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Old 10-05-2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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Its too hard

DS1 is closing in on being 5 years old. At least once a day, he uses the excuse that something is too hard or he's too tired to do something. It's morning, he was reading something from Cars 2. He was having trouble pronouncing Porta Coursa (or whatever it is). He asked for help saying it. I was saying the syllables one at a time for him to copy. He stopped halfway through, started crying, screamed that he can't do it because its too hard, and stormed off to his room. He never wants to ride his bicycle or try anything new; he always says he doesn't have enough "energy". I know it's not a fatigue thing; he's plenty energetic. He just absolutely hates doing anything wrong, to the point he doesn't like doing anything new. I constantly remind him, that learning new things is great, and when we're learning, we often make mistakes, and its no big deal. When he's calm, he repeats all these back to me like he gets it, but an hour later, he's freaking out again. Any tips for calming down the "mistake anxiety"?

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Old 10-05-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Its too hard

DS1 has a speech delay and does much better visually so when he gets frustrated with sounds we like to use foam alphabet letters to help him sound it out or even writing it on a piece of paper so he can see it along with hear it. Would that help?

DS1 definitely is a "I can't do it" kid, even when it is something he HAS done before so I totally get you there.

For the general anxiety, I think being calm and explaining it is okay to mess up is great. I know that I have to be careful and watch my tone and body language - which is tough to do with a 4 yr and 2 1/2 yr old who run me ragged but he totally picks up on it if I sound exasperated. I do the count backwards from ten or a few deep breaths before I start trying to calm him down.

The other thing I noticed, at least with my guy, is that I have really had to cut back on doing things for him that I know he has mastered, like putting on his shoes, just because we are in a time crunch and need to get on our way. If that happens too many times in a row, suddenly everything you ask him to do is "I don't know how" or "I just CAN'T".

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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Re: Its too hard

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Originally Posted by kai_e View Post
The other thing I noticed, at least with my guy, is that I have really had to cut back on doing things for him that I know he has mastered, like putting on his shoes, just because we are in a time crunch and need to get on our way. If that happens too many times in a row, suddenly everything you ask him to do is "I don't know how" or "I just CAN'T".
This part rings true for me. Maybe he needs you to back off in some areas and let him struggle through - alone. Let him rack up a few victories.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Re: Its too hard

My 4.5 year old is like this. We talk a lot about "not giving up". I reward and praise for the effort, not the accomplishment. We make a very big deal about the effort and yes, we are excited when a goal is reached but again, it is all about the effort. He should feel he IS doing something awesome just by trying his hardest.

Sometimes she will quit and get dramatic about it and I walk away from the situation and let her know that she is welcome to try again, I will be really proud of her for trying her best and I cant wait to see her try again. Usually she will come back to it on her own if she doesnt have an audience right there supervising.
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