A few weeks ago I shared a post, When Your Child Doesn’t Succeed, it was a post on how Hazel did not pass her first level of swimming lessons. As much as it was about her, it was about me. It was my way of reflecting on the experience. A way for me to process her not succeeding, something I hadn’t even thought about before. At this stage in the game she doesn’t understand what it means to not pass, to not succeed, but we do as parents. I had thought that before she went into the lessons she would pass with flying colours, as she could do everything required. I knew she could, I had seen her do it all before. But when the report cards were handed out and she did not pass, I was confused and upset. I of course did not let her see this, but tried to process it inside and on here. I accepted it and to move on decided we would wait a bit before trying again, she just wasn’t ready, or so I thought.
Well a night after my post went up Evan was giving her a bath. The usual splish splashing of course (it’s worse than the splash zone at Sea World, I swear) and then the “Daddy, watch me blow my bubbles.” Evan turned and to his amazement she was face down in the water, and blew bubbles for a solid 5 seconds. And then she did it again, and again. To say he was in shock would be a bit of an understatement, so he turned to her and asked, “Hazel, why didn’t you do this in swimming lessons?” to which she responded,
“My teacher said I was doing a good job, so I stopped.”
Say what? If I hadn’t seen it with my own two I eyes I might have been a bit confused, but she is correct. When blowing their bubbles, the teacher had said good job every time Hazel blew her bubbles, even if it wasn’t doing exactly what she wanted to see. My child thought she was doing good and that she didn’t need to keep trying so she gave up.
Now I know this is nothing knew, I’ve heard of studies that have shown the kids that are told they are doing great tend to slack off, while those that are encouraged to work a little harder will excel as they are always trying to keep going. But what has me amazed is that someone of such a young age can pick this up. Had those words been replaced with keep trying instead of good job, I am almost certain the results would have been a little different.
I hold no resentment for the instructor, she was great with the kids and I can only assume that she doesn’t realize what type of affect her words have on them, even at such a young age. I have thought about presenting it to the parks board, perhaps its the type of feedback they would need. As parents we can’t be there holding our children’s hands all time, but if they are being given misinformation I feel we should be stepping in, especially at this age, when they are like sponges. The last thing I would want is for her to take this I am doing good, I can stop attitude and build on it. I would love to stop it now and encourage her to always try a bit harder, and always do her best.
Incase your wondering, after two weeks of begging daily to go back to the pool, we are starting round two of Seastars this morning. I’m not sure who is more excited, my little fishy or me. I love watching her splash around, she needs this kind of stimulation. I know one thing is for sure, I will be using more words of encouragement to keep her working hard, in addition to congratulating her in her good work. If we don’t pass this time, that’s ok by me. We have until age 6 to master a handful of courses, and the more stuff she does with out us, just means her independence is growing.