7 year old DD had panic attack over her school work/corrections
hutchblue · 21/02/2015 14:33
DD is at local state school around the corner. It is not a pushy school.
When we go over her homework before it goes back in (she gets one piece a week), she often will burst into tears and get very upset if anything is wrong and I help her correct her work.
Today and yesterday as she has been struggling with punctuation, I found an extra work sheet online for her to have a practice on. As we were going through it and found a few missing full-stops and so on, she started to get very upset and her breathing went all funny. Tears pouring down her cheeks.
This has happened once or twice before last term with just normal homework but it seemed much worse this time. They mentioned in school when she couldn't work out a fraction the other day, she started to 'hold her breath'. It's not related just to homework - it happens when she gets anything wrong, even just stuff in conversation occasionally. It's been going on for a long time.
I've told her many times that getting things wrong is fine and I don't expect her to get things right all the time and she's only 6 and not to worry. I tell her many stories of things I've got wrong and said it's the way we learn. And I've tried telling her too that people that get things right all the time can be a bit scary and it's nice to get things wrong at times.
But no matter how many times I say these things, it has no impact at all. The reaction comes from deep within I feel.
I don't know how we are going to keep going with school work and getting things wrong - as everyone gets things wrong all the time - it's natural!
Things seem to be getting worse. I don't know what to do.
Lonecatwithkitten · 21/02/2015 15:32
I would back off from checking her homework and praise her for the effort she puts into just doing it.
I have never ever corrected through DD's homework as I see it as counter productive as the teacher would not be seeing a true reflection of her ability and understanding.
I look at homework and praise the effort that has gone into it.
hutchblue · 21/02/2015 17:21
Yes you're probably right Lonecat.
I've been pushed my whole life so it's hard habit to give it up.
I will back off and see how things go without my input.
It can't do any harm for a bit and may well help.
Thanks for your input.
MaudeLebowski · 23/02/2015 02:37
Poor mite, the pressure is obviously too much for her.
I'd be doing the bare minimum at home and instead focusing on creative arts/play until her confidence is better.
couchparsnip · 06/03/2015 10:50
My 8 year old DS gets really upset about getting things wrong. He will almost burst into tears if he makes even a tiny mistake. This is despite teachers and us telling him we learn through mistakes and getting things wrong is normal.
At a recent parents evening we discussed it and the teacher suggested giving him activities where you have to use trial and error to reach a solution - meaning that making mistakes is part of the process. She gave us easy sudoku-type puzzles and other logic puzzles to have a go at which he did enjoy doing.
She also recommended that we teach by example. Let him see us fail at things and say 'Oh well, at least I tried', 'Nobody's perfect' and that sort of thing.
It sounded like very good advice to me so I hope it helps you too!
hutchblue · 07/03/2015 18:22
Thanks Couchparsnip. It's nice to know we are not alone. We will try sudoku and similar things and see if that would help.
I've told my DD many times of the things I've got wrong and failed and said I still make constant mistakes despite being ancient!
I notice it's not just in relation to school work though. It touches on areas of life. It doesn't happen all the time either, it seems it's related in her being really tired. I've never seen it happen during holidays for instance when she's well rested.
I notice too that if I give attention to it and ask her 'what's wrong are you OK?' it instantly escalates and that's when she seems to lose it. I think if she was just allowed to be alone and have a little cry she'd be OK quite quickly.
The teacher said take her to the GP, but what could a GP do? Do they offer some sort of CBT type stuff for children on the NHS? I just know budgets are being cut everywhere - I doubt this sort of thing is available.
SirVixofVixHall · 07/03/2015 18:30
My dd, also 7 is very similar. A perfectionist by nature, she has ,since absolutely tiny, got into a panic-type state over things she thinks aren't good enough. She sat in front of a computer in school the other day for a whole lesson, getting increasingly stressed, as she couldn't think of what to say (she'd been asked to write helpful things that she does, and being quite hard on herself, and honest, couldn't think of any). Teacher kept her in at playtime to finish it and she got very upset. She didn't explain to the teacher what the problem was, as she gets so wound up that she finds it even more upsetting to open up and talk about it. We have to wait until she is calm and the moment is long past, to get her to open up about tricky things, and even then it can take months, or in one or two cases, years! She is an intense character. We do try and focus on perfection not being the point, keeping trying even when things go awry is the point, but she isn't buying it, so i sympathise.
hutchblue · 07/03/2015 21:33
Sounds like a similar mind-set. Poor love to be kept in to finish it. My DD would have got into a similar state.
All I can say is that if they are going through the 'perfection' stage now, I hope by the time they reach adult hood they will have realised that it's a pointless exercise and perhaps be way ahead of their peers (and me!) on this front :)
Searching for silver linings and all that...... I am a recovering perfectionist.
Mummyinamask · 07/03/2015 21:46
There are a couple of books you might want to look out - one about how the brain 'grows' (learns) when we make mistakes and another about how a mistake can be turned into something creative - 'my fantastic elastic brain' and 'beautiful oops' - might help you reframe mistakes as something useful?!
I'm sure I read about a girls school teaching how important failure is because so many pupils were demanding 100% accuracy from themselves all the time - and that brings real problems when they do encounter failure - as we all must.
itsveryyou · 07/03/2015 21:53
I'd be tempted to back off homework altogether for a while and let your DD use the time to be creative, make something, read a book, do something 'educational' but fun which will give her confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Then reintroduce the homework when she's more settled.
SirVixofVixHall · 07/03/2015 23:03
My super brainy Dad, put up two years at school (with a July birthday) and still finding it easy, didn't really face failure at all until medical school and it crushed his confidence and led to him leaving and trying another course. So I am aware that I need to help my dds get to grips with tenacity as opposed to flawless success, but I am struggling to get the message across. Maybe because it is something I also struggle with. My DH is much more of a human terrier thank goodness. He never expects to be excellent at anything from the off, he expects to work at it and get better.
I am going to buy the books suggested, they sound perfect (for want of a better word!!)
neolara · 07/03/2015 23:16
Sounds like you've already got a really good approach. I would also look at mindsets by Carole Dweck. I would never praise her for outcome (E. G. No "Well done, you got it all right / finished so quickly") or tell her she's smart. Instead, would praise only for effort or use of particular strategies. I'd be continuing with the message that if she isn't making mistakes, she isn't learning- she's just going over stuff she already knows. Continue talking about how learning is meant to be hard. If my kids tell me they've got everything right, I tell them it's dreadful because they aren't stretching themselves and they need to ask their teacher for harder work. I'm pretty sure they don't, but I hope it gives them the message that mistakes are a sign that good learning is going on.
hutchblue · 08/03/2015 15:03
Wow, some amazing advice here from you wonderful Mums. Thank you so much for all the recommendations. Just went on Amazon and filled my basket! And had a look at Carole Dweck. Looks like I've been doing it all wrong! I've been praising effort a lot more recently and saying I'm just thrilled she's having a go but I'm going to look into this a lot more now.
Thanks again :)
SirVixofVixHall · 08/03/2015 16:52
I'm off to check out Carol Deck too. It is something unexpected ( for me anyway) about motherhood, that in sorting out things my daughters are struggling with, I'm given me an insight into myself and my own history. I found my dad's old journals from his time at medical school and they make very painful reading. he talks of the shock of being "one of the herd" and is very hard on himself in every way. Makes me cry just writing it actually. I have two super bright dds but they very much hate to be less than perfect at anything. I can see it doesn't make for a happy life! Or a truly productive one, as there is no room for experimentation.
Lonecatwithkitten · 08/03/2015 17:06
SirVix I once attended a talk given by the head of a super selective all girls school who spoke of how important it is that really bright girls are taught how to fail. Following on from that they learn better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.
SirVixofVixHall · 08/03/2015 18:47
That is interesting lonecat. I am going to think long and hard about how and why I praise my daughters, and about teaching them to be unafraid of failing . -sorry all for the strangely misplaced "me". I changed the text slightly to make it clearer and then left that odd "me " in the middle of it. Doh.
hutchblue · 08/03/2015 19:42
Yes I also saw that Failing Workshop Day in the papers couple of years ago - I know the school well!! Too well you might say!
I grew up being praised for results, not for effort. That's all I've known. It's a habit of a life-time but I too am changing it. I get mixed up sometimes and can't work out what to say.
But well, it's a work in progress. I am not perfect myself :) and it's cool. Finally. Only took me until I was 40 to start to get used to the idea and stop chasing a never-realisable dream.
Hoping for my DD it's going to be a much better journey and so great the internet exists so we can all help each other :)
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