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I can't do it child!


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Wise FSF forum people I need your advice. I have a three year old boy, going to school this year. I am really concerned about his negative approach to things. All I hear from him is I can't do it, regardless of what it is. Yesterday I had a group of children make a pirate ship in the role play, so I provided some blank treasure maps for them to draw on, the others excitedly began to mark make but he just said "I can't do it". I stood by him and drew on mine, narrating as I went, explaining that he can do it any way he wants. He also watched the others, which ranged from scribbles to recognisable drawings, but then screwed his up and walked away. It's even when playing with open ended resources, if anything is suggested the first thing he says is I can't do it. I have tried praising him for all the little things that he does, I am constantly reinforcing that he is amazing but nothing is helping. It's really sad to see such a young child thinking like this, I have never come across it before to this extent. What can I do to help him?

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if you ignore him what happens?? (so is it attention seeking behaviour?)

or do you find he struggles with physical skills (gross and fine)

is it only when you suggest pens/pencils?

Does he have siblings?

Any dyslexia in the family?

any other concerns about self esteem? how are his role play skills?

 

Parents attitude to this?????

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We have a child like this, also a boy but slightly older. We are doing exactly the same as you are. We think the issue with our little chap is the home environment. Mum has such high expectations of him, in fact too high, and she seems to concentrate more on his 'perceived' failures than his achievements. We are spending lots of time with him to promote his self esteem and working with mum about her expectations and praising what is going well.

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Like lsp I wonder if parents have high expectations from him? Perhaps when he mark makes at home it's called "scribble" and thrown away with parents expecting "proper" writing?

Some parents don't realise the processes children need to go through to be able to write - we had a parent like this a few months ago so we put up a few leaflets with pictures which explained this and had a few photos of the different stages of development.

The k/w also had an informal chat with the parent who said to k/w that Billy next door who was younger was writing his name and drawing "proper" pictures - k/w explained children develop at own rates etc.,and spoke about the things he was good at and when ready he would be able to do the same - k/w said she would use the mark making opportunities around the room like sand, cornflour etc to encourage him to join in.

He is now using these on a regular basis as there is no pressure for an end result as he makes marks then rubs them away- he enjoys these too so it is a starting point.

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if you ignore him what happens?? (so is it attention seeking behaviour?)

or do you find he struggles with physical skills (gross and fine)

is it only when you suggest pens/pencils?

Does he have siblings?

Any dyslexia in the family?

any other concerns about self esteem? how are his role play skills?

 

Parents attitude to this?????

All of this :1b

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It's not just around mark making, it can be in free play and when using open ended materials and creative activities . He has a very good imagination, marvellous speech and language skills and really likes "real stuff".

I spoke to Dad about it today and he said he is like it at home. Now I do not want to second guess or make judgements but I am wondering if Dad has quite grown up expectations of him. I say this because he talks to him like a mini adult. He spends much of his time with Dad as Mum works. So if this is the case, what can I do to help the situation without annoying Dad. He has an older brother in year 2.

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As a mum my son was like this all he ever wanted to do was play with trains, if it was on his own he was happy but was equally happy playing with other children, never ever any problems socially with peers always chatty and friendly and was popular.

As a mum I wanted him to get involved with everything going on at pre-school but the supervisor at the time very much took the child led approach and wouldn't ask him to do anything else.

When I asked him why he didn't have a go at other things eg painting his response was always I can't do it I'm rubbish - I tried the oh no you're not come on lets give it ago at home but nope he just wanted to play with trains :1b (very fond memories) luckily he had a fantastic Keyperson who totally 'got him' and would always help him to do anything creative at those important times Christmas Mothers day etc ;) he was so proud when he had done something and I didn't care that it was a joint creation because I knew that he had been pushed out of his comfort zone just a little but with a caring KPerson

 

Primary school he always wanted a little reassurance but teachers assured me that once he'd got it straight in his mind then he was off, with no problem at all - except with anything creative

Fast forward 10+ years and at high school but his approach is pretty much the same

It can be quite wearing as a parent and sometimes doesn't get any easier!

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Is dad a 'stay at home dad' if so can you get him to volunteer for a few sessions ?

 

My thoughts being he may pick up a few tips himself about talking with children. (that's not meant in a sarcastic way about dad- but sometimes parents in general do not fully understand child development)

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Both of my daughters did this. It was because they had Aspergers and couldn't cope with unstructured tasks. One would only ever do puzzles and worksheets. Mark-making had to be letters or numbers. Open ended resources were a nightmare.

The other had an amazing imagination but couldn't play imaginatively with others. She wouldn't attempt any activity where the outcome might be less than perfection or there were too many choices and no right or wrong. Making up your own treasure map would have been very stressful for her. To manage that task, the map would have to be real and she would have to be marking a specific place that she could identify and was chosen for a good logical reason. She used to say 'I can't' all the time to avoid tasks that stressed her out. If she was 'encouraged' to make something creative, she would play along with showing me what she had done when I picked her up, then rip it up and bin it when we got home. Encouraging her and telling her how lovely something she had made was would just make her more upset because she could see that it didn't match up to her own perfectionist expectations.

This was absolutely not about our expectations or us not valuing the process. Both girls were surrounded by open ended resources and mark-making opportunities all day every with other children around them using them. They just didn't have the capacity to use them.

 

Both girls also avoided role play activities and, if they were forced, would take the role of the baby or the dog so another child had to tell them what to do and they didn't have to come up with ideas themselves.

I'm not suggesting that this little one has autism but I do wonder if he is just someone who doesn't feel able to do something unless it is done perfectly and for a logical reason.

 



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Carol Dwek (Growth Mindsets) talks about the 'power of yet' "I can't do it YET!"

I cannot help it...I know I shouldn't....I just have to.....I HATE THIS PHRASE! our local school followed this philosophy and all I have seen come from it is negative reactions from the children <_< <_<

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