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Raising fit Kids

My daughter's immediate response to anything new is "I can't"
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littlevoice posted:
I am very concerned and unsure about how to help my 7 yr old daughter. Whenever she's faced with a new experience or a challenge she immediately says "I can't do it" before she even tries. This is with almost everything. She won't persist with anything.

She had swimming lessons from 12 months of age but wouldn't ever put her head under the water until we'd spent 10 days in a row swimming on holidays at the age of 5. Now she's actually a very good swimmer once she got over her fear.

With school work things come quite easily to her so she doesn't really have to work hard, but if something is challenging she'll give up very quickly. If it's something she doesn't know straight away she says I can't do it and will often have a tantrum if we try to encourage her to have a go.

She refuses to try to learn how to ride a bike. 5 minutes on it she says she can't do it and has a meltdown if we encourage her and tell her ways we can help.

This morning we've had a very difficult situation. Her Paediatrician has prescribed tablets that she needs to swallow. She needs to take them each Winter. Last year when she first tried them we had a huge battle teaching her how to swallow tablets. I got some advice from someone on how to teach children to swallow tablets and we worked through it. It was a battle but with lots of encouragement she finally persisted and learnt how to do it. She took them all throughout last Winter. Now it's Winter again and so we told her this morning that she needed to start taking her tablets again. As soon as we mentioned this she had a meltdown saying she can't do it. She got herself into such a state and just refuses to try. Unfortunately she needs to take these tablets, and we know she can as she did for months last year.

I just don't know how to handle this situation. I start off trying to encourage her, I let her know I understand that she's scared and nervous if new things, but when she gets to meltdown stage and just refuses to try I feel at a loss. I'm so worried about how this consistent attitude of "I can't" which I feel now is "I won't and I don't even want to try" is going to affect her long term. she has no resilience when it comes to a challenge.

Sorry for this long post. I'd love to hear any advice on how to help her. Thanks!
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momuv4girls responded:
Hi,

From a Mom who has a very challenging daughter, I understand your concerns.

It is hard to say without knowing your daughter, but from your post, right off the bat I think "anxiety". Anxiety about learning something new, anxiety about doing something out of her norm, and with some guided pressure from you, the stress that she perceives, turns into a meltdown.

Something as simple as taking tablets (which she successfully did before), may seem easy to you, can provoke stress in those children who are susceptible.

My thoughts would be to find a Dr. who can assess your daughter, listen to your concerns, talk with your daughter, and recommend treatment that would help her learn to cope with tasks she is unfamiliar with in a healthy way.

My suggestion would be to find either a Developmental Pediatrician (here is a link about what they do):
http://www.developmentaldoctor.com/online/about/developmental-pediatrics/
OR, find a really good, smart, qualified Child Psychologist to assess her - here is an informative link:
http://apa.org/topics/children/index.aspx

Take care, and I truly hope you can find some good help locally!
-Kathleen


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