Tuesday, April 21, 2009

illogical logic ...

So, once again we are having struggles with swim lessons. And by we, I mean Dizzle. After going underwater last week (and being quite excited to do so), she has had a huge backslide. She's resisting everything. Saying "I don't want to" before she even finds out what is being asked of her. Which makes me frustrated. Very frustrated. So frustrated that I am having a hard time staying patient with the whole process. And trust me, I understand that it is a process.

But with that said, I am finding it harder and harder to feel sympathetic for her. I know she can do everything she is resisting. I've seen it with my own two eyes. But for some reason, she is suddenly afraid to try. And so, the crying fits ensue. And I get angry. And I threaten. I threaten to leave class and never bring her back because she is doing nothing more than wasting my money. I threaten to throw her in the pool if she won't jump in herself. I threaten to withhold whatever it may be that she wants that day.

But it never works. And I know it will never work. She's too stubborn to let it and deep down she knows that I would never pull her out of the class (I want her to learn, no matter how much she resists). And she knows I wouldn't really just throw her in (although some days I REALLY want to). And even though she knows I will withhold the things she wants, she is smart enough to know that they are just things and she will survive without them.


Then once my anger passes and I rethink the situation, I usually end up presenting Dizzle with a plate full of logic. So much logic that it is spewing out of my ears. And that doesn't work either. You can't be logical with a three year old. And I know that. Instead, I keep finding myself running in circles with her.

"Dizzle, why won't you go under the water?"

"Because I'm scared."

"What are you scared of?"

"The water."

"But why are you scared of the water?"

"Because I don't like it."

"Why don't you like it?"

"Because I'm scared."

And that's what I hear, over and over again.

Eventually, I end it and present her with an ultimatum. I tell her how all I want is for her to try. To try to do her best to be brave and to try to not cry and to try everything that is asked of her, because no one is going to let her get hurt. I tell her she will be safe. And she yeses me to death. And for a moment I believe her.

Then for the rest of the day I do two things. First, I pray that she really understands that she will be OK and that the next day will be better. And second, I remind her non-stop of "the plan" (my plan) for the next lesson. It's all really quite annoying for both me and her. I feel like such a nag. And honestly, I don't think it really works. Or even works a little, for that matter.

I'm beginning to believe that I am putting too much pressure on her, maybe I'm causing her to freak out. That I'm making it all such a big deal that she can't handle it. I know I expect a lot from her. I think all parents do of their first born. In fact, several times a day I catch myself expecting too much. Forgetting that she's only three. And it eats me up.

I have to believe there has got to be a way to parent, motivate and encourage at the same time. And there has got to be a way to do it without feeling like you are diminishing your child and their spirit. I know Dizzle doesn't want to hear me tell her the same thing over and over again. Especially when it's about something I'm not happy about. But everyday I fall into that trap.

I guess all I can do is try to do my best everyday and trust that my kids are doing the same.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, T. This is what I have done for almost 4 years and M's awful eating habits. She never tried anything new and never wanted to eat anything healthy. Every single meal was stressful, ending in bribery or a fight. We were getting nowhere. Then I started something new 2 weeks ago. Ignoring it. Here is my suggestion...take her to class amnd let her do whatever she wants. If she wants to sit on the side that is fine. Make no big deal about anything. As soon as she stops getting attention for her bad behavior she will concentrate on what she can do to get attentiion. From her swin teacher! Give it.a try

gba_gf said...

R's right. And if you can't (because I KNOW how hard it is to ignore it), just leave the pool area. Take K for a walk, or something.