Why does my child give up on everything? - FamilyEducation
Why does my child give up on everything?
03/24/2008 at 22:50 PM

My wife and I have two girls, ages 7 and 3.  Our 7 year-old seems to get very impatient when learning something new and she always gives up. 

She seems to be doing just fine at school or when learning from other adults.  However, when her Mom or I try to teach her something, she gets very impatient, curls up into a ball/runs away, and reverts to younger childhood behaviors (whining, baby talk, etc.).  This behavior always presents itself at the first sign of adversity.

Activites like reading, playing catch, practicing piano (she's in lessons), learning to ride a bike without training wheels, usually end very quickly.

I consider myself and my wife to be supportive, encouraging parents who show our kids nothing but love.  We  give them constant attention...my wife stays home and I work family-friendly hours.  I don't feel like we pressure our kids to do anything, but obviously she's feeling some sort of pressure from us.  Like I said, she seems fine when learning from other adults.

This type of behavior isn't new, she's been this way from the beginning.  Her younger sister, on the other hand, shows a real willingness to learn and is okay with making mistakes.

I keep trying to find simple exercises where she can get the basics of what we're doing...rolling a ball back and forth, for instance.  It just seems like she takes a step backward every time we try something new...even though we use nothing but encouraging words.

I know this is a common problem and I'm probably missing something simple.  Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Some kids perceive a lot of pressure for perfection when they are involved with their parents.  My first-born was this way, none of the other 5 was, and I really don't think that I changed a lot as a parent between those first two kids.  Since she can learn from other adults, I would just make sure that anything important she can learn in a setting away from home. 

   As far as shared activities, how about non-competitive bird watching, whale watching, museum-going, video making, reading Winnie-the-Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner, finger-painting, gardening.  Let her join you in the activity and leave the activity of her own volition.  You don't have to wait for her to start with you, you don't have to quit when she does.