Sunday, December 18, 2016

Little Kids, Little Problems, Big Kids...

OK, so maybe a six and a half year old doesn't totally qualify as a "big kid". But I can say with total certainty that the issues are changing and evolving. And all the methods that work so well with toddler and preschoolers and their meltdowns...yeah, they aren't quite the same.

The meltdowns are less frequent, but they're more intense. And usually, there's an actual issue behind them, rather than fuzzy socks being too fuzzy.

The adorable tall tales of the three year old caught with her hand in the cookie jar are replaced by actual lies, making you wonder where you went wrong in raising an honest kid.

You're still bound to a schedule - but it's one of lessons and rehearsals rather than naps and feedings. Naps and feedings can happen pretty much anywhere, but when you realize you can't make plans because you're running from dance to gymnastics to play practice, you're stuck.

One of my friends told me early on "it doesn't get harder, and it doesn't get easier. It gets different."

That is 100% true. It's different. It's easier in some ways. It's harder in others. We can't reliably count on the kids to fall asleep in the car anymore, but I think I've found some good ways to amuse kids from toddlers to teens.

The issue we're running into lately with Madison is perfectionism. She is the first born, Type A, performer child of two first born, Type A performer parents. She's kind of doomed when it comes to perfectionist tendencies.

When she was young, she was always ahead of the game, ahead of her peers, without really having to put in any effort. Gifted? Maybe, maybe not. But there are parts of her life that she has some natural abilities with, and you could tell she felt good about showing off.

Then, as these things do, it began to even out. School gets harder. Dance is harder and moves faster. And the child who never had to practice, or even really try, started realizing that she wasn't always perfect. And that's been hard. Somehow, she's reached the level of perfectionism where she'd rather not try than risk not being able to do it. And when it comes to practicing, she simply doesn't know how.

There are tears. There are wails of despair. And there are two parents who aren't quite sure what to do with the kid who learned everything so easily as a toddler and preschooler.

Big kid, big problems.

I'm not stressing about it right now, but as the new year starts, I need to put my Type A personality to work and figure out how to manage this new curve ball. Not easier. Not harder. Just different.

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