How Can I help My Daughter

Question: Dear Luise: My daughter is 10 years old and in the 4th grade. She does well in school and in sports, but she is not the “star” and she is okay with that and so am I. My problem is, one girl, a classmate and teammate. All the teachers at my daughter’s school think she is the greatest. She gets all (and I mean ALL) the awards. (My daughter got 4 awards this year, which I think is absolutely splendid!) But, she is a devil in disguise. When the teachers and her mother are not around, she will say things to my daughter such as “I got more awards than you”. How do I deal with this in regards to my daughter? My daughter is new to the school this year, and I suspect this little girl feels the competition from my daughter, which she did not have last year. My second problem is, I am the coach for my daughter’s softball team. I must say my daughter is very athletic and she is the best pitcher on the team. This same little girl is also on the team. I am very fair with all the players, and I let them try any position they wish to play. I allowed this girl to pitch one inning, and she did okay. She caught two pop flies, and we ended up winning the game. We played a team that was very, very inexperienced, which is why I allowed this inexperienced girl to pitch. My problem: now she tells my daughter at school, when no adult is within earshot, that she is a better pitcher. I also suspect that she sees that my daughter is better and this is why she does it. My daughter gets her feelings hurt easily, she is not an angel by any means, but she does not do those types of things to my knowledge. How do you deal with these types of children? M.

Answer: Dear M.: How wise of you to say “to my knowledge.” You don’t really know what your daughter does at all times and the other child’s mother may not know what her daughter does and says, either.

As far as the awards are concerned you can help your daughter understand that there are other ways to measure value. Let her know that some children need more attention than others and are more competitive. She has the option to focus on doing her best while still having fun and not taking it all too seriously. Teach her balance.

I honestly don’t know how you should deal with the other child regarding her pitching experience. With her limited ability, she did a great job in a safe situation where there was little risk and you probably can’t tell her that. She’s obviously pretty impressed with herself and the best you can offer your daughter is to teach her that how other people act often isn’t within her power to understand or change. She can learn how to have the other girl just be how she is. Then it’s up to your daughter to decide how she, herself, wants to be. She does control that.

Teach your daughter that all schoolmates are not equal and not all of them need to become her friends. Some schoolmates are dishonest, some are mean, some are jealous and some manipulate. Also, some teachers are biased. It’s a fact of life that your daughter will meet all kinds as she goes from grade to grade and sport to sport. It’s where lessons are learned, opinions are formed and competence is gained. Blessings, Luise

3 Responses to How Can I help My Daughter

  1. M. October 20, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    I have an 18 month-old son, my mother-in-law is 67 and my mother is 50 years-old. I am my mother’s only child and I am 28-years-old. My husband is the fourth of six children in his mother’s brood. They all have different fathers so their mother sort of raised them alone…and he is the only son. From what I have come to understand from my husband he grew up not so much around his mother alone, but he would live with other relatives or other. So he has pretty much been in and out of his mother’s …say care. They have a loving relationship and obviously so do I with my mother. She too is a single mother. Now my mother-in-law initially portrayed herself as caring towards me. I fell for it, but lately I have doubts. The reason is mostly because of my son…he is currently visiting my mother out of the country for the next couple of months (it was my husband’s idea – both times this year and last year). My mother-in-law gets him for local holidays and many of the weekends. She even at times demands that he stats longer that we planned and even tries to boss me around where he is concerned. I do not take very well to this so we have already had a few altercations regarding my son. The squabble now is that “how is it that my mother get to take my son for two months when she only sees him on weekends and with instructions?” It has become a real problem with me that I bother to make sure she spends time with her and her other family, whereas my mother only get to see my son every three months for a week at our place as we host her. My mother-in-law has on many occasions demonstrated that she should be raising our son. He has stayed with her before at least a few times for as long as over a month, which is more than the time my mother gets to see my son….there have been a number of incidents where she has acted as if she is his mother and I do not exist. When he cries after a fall or from just being uneasy she grabs him away from me and does not want me to take him and comfort him. She has this idea that he should live with her and raise him. However, when he is staying with them we tend to buy all his essentials (while in the case of my mother she and her partner buy everything and ask for nothing) and send them along with him (which is expected) when he runs short she instead calls my maid to drop whatever he needs off at her house (without even calling or checking with me)…when he is staying over at her place she does not check in with me to at least let me know how he is doing…he even at times comes home with a mark here or bruise there from an accident while he was playing (which happens, she is a good woman as far as I can tell and they all love my son and would not do anything to hurt him…he is sort of the lovable cousin, nephew and grandson to most of them and they always look forward to his visits), but my problem with this particular point is I am never told if he has hurt himself except when I notice and ask about it…they would deny it saying he left their place without a mark and he must have hurt himself while he was back home…now I am talking about noticing a big scratch while we unpack his stuff after we pick him up.
    Lately I am convinced she makes unfair and rude remarks to me and recently at my mother, her partner and I. They are good people and I do not want them caught in the middle of any of this. When she makes these comment my husband is never around, hence the cause of our fights that he probably cannot imaging his mother doing so to me. I am starting to notice her two faces (how she acts when my husband is around and how she speaks to me, she even yells at me but would never do that when my husband is around, she would even introduce our son as her son’s son and not acknowledge me as his mother, only when my husband is not around) and I am not sure I want to keep a relationship with her at all, but I have to. I need her to understand that she is overstepping her boundaries and that she should know where she stands as one of the grandparents. My mother has never given us any problems and have never fought or argued about her at any point regarding my son, whereas regarding my mother-in-law my husband and I have had the fights and arguments and I feel her interference with our son is coming between us. I even warned my husband that his mother would be a major reason why he and I would split if ever. My husband does not condone what she does, but he is yet to speak with her and put his foot down when it comes to decisions we make regarding our boy. Three parents is one parent too many. What should I do to help the situation where possible? M.

  2. Luise November 9, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    Dear M. One of the hardest things to face in life is that people are how they are. Your mother is cooperative. Your mother-in-law seems to have no idea about boundaries. Your husband is sympathetic but has not been exposed to the whole picture and does not take action on your behalf. That’s what you’ve got. Those are the players in your drama. In all probability they will all continue be be how they are. However, you are the child’s mother. You make the rules and you decide what is best for your son. You do no have to give the grandmothers equal time unless you want to. You do not have to put up with being treated as though you are not the mother. Talk with your husband about this when you are not fighting. Ask for his help and allegiance. Decide between the two of you what the rules are going to be and then enforce them, consistently. If you need to, carry a small tape recorder and each time your mother-in-law yells or bad mouths you…pull it out and let her know you are taping the incident for your husband’s review. Let her know that if she continues to create a stressful environment when she is around your son, you will remove him from her life. He doesn’t need to be raised in such conflict. My point here is she is not entitled to run your life and you need to take it back. Blessings, Luise

  3. D. February 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Dear Luise: Our 10 year old daughter can’t share with her 7 year old sister and is very jealous of her since she was born. The younger one shares with her and loves her so much. She Will not eat our meals if she don’t like them she just refuses. She is very mature for her age and is a straight A student and the Teachers think she very sweet. She has become very lazy when she is at home. We live where there are no neighbors so I can’t say go out and ride your bike because she is alone. How do I keep her active when shes home, how do I get her to eat the right foods and how do I teach her to get along better with her little sister? Please help me. Thank you. D.

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