Balance of being enough for your child

I am far from being a perfect mother.  I have struggles every day feeding her and keeping her away from technology.  When the balance between doing enough versus doing too much for your kid is what tethers my soul every day.

When your child doesn’t receive a good grade, does she request the teacher to give her another chance at taking the test?  Does she convince the teacher to make an exception for the answer because she didn’t quite understand and here’s her take on the question?

I have seen this happen in my dental school class over 25 years ago.  There were some brassy students who convinced the teachers that the anatomy of a tooth was really a #24 and not a 25.  I believe the professor just agreed with this particular pre-doctoral candidates to get them  off of his back but he agreed.  The doctor hopeful wanted to become an orthodontist and needed the grade to be at the top of the class ALL The Time.  It was annoying, disrespectful of authority and very discouraging to the rest of us, but it worked for this student.

My daughter took a test and thought she could go back and finish it because she needed to leave early for a school sports event.  She didn’t ask the teacher before it happened and made an assumption.  To her dismay, she wasn’t able to complete her exam and received a low but passing grade.  She wasn’t allowed to retake the test because the teacher stated if allowed for her to be an exception, it would be for everyone.  Her father and I did not get involved.  We chose not to get in this teacher’s business and accept the circumstances due to a lack of clarity on her part.  Although this particular teacher did allow other students to retake tests and move their grade up because they requested it.  Although this wasn’t fair, I was not going to be that parent and my daughter was not going to be that student that cried unfair.

She did work hard to get her grade to an “A” status and recently wrote a note to her stating how her habits were exceptional and how she could be anything she could be in her chosen career.  As a parent, this makes me proud.

When parents threaten things in order to get their child better grades or a spot on the team they did not earn, is this fair?  Is this fair to the rest of the students who understood the boundaries of the testing or try out?   What is in persuasion that it is permissible for children to wiggle around the rules?   Where is their standard going to be?

My question is, when and what is enough for your kid versus too much?  No one wants to see their child struggle but they need to build muscle in order to carve their mark into this world.  They need to develop courage on their own.  If they didn’t earn it, they didn’t earn it – let it go.

I am not going to rob my daughter of an opportunity to get what she deserves.  I don’t need to threaten, cajole or persuade someone in authority to circumvent the rules because she didn’t earn her opportunity.

 

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8 assets Volleyball Teams teach Tweens

My daughter recently started “club volleyball”.  This is for girls who want to compete at a higher level.

When your kids win, you are victorious with them.  It is easy to cheer them on. It is easy to encourage their team mates.  It is easy to tell them everything is going great.  Isn’t it great when they win?

When they lose, it is much harder.  It is such a teachable moment.  Winning doesn’t happen by yourself.  It happens in a team.  Volleyball is not a solo sport.

Things that being on the team sport are

  1.  Communication – everyone relies on it.  If it is silent, everyone gets in their heads. They have to know who has the ball and where it is going next.
  2. Trust – if you cannot trust your team mates when they tell you they have the ball, you can’t do your best.
  3. Encouragement – connection to let the last point go and focus on the here and now
  4. Dignity – there will always be a winner and loser – making sure you are good at both
  5. Covering for others’ weaknesses – no one can be great at anything, how can you help each other during the volley
  6. Shake off the bad mojo – there will always be another point, match, game and volley . you need to focus on what is coming next and let the last one go
  7. Progress – there is only getting better with the continual play
  8. Resilience – go dig that ball and get up for the next play

Living only happens in teams.  Who is on your team?  Do you like them and trust them?  Do you communicate or withold?  Everything is hard before it is easy.

Winning is great but losing teaches you everything.

Volleyball with the Tween

I love volleyball.  Now, so does my daughter.  We love hitting and playing together.  We both need to work on her passing game.  We took her to a volleyball training facility and enrolled her in a program.  Actually, 4 programs is what she committed to.

When she said she was able to try out for the volleyball team the dunning sixth grader started becoming competitive.

I think team sports is good for a child.  They teach good communication.  The only way we can get anything worth accomplishing in life is by being a member of the team.  She has never really been on a team until the program did a mini tournament.  This was the first time she lost.

Sitting in the back seat, she was pouting.  I asked her if she was upset because she didn’t get a medal like the first and second finishers.  She said Yes.  I said, well, you didn’t deserve it.  She said “thanks a lot mom, that makes me feel great.”  I said, you didn’t win.  This is how the real world works.  You don’t join something and show up and you get a medal for it.  She broke down and cried. This made her want to work harder.

She hated doing drills.  She hated having to serve over and over.  She hated practicing with someone who couldn’t hit the ball back to her.  She thought it was dumb.  She only wanted to play in the games.

Conversation after conversation with her telling her if she doesn’t create the muscle memory with the drills, her body won’t know how to pass it if the ball is hit to her at an awkward angle.  Of course, moms who actually played volleyball still know nothing so yet again the struggle to get her to practice and get engaged.

She did have some natural talent to actually get on the B level team at school  This was quite an accomplishment.  She was excited.  She is still excited to be on the team.

Their team is now 3-0 for the season.  They are winning.  She is serving pretty well.  At this level of the game, if you have a good serve, the other team can’t hit it back.  The game will be more competitive the older she gets but at least she knew how to lose.

I was so impressed with the group of her friends parents and her friends.  They showed up last night for the game and cheered her name out.   They encouraged her and shouted her name like she was a rock star.  Having good groups of families and friends who support and love your child means more to me than she will ever know.

Volleyball has given her a small level of confidence.  Volleyball has increased her fitness level.  Volleyball has connected our family and friends.  She still may not love practice but everyone loves winning.

 

 

The first week of sixth grade

“Mom, sixth grade is so hard.”

My always snappy reply to anything that my daughter states is hard is “Honey, everything is hard before it is easy.”  In this case, I didn’t say that because I get it.  Sixth grade IS hard.

What is hard about it for you?

“They give us so much work and there are so many books that are so heavy.  That boy that annoyed me is in every single one of my classes and he won’t leave me alone”.  And, the real kicker, there is a girl in my class with the same name!  Why do they have to put us in the same class?  I was the only one with that name in the whole school, now she is in my classes.  When we went for seconds at lunch the girls there threw off our cups and plates on the floor.”

I have to take one of these issues at a time.  I told her that her name might have gotten popular and thus going to her real first name or hyphenated first and middle name.  In the south, most people go by their middle names so this is not unheard of.

As far as the bullying girls, there is always going to be a pack of girls vying for who could be the biggest “b—-“.  My daughter is lucky that she has some very good long term friends that will stick together through all of this b.s.

That boy that bothers her, well, she will have to deal with him only when he is next to her.

As far as the school work, yep – suck it up.  It has been a piece of cake for the past 6 years at the school, now time and attention have to come into place.  When schoolwork comes easily, you can slide through without putting too much effort into things.  When there is a lot of it, you have to hanker down, get in there and focus.

Hormones, you-tube videos, musically, and all of the other distractions of social media dissolving brains will cause her to do anything other than study.

The good news for now is she has a physical outlet of having physical education every day and since she has made it onto the volleyball team, she has to focus there as well.  Physicality is good for kids.  Exercise makes the blood flow and makes them think about the task at hand.   A change in the environment is always good.

Encouragement of yes, I have been there too as far as everything she is going through.  Listening to her talking, I go through the same things she does even now.

Yes, honey, I wanted the prize and that woman wanted it too.  I didn’t stand up for myself and she took it right out from underneath of me.  (this happened 2 weeks ago to me).  I realized it didn’t really matter and I didn’t need another flower vase anyway.

Sometimes I just go and sit in her room with her.  I figure eventually she will want to talk.  I do have to encourage her to be nice to her dad.  She became uncontrollably upset when he thought the sandwich he had gotten her was still warm when it wasn’t and no sauce which caused her to throw the sandwich against the wall.  I had to let her know that we are there for her no matter what but nobody is going to be in her corner more than her dad at this point.

Raging hormones, changes in classes and changes in environment.  We still have a long road ahead but I know just being there through the storms of her changing will help us grow together.

 

 

Leveling

My daughter asks me why people say mean things about her. She asks if it is sometimes because they are jealous. She asks this pretty routinely because girls can be mean. Boys just fight it out. If my nephews have a disagreement with each other, they duke it out. It goes underground with girls

I tell her there is something called leveling. A lot of people are dealing with their own insecurity issues. This could be the appearance, or their general perception of themselves feeling unloved or ignored at home. In their heat of the insecurity, they try to bring them down to their level by saying something nasty to get the other person to feel bad about themselves, too. Misery loves company.

I have watched a part of a reality show because I really can’t get myself to sit and watch the whole thing. I have actually met the woman on this show and couldn’t believe how mean she was to her husband in front of a large group of people. I assumed she felt insecure, afraid and insignificant in front of a group of dentists but another word was in my mind describing her. She is actually doing the same thing in front of an even larger audience now. It makes me cringe how she has no regard for other people. It’s the need for significance, I know. It’s blatantly obvious. If you are competing for significance, your life will always be empty because you are always competing. There is always going to be somebody better, prettier, smarter, more famous. It is a very empty existence.

People have always been mean. The quicker you can ignore these people the easier your life will get. I know it doesn’t seem like they are insecure or jealous of what you have. These people do this for one thing only – to make themselves feel better and bring you down to their miserable existence.

My assistant has the perfect quote for people like this, “What’s wrong with them that they don’t like me?” I love it. She is putting the responsibility on the other person instead internalizing the question, “what’s wrong with me that I am so unlovable and undeserving that they aren’t nice to me?”

Trying to get yourself and your kids to feel good about themselves is a challenge. You tell them you love them No Matter What you do. They don’t need to prove anything to you in order to get your love and admiration.

I think our kids are the first people we really love no matter what. A lot of us love people until something happens and then they bail out.