Ever since Gavin was little, I have thought about homeschooling him. Even though I eventually sent him to playschool, I still continue to do activities and programs with him at home through a form of “semi” homeschooling. Lately, however, I am beginning to realise that Gavin learns better from others than he does from me – at least, this is the case for now. Yes, as hard as it is to come to terms with that, I think I have finally accepted it.
When he was little, I tried to teach him to swim but eventually gave up because we made so little progress. I figured that he was just too timid for the water. Then his uncle stepped in and they made more progress in one day than I did in the entire time I tried to teach him.
Gavin turned 4 at the start of the year which meant he was suppose to move to the Pre-school 1 class at Heguru but I allowed him to continue in the Toddler class because he didn’t want to “go by himself”. Recently, I sent him to a replacement class that coincided with Gareth’s class so he attended class by himself. When I asked the sensei how it went, she told me that he was actually much better in class without me being present. So for his final Toddler class, I let him go in alone and I peeked in through the window and saw that it was true. He was so much more cooperative compared to when I sit in class with him!
Last Friday, Gavin had his first art class. I stayed to observe. It started well, but ended up with him experimenting with paints on the canvas. Yesterday, I let him attend art class on his own and from the sounds of it, he painted a lot better without me being around.
Earlier in the week, we were at the Jigsaw Puzzle shop in 1Utama and Gavin begged me to buy him a 1000 piece jigsaw of the Metamorphosis of Mickey. Seeing that it was a 1000 pieces, I was hesitant because I thought it would be too hard. Since they didn’t have a smaller size for that picture, he pleaded and pleaded until I caved. I figured that the pattern could be easily broken down to make the puzzle easier so I was sure he could work it out with some guidance.
We started working on the jigsaw and he kept insisting that I had to help him. When I started helping him, he started to disappear to do other things – play with his trains, watch TV, annoy his brother… I had to keep reminding him that he promised to work on it. No matter how easy I made it for him, he would always complain it was too hard. Yet, when I left him alone to work on it, he could always finish all the tasks I set. Unfortunately, the moment I came back, he would start to feign helplessness again.
It’s gotten to the point that he complains he can’t put on his own socks and I realise what the problem is. He’s vying for the attention I give his brother when I help Gareth with his socks, towel him down after a shower, put on his clothes, carry him, etc. It is like Gavin is afraid to demonstrate too much independence around me because he wants to be babied like his brother. It has been a difficult road to navigate because the more I push him towards independence, the more “helpless” he becomes.
I’m just wondering, is there something that can be done about it or is it a phase that I’m going to have to wait out until Gareth is old enough to handle most things on his own?
I’ve been easing off on our home activities because I feel like I have to get behind him and push all the time or he won’t do anything. I hate how naggy I’m starting to sound, not to mention his whininess about how he “can’t do it” is also driving me up the wall. It’s hard not to feel upset that he does so well with other people and collapses into a helpless heap in front of me. When I send Gavin off to classes, I hear from the teachers how well he does and how capable he is. It’s like I don’t even know the person they’re talking about.
So tell me, do you have an older child that behaves like this? Have you been through this experience before? How did you get past it? Did your child just grow out of it?