Refusing to even try to do things on their own?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/23/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My three year old (almost four) daughter will often refuse to even try to do things (like pull up her pants after going potty or picking up something she threw on the floor). She insists that she needs help, even though I'm fairly certain we both know she doesn't.

At this stage, we often force her to do whatever it is by threatening to take away a toy, but it's not abating the behavior, and I'm concerned that it must seem like we punish her all the time because this is quite frequent.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? Should I be concerned, or is this normal behavior? Should we give in and help her when she insists?

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Denikka - posted on 07/23/2012

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I think it's normal :P
My boy is 3yrs 4mo old and he does this too :P His thing is that he *can't do it.* He;s *too small* XD it's kinda cute at times because he always seems SOOO depressed when he says it XD No idea where he got it from, but that's his logic :P
I'm sure it will pass. We just encourage him to do whatever it is and follow it up with saying *See. I knew you could do it! You're such a big/smart/good boy!*
If it's really becoming a fight, we'll give him the absolute minimum amount of help we can get away with :P Sometimes I think kids just get insecure about doing things for themselves. Either they're afraid they'll fail or afraid they won't need mom and dad anymore.
It's like moving out of your parents place. It's a little scary at first. So going home to visit is comforting.
I view this behaviour in the same way. It's comforting to know you can rely on your parents. But when you're feeling confident, you can go do things for yourself.
I say encourage the child to do for themselves, but don't turn it into a huge battle. Give the minimum of help, get the kid to do as much as they can or are willing to do, and then move on. Everyone needs some support, someone to lean on, some time to revert back to a more comfortable time. :)
I wouldn't worry about it or make a big deal about it. Like I said, I think it's normal :)

Jennifer - posted on 07/23/2012

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My daughter, at 5, still does this occasionally. It seems to be pretty typical, though annoying, behavior.

I told her Mommy and Daddy have rules we have to follow too. One of those is that we cannot do for her what we know she can do for herself. She has to make a true effort first. Then, if she still needs help she can ask nicely.

Natural consequences have come into play as well. More than once, she walked into school with no shoes on because she refused to try to put them on. She got them on there and went on about her day. It only happened a few times. If it's not a huge deal or dangerous, you might try letting her find out WHY Mommy and Daddy expect her to do what is asked of her. Unfortunately, sometimes experience is the only teacher they listen to.

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Jennifer - posted on 07/28/2012

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You may want to check out "Raising Your Spirited Child". It has been a HUGE resource for us. Our little one has LOTS of spirit. The book helps you understand your child, yourself, how your personalities fit together, and gives awesome ideas. It also uses real examples from real people so you know you are not alone in this. These intense kids are wonderful, funny, creative, energetic, enthusiastic, independent, natural leaders, self-reliant, and so much more. What a neat way to look at your kid! The qualities that can be trying today can be viewed as awesome attributes for later in life. We just need to help guide them in a positive direction.

Positive note: A strong personality will not be easily swayed when she is a teen. Yea for resisting peer pressure! :)

Elizabeth - posted on 07/24/2012

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Thank you, everyone - I'm glad to hear it's normal. That's a relief.

Yes, sometimes it becomes a battle, and I don't want it to be like that, but the truth is that my child is a very 'strong' personality (since birth, honestly) and she will often push it that way, and I just won't give in, so the hysterics start. This being said, I like the suggestion of saying that Mommy and Daddy have rules too, and I'll give that a try. :)

Dove - posted on 07/23/2012

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My 4 year old does the same thing ALL the time. I think it's fairly normal (at least that's what I keep telling myself). It's so 'funny'. Sometimes he will go into the bathroom and do everything on his own and you don't even know he went to the bathroom until he's done. Then other times he will beg and yell for someone to be with him and help him with every step of the way.

We started a sticker chart for some things that he does on his own (get dressed, go potty, wipe butt). He filled up the first chart (10 for each thing) in just over a week, so I eliminated the get dressed one and put 'good bedtime' on it (since he is wildly insane every evening) and.... the chart has been sitting here for 3 weeks. The go potty part is filled up, but nothing else is getting done and he's reverted on the get dressed issue...

Basically.... I'm at a loss too, but still trying. ;)

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