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Low confidence in 5 year old, What do I do?

(14 Posts)
HadMyTwo Tue 07-Jul-09 12:31:03

Hi, I have just come back from my reception year DD's sports day where she was (apparently) the only one in tears because she did not want to take part in any of the activities.
I am the mother who sits in the Karate class so DD can do it without crying. The mother who had DD clinging to her knee while at friends' birthday parties.
She really does not like new situations and finds it hard to make friends.
Are there more out there like me and what do you do ?
I am thinking of reading up child psychology (but all my pshchological ploys do not work )
She kleeps asking me 'Am I being a good girl'. I do not shout, scold her overtly and don't ask her to be a good girl constantly. I have told her that she is always a good girl and she does not even need to ask. She has this insatiable desire to please and be miss goody, fgs I want her to be naughty.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 07-Jul-09 12:40:46

Message withdrawn

Angstisme Tue 07-Jul-09 13:33:47

"good girl" has got to go, I remember seeing something on an USA TV show about the damage caused by parents saying "you're so clever", rewarding the effort is the way to go and that's what we do with our children.
Next she says am i a good girl instead of saying yes maybe draw her attention to her good qualities and praise them individually.
My eldest will tell you she is a great artist, middle one is a fantastic singer, they all know their strengths rather than being "good" iyswim ?

navelgazer Tue 07-Jul-09 13:51:20

Yes DD is like this, she's like a barnacle when it comes to social occasions with lots of people where she may be being watched. She's so self conscious.

I would also love to hear that she has been naughty at school just once!

I never emphasise being a good girl but she still gets overly upset if I remonstrate with her even if I do it mildly (as I have learnt to do over the years). I am sometimes aware that others think I am mollycoddling her but this is so far from the truth. I have tried to jolly her out of it, toughen her up, at times been annoyed and frustrated with her but it doesn't make any difference. This is how she feels and my being dismissive about those feelings doesn't make any difference to her basic reactions.

I have accepted the way she is to a certain extent mainly because I can see that overall she is gaining in confidence albeit slower than others (at one stage I had thought she might have selective mutism). Although it may be 'better like this than the other' maybe when it comes to school and following the rules, it worries me that she never stands up for herself.

We have practised a bit of role play, what to say next time etc e.g when something has really upset her in the past. Also I make sure she gets to mix with others as much as possible in all types of occasions. I give her constructive praise.

Am interested to see if anyone has anything to say about increasing confidence in children at this age.

HadMyTwo Tue 07-Jul-09 21:06:38

Thanks for the feedback all.

hmmm, I have always wondered what mollycoddling means. She has been an only child for 4 years so I did give her all my attention after I returned from work. She was in the nursery full time since she was a baby but very well adjusted there. She is very well adjusted at school as well, but like NG's DD, never naughty and always getting stickers for sitting nicely etc. She has a best friend and other friends as well. It's the new things and standing out that she does not like.

I was late for the races in the later part of the day due to rain, but apparently that went well and she came second.

I must admit that Karate is something we initiated so that she can gain self-confidence and to give her protection against being bullied. She did not like it to start with but is getting to like it now as she gains belts.

Angstisme, I do do the same things as you said, i.e. remind her about her good qualities.

Mostly though as Navelgazer, I have given up on trying to toughen her as it just aggravates the situation.

navelgazer Wed 08-Jul-09 09:38:58

There is a book called the Highly Sensitive Child which isn't that good on practical tips but is useful in that it discusses sensitivity as a trait rather than a result of 'mollycoddling'.

Acinonyx Wed 08-Jul-09 10:08:04

My dd (4) is a lot like this. She's never naughty but can be very stubborn. Very hard to discipline her as even mild rebukes can be a major trauma. Another barnacle in social and/or new situations.

She is best in very small groups or with one other child. The combination of a new setting and new faces is totally overwhelming. She says she really wants to do alsorts of things but can't peel herself away.

I've also been thinking of self-defense for the same reasons. She's also crazy keen on ballet but can't join in with a class. Just had her prised off me screaming at her settling in session for school sad

navelgazer Wed 08-Jul-09 10:38:41

Oh Acinonyx, it will get better once she starts school!

I find that in new situations when DD is behaving like this I am actually often tougher on her because I imagine people are thinking I've overindulged her (which is not the case).

''She's never naughty but can be very stubborn.'' This is my DD EXACTLY.

FernieB Wed 08-Jul-09 10:59:31

My DD was always very sensitive. She never took part in sports day, would not go a partys unless I stayed and would not go to play at another persons house. I just went along with it and did not make a fuss. It got worse before it got better actually. The last year has been quite difficult but she has just come back from 3 days away with her class and loved it and has since had a playdate at a friends house (she is now 9). She is currently practising to sing a solo in a talent show in Friday. I would say go with it and relax about it. Some kids are just more sensitive than others.

Incidentally, Acinonyx - when mine started school, there were quite a few screamers who wouldn't leave Mum. I always found the best thing to do was to deposit my child quickly and leave fast - they're usually fine when you've gone. Also these kids settled relatively quickly, but there were a few who seemed to gallop into school full of confidence and then had major wobbles after a couple of weeks and became screamers.

dingdongbells Wed 08-Jul-09 11:08:16

Had my Two, you could be talking about my DD. Everything you say is familiar.

Navelgazer, DD was referred (not my suggestion) for possible selective mutism last year, but after an excellent chat to the consultant we just carried on trying to give her confidence at home.

She is now 5 and much improved, though she will never be an extrovert. She has now taken part in school plays (non speaking), small ballet shows and last week went up in front of the whole school to collect a prize - that was a major first! She was so proud of herself when she had done it. The school have been very supportive and her friends are very accepting of her.

She is very happy playing on her own, do you find this too?

New or noisy places and people are difficult, even meeting her friends in unfamiliar situations. I have started saying to her that she has to say hello and thankyou to people, as I think I do answer for her. She does find this hard, but my view, rightly or wrongly is that if I let her always be quiet and never have to talk then she never will.

It gives me reassurance that some of the most well balanced and successful people I know were terribly shy/ate meals behind the sofa if guests were there/didn't talk to strangers at all.

Does everyone else find it hard with people assuming your child is rude?

Acinonyx Wed 08-Jul-09 13:55:27

dingdong - that can be hard. I'm also trying to insist on hello/goodbye as a minimum. My heart sinks sometimes when people/dc try to be friendly and she just looks away - or worse...

HadMyTwo Wed 08-Jul-09 15:13:47

FernieB, that's great news. Hope the talent show goes well . So I think all we can do is keep giving positive feedback and hope for best.
Mine goes to ballet as well, which she likes and had to participate in a big show this term. I had to of course stay with her back stage though I had the tickets to go and see the show.
I am usually saying to her " what do we say" when someone praises or compliment her. Sometimes a thank you comes out, some times not. I end up saying it for her. I know it is not rudeness but other people don't.
Got her to go up to the coffee shop at the gym to buy her own crisps, she was very proud afterwards

TamTam29 Thu 09-Jul-09 20:46:15

Firstly - we are all different and sometimes that is just how we are, however i understand your worries and why you ar e concerned.

Im a teacher & mum and agree with the "mollycoddling" thing - it is so hard when they are little to not do everything for them but by doing some things for themselves they gain vital life skills.

I think from my own experiences the best way for a child to develop confidence is through self-satisfaction & personal achievement. I dont think being told verbally always works (how many times have others told you that you look great but all you see is the opposite??)

This doesnt need to be a big thing at your DD age, just little tasks that help to develop her independence. Things like choosing own clothes & dressing herself, making you both lunch (im not suggesting 3 course meal - sandwich would do! lol), climbing up the older kids frame in the park/jumping down. Bringing in the biscuits when you have guests in the house ,sorry - thats all i can think of right now!

Also the role play & karate are good as they will give DD a sense of control and a method of coping & dealing with difficult situations (even though i doubt she would ever Karate kick someone, just knowing that she can can be enough)- and therefore making her more confident in social situations.

However, i dont see anything wrong with what you are doing so far and I am sure as DD matures and grows so to will her confidence and at the very least, her coping strategies.

I can reccommend "Raising girls" by sharron biddulph, easy to dip into & easy to read
if you are still wanting to read up.

piprabbit Thu 09-Jul-09 21:08:53

Does your DD ever see you trying to do something, struggling, failing, trying again and eventually learning to get it right? I suspect my DD sometimes thought that everyone else could magically get everything right 100% and that if she couldn't she'd rather not try at all. Perhaps you can find some situations where she can see you struggling and coping and saying 'oops - I better try that again', so she can see that it's not the end of the world?

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