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Preteens

8 year old DD - how to encourage her to 'have a go'

1 reply

Limelight · 21/07/2019 13:47

So I've been thinking a lot about my 8yo DD in the past couple of weeks. In some ways she is a textbook extrovert - has no real problems making and keeping friends, is very chatty and interested, great with adults, fun to be around etc. But she is also pretty cautious and generally very happy not to be noticed for the things she does or likes etc. I can't remember a single time that she's appeared to be really proud of something she's achieved (we tell her we're proud of her all the time, but it doesn't come from her).

None of this is a problem of course, I'm just aware that it's become something we've just accepted about her. It comes through in various aspects of her life. Her school reports always describe her as very middle of the road academically yet she doesn't appear to me to be less able than my DS was at a similar age (what do I know, of course). She will never be the child to put her hand up in class and when I've asked her about this, she says it's because she might get it wrong. At swimming, she is still in the lowest group with much younger children because when it comes to it, she pulls back from doing things she needs to move forward despite probably being able to do them. She has a beautiful singing voice and will sing for me at home if I play the piano, but will not join the choir at school. She has lovely friends but is very happy in (and in fact appears to seek out) relationships where she can follow and not make decisions.

She was a very independent and strong willed toddler interestingly but this seems to have disappeared as she's got older. It sounds weird, but she broke her leg quite badly when she was 3 and it did appear to have an impact on her confidence - just at the point her friends were at peak running around madly, she was on crutches.

I don't want to give them impression that I'm pushy or want her to be top of the class or brilliant at everything by default, that's really not the case. But I'm worrying a little that although a really happy kid, her confidence is low and she's started to accept that lots of her peers are 'better than her at things' (this is something she says to me a lot, not because she's upset but as a matter of fact). I want the best for her, and want her to feel that too I suppose.

Any advice? Or am I over thinking this?

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SpuriouserAndSpuriouser · 21/07/2019 14:20

It could be low self esteem, but it sounds a little bit like she also has a fixed rather than a growth mindset. It sounds a little bit woo, but it basically comes down to the difference between believing that your abilities are innate and you are either good at something or not, or recognising that by working hard you can improve at things. If you have a google there’s a better explanation than I could give, and lots of advice about how to help children to develop a growth mindset. My understanding is that a lot of it comes down to shifting the emphasis from attainment to effort, so really praising the time and effort she puts into things rather than the achievement itself.

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