun-13 20:50:34

My ds would probably go very shy put in this situation, he is 5. You shouldn't be so hard on her. Are you sure she even likes sports or does she want to please you?
I've looked at leaflets for sports things this week. They say age 4+. But I have decided my 4 and 5 year olds are too young IMO.

dianettey Tue 18-Jun-13 20:51:29

You're going to create a huge amount of anxiety around this for her, probably forever. Stop it.

Laying into her in the car. Awful, awful, awful.

Do you do any sport? I suggest you take one up ASAP.

Then let your daughter be active and sociable in a way that suits her. As a totally different and independent being from you.

Notsoyummymummy1 Tue 18-Jun-13 20:52:25

I'm sorry but your behaviour was disgraceful - you should be disappointed in yourself not her - poor little thing shock

Viviennemary Tue 18-Jun-13 20:52:52

She is only five so I'd just forget all about today. Kids can be really annoying at times but you did take this much too seriously. Just put it down that your DD had an off day and don't give it another thought.

MatersMate Tue 18-Jun-13 20:53:04

Yes, Anglo chill out honestly.

They are still so little (my DS is 5) and he gets tired. Also, being pushed into something you so definitely don't want to do,can be worse than never having the opportunity.

Talk to her.

expatinscotland Tue 18-Jun-13 20:53:15

Unfortunately my "be grateful for your healthy children" mantra doesn't always help me, iykwim?

Then I don't know what will if you're this whacked out about a sports camp for a five-*year*-*old*, tbh, except some serious counselling for you.


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