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DS self-confidence plummets if I won't pay for his artwork

(6 Posts)
anna38anna Mon 08-Jun-15 17:54:40

Hi there,
I've just had DS(7) in tears because I didn't agree to buy his artwork (a Playdoh alien, today, nicely done) for real money. This is coming up regularly, and I'm worried that he only values his own work if we agree to pay money for it. He has an older and a younger sibling, no particular focus on art or on entrepreneurship more than in any house, I'd say. Occasionally in the past he's held an art exhibition for the family and sold pictures or models he's made himself, for 50p or so. Once, in the summer, we had a lemonade stand and sold traybakes too. He does have a strong entrepreneurial streak, but I try to teach him that some things can't be bought (yesterday he tried to sell his little sister the right to come into his room once daily, for £2! She was on her way to pay up when I intervened.)

How can I separate his sense of self-worth from the transaction he's trying to make here? I tried to admire his work, and take a picture of it to record it forever, but the tears flowed and I feel I did a bad job. I explained that this month my 'art budget' has already been used up (last week's art exhibition) and mentioned some other expenses like new shoes for him, and a trip we want to take. I feel that of our three children his self-confidence is the most delicate, and I'd badly like to help build it, not destroy it. Any thoughts?

RockinHippy Mon 08-Jun-15 17:57:52

Errmm, sorry but you are being taken for a sucker

Very bright boy you have there, he will go far grin

But you do need to reign him int a bit with family & yourself or you are making a huge rid for your own back

RockinHippy Mon 08-Jun-15 18:00:46

& to clarify, by reign him in, I mean he is the child & YOU are the adult, so you call the shots & say a big NO.

this has nothing to do with confidence building, but personal gain & attention seeking.

MiscellaneousAssortment Mon 08-Jun-15 18:11:35

I'd wait until he is calmer then explain that getting money is not the way to feel good, and that from now on you are not going to play any games where you pay real money to him. Then get him to suggest other ways people show they care and praise someone, and show they think the persons done a good job. Steer away from any transaction elements though maybe in the short term, you could wean him off by IOU's for hugs or attention like reading a book with him etc, But the whole idea of transaction doesn't feel right, so I'd be aiming to move away from his desire for an overt transaction - unless theres a rationale behind why he's behaving like that?

I don't think you can continue to play any game where you reward him with real money, as it sends the wrong message.

Thinking about it I'm uncomfortable with the transactional element as it reduces human interaction to a kind of consumption / capitalism! And it would be hard to then teach unconditional gestures of love and esteem in a construct where it's all about reducing something to it's monetary worth, or 'what can I get for it' type of thinking.

For due diligence, does he show any signs of other issues in understanding human behaviour? As then my advice would be different...

Littlef00t Mon 08-Jun-15 18:20:03

So he seeks validation from others, rather than being able to see his successes himself. You need to reduce your praise I think, there's something called unconditional parenting you could google?

anna38anna Mon 08-Jun-15 18:51:55

Thanks for your replies. Plummeting self-confidence was a bit dramatic, but he definitely does have an unhealthy relationship with money and compared to his siblings he lacks self-confidence and what he's feeling is hardest to read.

Miscellaneous, I'm not sure if he has any difficulty understanding human behaviour like you suggest. Can you give me some examples? Intellectually he's smart but he's not emotionally articulate like the other two, and in the past I've had concerns about him burying negative feelings which later erupt in bursts of anger. There are some tough personal circumstances too which may also come into play. I guess my gut feeling is that he's vulnerable so I don't want to mess this up - but definitely not pay for any more random exhibitions, fun though they were at the time.

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