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How do you deal with an "expectation gap" with your child?

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This is something that I have struggled for years and something I thought of asking other mothers, but didn't know how to word it, didn't know if anybody could understand me or didn't know if it was worth asking even. I need someone who struggle with this also. If you don't understand my frustration, please move onto a different post.

My question is "is there anyone who excelled in something as a child but your child does/did not?" It can be anything, but preferably something that you have to deal with on a daily basis. For example, you were an excellent writer, but your child is not. You were a child basketball star, but your child is so clumsy. You always kept your room very tidy as a child, but your child is messy or gross. You get the idea.


My child's struggles are phonics, spelling, and math. I know the cause; it's probably genetic from my husband's side. But I sometimes want to scream until I die when I help her with academics, but I don't, because it won't help me calm down or solve the problem. But I have this churning lava feeling in my heart and wonder if I would collapse from bottling it up.

How do you actually change and adjust your expectation? To me, this is so easily said than done. I'm a protective mother, so I don't share this on FB to protect my child's reputation. But by doing this, I feel very frustrated, miserable and alone. I'm tired of hearing "poor child" for not getting it from my mother-in-law too.   

by on Dec. 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM
Replies (11-19):
Jasmine424
by Member on Dec. 13, 2013 at 12:25 AM

Yes, our relationship is important. I hired a piano teacher because that was another frustrating subject. I can teach other people's children, but not my child; I had too much interest in her progress. Now she loves playing the piano. Maybe I should accept my limit and hire a tutor for more than once a week.

Quoting mem82: I suggest finding something you can mutually enjoy and fill some of that apace that your child is leaving empty. That might help with your frustration levels.


SMTCMMoore
by Melissa on Dec. 13, 2013 at 12:30 AM
1 mom liked this
I pray when I get there. I remind myself God have me this child for a reason. He is his own person and I cannot impose myself on him. I study him, try to figure out what works for him.

Eg. With reading comprehension, he only get it easily if I am really animated when I read.

Math, manipulative a distract him, we use fingers. Or real life scenarios.

School came easy for me...all subjects. With him it's like pulling teeth. I often get frustrated, but I bite my tongue and tell him I need a break.
TidewaterClan
by Kate on Dec. 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM
1 mom liked this
Math is my favorite subject. It's either right or wrong, and wrong answers can be understood and fixed. I LOVED math in school & thought my girls would too.

They're both doing well now (this is our 1st hs year and I honestly wish I'd pulled them out earlier). They struggled in previous years and were flat out scared to try this year. So I had to pull back on the reins and figure put how to make it fun again. Turns out the teachers had rushed through the basics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division to get to the harder tasks.

We spent time playing games (do a subtraction problem, then take your turn). We use our smaller whiteboards every day to write out the sample problems, and I use manipulatives with my youngest. Base 10 blocks were so helpful during addition & math, and now I use a treasure box filled with glass stones for multiplication & division. The hands on approach has made a huge difference for her and it just 'clicks' at some point & she can do it without the blocks.

My older daughter is doing so much better because I let her work on each assignment for as long as she needs. If that's half an hour that's great, an hour and a half - that's ok too because she understands at the end.

I did have to use the old "fake it till you make it" approach to not get grouchy & frustrated with them at first! It gets easier with time.
paganbaby
by Silver Member on Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM
1 mom liked this

As bad as it sounds, it's so nice to read that other moms are going through this too. 

Quoting Mandallyn: Yes, reading comprehension. It drives me NUTS. We were reading the hen and the golden eggs, a short, simple story. I ask him who owned the chicken. 'I don't know.'

O.o Literally the first few words are 'A man and his wife.' Ugh... If I'm having a day were I'm really struggling, I just take a deep breath, go get a drink or something If I need a couple extra seconds to calm down and re-read it to him. Drives me nuts, but I know it's not his fault.


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paganbaby
by Silver Member on Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

My son too! It's to the point that I've decided to scribe for him. For our creative writing, he tells me the story and I write it down for him. Then at the end of it I have him write a short note for his little sister to read. That way he still gets some practice writing just without the stress and pressure.

That last line was a passed down from a very wise woman in here. It's saved my sanity more times than not,lol.

Quoting Jasmine424:

Pulling teeth sounds so right! Reading, not so much, but I loved writing long journals. Writing comes as natually as speaking to me, but when I ask my child to write, she panics. She can tell me the answers to Story of the World and such, but when I ask her to "just write down all you just said," she acts like I just told her to walk on a tight rope.

I have excused myself too many times and now she is a little behind on our yearly plan on English and Math. I never even imagined that my chid would fall behind, but I know I have to accept the fact and adjust the plan... I really like your last line. That's what I need to be saying...

Quoting paganbaby:

Reading and writing. I LOVED reading and writig growing up. I still read a lot as an adult. Getting my kids to read and write is like pulling teeth! My youngest (7) is pretty good at it but won't read for pleasure. My older two (14 and 8) I'm still trying to figure out how to motivate them. It's hit and miss. 

When I feel like snapping at them I just excuse myself or have them take a brak and move on to something else. As long as I'm seeing progress, I know we're good.



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MamaDearie
by Member on Dec. 13, 2013 at 1:22 PM
My gap is of a somewhat different kind but I can relate. I am a quiet, introverted, calm learner. My son and my youngest daughter are just like me and relating to them, teaching them, is so easy for me. My middle daughter is a bundle of energy and movement and constant noise/chatter/singing/humming (you get the point). She excels with her schoolwork but she is moving and making noise nearly the entire time. It can be very disruptive to my son and it drives my youngest crazy to the point where sometimes she just puts her hands over her own ears and screams at her sister to just sit down and be quiet. If my middle daughter was in a traditional school, I would probably be getting called into the principals office constantly. And she would likely not be achieving anywhere near her true academic potential. I feel compelled to homeschool her more than my other two probably because I know this. But there are certainly days (sometimes weeks) when I feel like screaming and pulling my hair out. I know I can't expect her to be like me and her siblings. I know she is a wonderful and amazing person in her own right. I do love her. I don't want her to feel bad about herself. I try to keep my frustrations to myself and when I slip (and say something like "Why can't you just be quiet and still for a second?"), I feel terribly guilty for making her feel bad about just being herself. I apologize to her and try not to get upset again. Sigh. Maybe it's not a subject or achievement gap but more of a temperament and learning style gap but I do get what you are saying. You are not alone.
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Jasmine424
by Member on Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:31 PM
1 mom liked this

My child says "I don't know" a lot and it drives me NUTS too! I sometimes threw in the towel and took healthy breaks, but it doesn't feel good to be behind, so wheather I felt frustrated or she did, we pushed it today and got it done. So much work for education... (- _ -;)

Quoting Mandallyn: Yes, reading comprehension. It drives me NUTS. We were reading the hen and the golden eggs, a short, simple story. I ask him who owned the chicken. 'I don't know.'

O.o Literally the first few words are 'A man and his wife.' Ugh... If I'm having a day were I'm really struggling, I just take a deep breath, go get a drink or something If I need a couple extra seconds to calm down and re-read it to him. Drives me nuts, but I know it's not his fault.


KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2013 at 3:05 AM

I don't know... my precious 5 yr old is going to cause my teeth to be ground down to the gums.   It's so frustrating with her because I have to repeat the question frequently, have to re-direct her CONSTANTLY.   I mean, just to get her to finish writing ONE number or letter, I've had to re-focus her attention three or four times.   She starts rolling around, chewing on the marker lid.  Burps and laughs about it...  Closes the marker, and she still only has half the letter written... then she will erase the half she started because she now is lost on forming the letter because she can only do it from start to finish and not from halfway through, and now she forgets the answer or the point to having written that letter in the first place.  

All of this happens while the 18 month old starts desperately trying to yank her school things out of her hands and he is now chewing on the marker end of my expensive dry erase marker.   When I take it off him and give him something else, he screams and throws the thing and it hits me in the glasses and bounces off and hits Abby who then promptely begins a scream fest because she has an injury and simply cannot write the letter on the board now at all!   


mamavalor
by Member on Dec. 14, 2013 at 1:08 PM

What I found helpful is to step away and let them figure things out themselves.  For me, I just encourage independence, to problem-solve and reflect and to grow into the person they are to become. 

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