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Question
Posted by: crinkle | 2010/11/17

Am I too hard on my 7yr old

My little one will be 7 in Jan 2011. Early this year she decided she wanted to learn to play the violin. We gave ehr a month to think about it and at the end , she was still insistent. She doesn''t like practicing and would rather play or watch tv. I insist on her practicing every alternate day and sometimes we end up angry with each other.

She knows her stuff, but just needs the practice. She catches on quickly and at times enjoys it. I feel that she needs to be disciplined and once she will eventually come around.

My uncle who lives with us, has told my hubby that he doesn''t see the need for her to learn violin and I force her to practice. But then again, if my child didn''t like school or enjoy a particular subject, I wouldn''t take her out of school, just because it wasn''t as fun as watching tv.

My uncles thinks that we should send her to dance classes and get her involved in sport rather than focus on academic stuff. But then he is also against children doing homework and doesn''t see the need for homework and assignments. Children should go to school, and then play the rest of the day and he also doesn''t how tv could be bad for kids.

Am I just too hard on my child? I limit her tv time and she is not allowed to spend the entire evening in front of the tv - my uncle thinks that this is terrible. He even suggested I get full dstv so that my child will have more cartoons to watch. Apparently at his home, they have all the dstv channels just for the kids.

I think children can derive fun from playing board games, doing puzzles and just free play, rather than watch cartoons.

CS what do you think? Am i just a crazy mom?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

A child can indeed decide they really want to play a musical instrument properly, or that they prefer to play and watch TV - they can't do both. Without practice, becoming even moderately adept at any musical instrument is an unrealistic aim.

Without SELF-discipline and a good deal of practice, it won't work. Uncle sounds like a bad influence - is he enormously wealthy and devoted to supporting her for the rest of her life ? Or does he imagine that a kid with modest abilities to dance or play school sposts can support herself ? If he thinks she suffers from insufficient cartoons, then he is wildly unrealistic. Has he made a triumphant success of his own life ? I hear nothing at all crazy or unrealistic about you.

Everything needs to be in moderation, and it is a form of child abuse to teach a child that doing nothing except whatever you enjoy is enough for life.

I agree with Liza - there's sense in encouraging and reminding a child learnin an instrument, to do the essential practise - but there's no point in tryiong to force her to pracice. If she's not prepared to do so, stop the lessons and sell the instrument.

Congratulations on being an excellent parent. Why doesn't uncle go back to ruining his own kids ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Candy | 2010/12/01

Hi Crinkle. First of all let me say WELL DONE for being such a great parent. I too am very strict when it comes to homework, watching TV and such. I also don''t allow any snack during the week and have a bed time rule (no later than 8pm) My little one lived with my mom up until last year and even my mom knows not to undermine my authority when I make rules. I therefor cant understand whey your uncle feels he even remotely has the right to dictate in you house. I find this very disrespecting to you and your hubby. If I were you I woud very nicely ask him to pls leave

But as I said well done for being a great parent!!!!

Reply to Candy
Posted by: Maria | 2010/11/18

Crinkle does this guy really have to live with you? Anybody who tries to undermine my authority as a parent to that degree will not be welcome in my house. What he thinks about child raising is completely irrelevant. She is not his child and he should respect your authority as her parents.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Crinkle | 2010/11/18

Hi Purple,

She actually started asking about taking violin lessons last year. She loves music and singing. At the beginning of the year, she started asking about violin lessons again. We thought she would have forgotten about it over the holidays. I had to even buy her a Vanessa Mae cd because she wanted to be like her.

I feel all of this is partly my fault as well. We started off with practice very well. But then I got ill and had major surgery and was in bed for 2 mths. I really wasn''t up to monitoring her practice sessions. Dad was supposed to do it, but complained that it was my job. When I returned to work, my uncle said he would help out and fetch her from school. But I would get home at 6pm and dad gets home around this time too, and find her in front of the tv. I did mention to him that I don''t approve of so much tv time. He said he saw nothing wrong with it. Children should not get homework or do anything once they get home from school. TV is apparently good relaxation.

He has an 11 yr old son, who is doing badly at school - he blames the teachers at school - they don''t do a good job. But then his 9 yr old grand daughter does okay at school, but the girl has potential. She just has very little support. Granny is supposed to help with the homework. Her mum has no time for her because she is a chef and when she gets home, she just want s to sleep. Even the grand parents attend school meetings. That child would have loved to learn to play an instrument. She thinks my daughter is lucky. But grandpa has her playing soccer.

Purple, I think my child needs some discipline and she herself will be disciplined on her own to do her homework, practice, etc. We always try things. She wanted to go to dance classes as well this year, but after one lesson, changed her mind. Then she decided she is doing ballet at school. So she started that and was enjoying it.

Next year she want to do gymnastics and Portuguese. We don''t stop her, but I don''t want her quitting in the middle of things.

I was speaking to hubby about this yesterday. He mentioned to me that my uncle asked my daughter a few weeks back what she knew about HIV and AIDS. He told my hubby that by the age of 6, she should know everything about it. Hubby said he told my uncle that she has parents to teach her about such stuff. And we think she needs to be a little more mature for certain information.

I recall my uncle recently mentioning how they always find condoms in his 24 year old son''s pockets when doing washing. I was apalled that he thinks it is okay for his son to sleep around because he uses condoms. He should really speak to his son about having one partner.

Sorry guys, I am going on. But I find it hard to tell this uncle off when I know he will,get offended. He sulks for little things.

Recently my daughter said she wanted 2 minute noodles for dinner. I know my child very well and when it is time for bed, she will say she is hungry and needs something to eat. So I told her that she can have chicken and salad instead. I dished out her supper. Uncle goes and makes her noodles and then moves my plate aside and gives her the noodles. I took away the noodles and told her to have her supper. He asked me what si wrong with children having noodles for a meal.

I told him that after a day at school, she needs one good meal. And noodles are high GI and she will be hungry when she goes to bed. He got angry with me and went to bed and didn''t talk to hubby or I for a day or two.

Reply to Crinkle
Posted by: Purple | 2010/11/17

I don''t think you are being too hard on your child, limiting TV time is just good parenting.

However, there does need to be a balance between academic work, sport, organised activities and free play - they are all important parts of childhood - as is some time to just sit and have down time in front of a cartoon, as well as special time alone with each parent to be read a story or sing a song or play a board game together as a family.

With the violin, what are the intentions with her learning to play? At this young age, its important to foster enjoyment which will make her want to stick with it and practice as she progresses. Is one 15 minute practice session a week and one lesson a week not sufficient at this stage, otherwise she might get put off and not want to carry on.
Giving her a month to think about it at this age won''t have helped much as her thinking is not yet that long term and she can''t see consequences that far in advance.
My son is the same age and wants to try every sport that exists. I let him select a few (karate, soccer and tennis) and then he is not allowed to give something up in the middle of a term, so if he decides he doesn''t like it, he needs to stick it out unti lthe end of the term.
He''s stuck with all three since he was 4 years old.
We don''t practice inbetween at all, however, he has a tennis tournament coming up so he''s been of his own accord hitting balls agains the wall at home. He now has to learn kata for karate, so on the days when he doesn''t have training, he is practicing that (without being forced to, I just remind him that he should go through it once or twice and he goes off and does it most times - but only in the two weeks before grading, otherwise he just won''t).

The message you are teaching her is important, but don''t let it get lost in the fighting about practicing.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Crinkle | 2010/11/17

Thank you Maria and Kitty. Maria I am glad someone thinks the way I do. I certainly believe tv makes a child lazy. And I appreciate Kitty for wishing she had parents like us. I started feeling like monster mom. But my child has potential and I don''t want her to waste it. I want my child to be a well rounded individual.

I grew up without tv and I read instead and boy am I glad for this. I have younger brothers and none of them have ever read a book. The eldest is 24 and he is a total failure. He has never completed any study that he has started, claiming everything is too hard and he can never keep a job. Works for a few mths and either gets fired or resigns. As for the younger one, he is varsity but is a s clueless as anything. My youngest brother, who like the other 2, is a total tv addict, doesn''t know what he is going to do when he finishes school. My brothers grew up without that discipline and were allowed to spend hours in fron of the tv. They never miss Days of our lives, Bold and Beautiful or Generations.

They never participated in sports or any activities. They came home and watched tv. My mother also didn''t think they needed to be pushed - like her brother I suppose.

I see how my brothers have turned out and I don''t want my child to be like this. I want her to be like me. I never had the opportunity to learn any instrument other than the recorder. Couldn''t get my parents to send me to piano lessons. I want my child to have as many opportunities as possible. And she is not living my dreams. She makes the choice and mum and dad pay for it. She has already told her dad she is doing gymnastics next year.

Reply to Crinkle
Posted by: Liza | 2010/11/17

I would suggest that you don''t force her to practice. Tell her that if she doesn''t want to practice, that you will no longer send her for lessons.

Other than that - the uncle is the crazy one. I bet the kids at his house are also ill-mannered and spoiled. Children need boundaries to develop in well-balanced adults. What you are doing is creating a secure environment for your daughter to grow up in. Sending her for dancing lessons might be a good idea (if she''s interested). Exposing children to different age-relevant things increase their life experience which only helps them in future.

Good Luck
Liza

Reply to Liza
Posted by: Kitty | 2010/11/17

Anon, I''m 27 now, and recently started learning to play the guitar. I wish I had done it when I was much younger, but I didn''t have parents like you. I would''ve given anything to have had my parents who would force me to learn and to play. You know, sometimes children do not realise these things, but believe me, if you can see that she''s got the talent, sometimes you need to be hard on them, cos yes, cartoons are much more fun. And no matter how angry she gets, sometimes you have to bear with her you know? she''s still young. When she''s sitting in the orchestra one day, playing the violin like a pro, she''ll thank you for what you did. I wish my parents could have done it when I was young. And don''t let her brain rot away watching cartoons, music is very good for them, and she''ll learn dicipline from a young age.

Reply to Kitty
Posted by: Maria | 2010/11/17

My daughter is 8. She also nagged and nagged to play violin or guitar. I told her she can start with recorder, if she can prove to me she will practice diligently, then we can look at a more expensive instrument. I believe if they want to do something they must stick to it for at least a term, and everybody who ever learnt to play an instrument had their moms on their case, including me! I''m glad for it today.

As for tv... no tv in our house during the week, and limited hours over weekends. TV makes children lazy, it requires no imagination or physical activity. My daughter can keep herself occupied drawing, playing lego''s, reading, building puzzles etc. She comes up with the most imaginitive stories and drawing, none of which would have happened if we allowed her to veg out in front of the tv for hours on end.

Post on the parenting forum as well to see what other parents think. And don''t let the uncle dictate to you - he is not her parent!

Reply to Maria
Posted by: PMS | 2010/11/17

I think that at this age kids are undecided about what they really want to do, so they try out different things until they find what they enjoy. So in my opinion you should not force her to play the violen if she does not want to. Yes, they need to be disciplined with school and homework as this is important and they need to know it from the beginning. Nothing wrong with watchin TV - everything in moderation. I think you need to relax a little and let your child be a child!

Reply to PMS
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/11/17

A child can indeed decide they really want to play a musical instrument properly, or that they prefer to play and watch TV - they can't do both. Without practice, becoming even moderately adept at any musical instrument is an unrealistic aim.

Without SELF-discipline and a good deal of practice, it won't work. Uncle sounds like a bad influence - is he enormously wealthy and devoted to supporting her for the rest of her life ? Or does he imagine that a kid with modest abilities to dance or play school sposts can support herself ? If he thinks she suffers from insufficient cartoons, then he is wildly unrealistic. Has he made a triumphant success of his own life ? I hear nothing at all crazy or unrealistic about you.

Everything needs to be in moderation, and it is a form of child abuse to teach a child that doing nothing except whatever you enjoy is enough for life.

I agree with Liza - there's sense in encouraging and reminding a child learnin an instrument, to do the essential practise - but there's no point in tryiong to force her to pracice. If she's not prepared to do so, stop the lessons and sell the instrument.

Congratulations on being an excellent parent. Why doesn't uncle go back to ruining his own kids ?

Reply to cybershrink

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