Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bird on a Wire

I am so frustrated.  And I do not know what to do.  My abilities as a parent are 100% failing me.  And I feel like a bird on a wire.  I am precariously perched on a small ledge and if I shift too far one way or the other, the fall has the potential of devastating consequences.  However, I am attempting to remain stalwart and strong, albeit ready to take flight.

Ari has tried many activities....T-ball, tennis, tae kwan do, swimming, and now Brownies.  T-ball was a nightmare.  And is when we discovered activities that has her focusing more on individuality rather than a full team is better for her psyche.  She can do team approach somewhat, however the counselor warned that she feels responsible for a loss if she feels she made the slightest mistake.  Okay, no "team" sports.  She tried tae kwan do over the summer the other year and was excellent at it.  J signed her up for the remainder of the year and quite frankly, ended up pushing her too hard and she stopped wanting to go.  Talk of tournaments and a rigorous 3 times a week schedule was too much for her.  Tennis was a 6 week program at school.  She made it two weeks.  Swimming is the only thing that has stuck for her and she is quite good.  It challenges her  and yet allows her to interact with other kids at the same level.

And then she wanted to join Brownies this year.  She was so excited, couldn't wait to get her sash and earn badges.  And here we are, the second week in a row, that she doesn't want to go.  She states she has no fun at Brownies and the meetings are too long.  I let her skip last week as many of the girls do not attend each and every meeting.  However, the December and January meetings were canceled due to weather.  She's sold the cookies and had fun.  But she says she's done now.  So, in a fit of anger, I told her if she didn't go today (touring the fire dept at which she's been too before) then after she gets her cookies, she's done.  It's not fair to the other participants if she isn't willing to give her best towards it.

I'm on the fence about forcing my children to attend something they signed up for.  Part of me dictates that if you sign up for something you follow it through.  The other part of me knows how she is and that it will be a disaster if we force her.  I don't know what lesson to teach.  That you follow through or that it's okay to quit?  Can I teach her both?  That if you try something and don't like it, try something else and keep trying until you find your "thing?"  Or that you sign the line (and mom & dad invest $ into), you keep going whether you like it or not.

She sits here now asking me to play Pokemon with her.  I cannot and will not.  This is the time that she is to be at Brownies and I will not be spending the time playing a game with her.  Not sure which lesson I'm teaching at this point, but it feels right.  Of course, it has led to her crying and hitting herself, screaming "I'm so stupid" and "I"m no good at anything."   I feel desperate to fix her.  To tell her she is worthy and have her completely believe me.  I don't know how to best help my child today.  I am struggling and frustrated.  My patience feels as if it's nearing empty and I do not not how to replenish it.  I am so tired of the struggle and I do not know what to do next to best help her.  Is this just her personality?  Or is something else going on?  I know she will always struggle with perfectionism, worries, and self-esteem.  I just want her to be the best Ari that she can be, that's my job as her mother.  Right now, I am at a loss at how to do so.


Dawn said...

I just read this (forgot you moved back ot this blog), but it made me think of C. He was "ok" at team sports, and individual ones, however, there were certainly points he wanted to quit and we made him see it through. After he was done, we didn't make him repeat the sport, but he has ultimately found his own way, one which we didn't steer him toward, but just happened. He isn't on a team, and it's kinda, but not really a sport. He hunts, he fishes, and he does archery/shooting practice. He loves it and he does it when he wants to do it because he loves it. I have really learned it's not about the "traditional activities" all the time. Colton's also into bowling, which is also a fun hobby too, so it's not "sport-like". The question I suppose, is Does Ana have to be "in" anything right now? Or, can you create her own world of activities with you guys and maybe a friend or two on her time & interest level? Maybe she'll become a hunter or bowler, or who knows. Not all kids are "activity oriented". She'll be ok, she'll find her way, and she'll show you what she's interested in.
I always thought I had to "guide" the boys into different sports & things so they could experience them, and while that's partially true, she could grow to love camping, and want to go on nature hikes, or bike rides, or running. There's kids 5k's all over she could want to do. Relax, it'll happen.

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

I just found your blog. Wow. I don't know your story, and I'm not on the same path, but I do know that no matter WHO our children are, we-- at least I -- question decisions, both big and little. One lesson learned is another one sacrificed. What does each child need at what moment, and what lesson is worth teaching for the price of my sanity?
I can relate on different levels.
Reading another post, I understand the frantic lunatic feeling as well.
I would love to be a storybook person, but the realty is, some days are more of a page out of a college psychology text than a fairy tale.