As we were doing science narrations and I had both children together she gave me a half right answer after repeating her sisters answer multiple times. It was about where the the animals sleep during the hottest part of the desert day. I could see she had the information in her head. But it was being a slippery fish. You know what slippery fish are don't you? It's when you say "It's on the tip of my tongue" but you just can't remember.
So I tossed her a net and asked her a leading question. I was so sad I could see that oppositional behavior rising to the surface. Grrrrrr. Her whole countenance changed. *sigh* So I did the whole get down on their level. Asked to see her beautiful eyes and held her hands that were twisting and picking. I said "Why are you angry? Think about it, can you answer the question I just asked you?"
"Yes Mom I can, but I don't want to."
"So you don't want to get the answer right? Don't you see if you answer my question, it will help you remember where the animals sleep. It's a net for that slippery fish." She got that look in her eye you know the one *Picture a Light bulb over her head.* I could tell she had the answer!
But did she say the correct answer... Not right away. If a wall would have been handy I would have banged my head against it. Instead I asked her if she liked to get the answers right and how it made her feel... "Good." she replied. So getting them wrong is that the same "Good" feeling? "Umm not exactly." she mumbled looking at the floor. Ok then you have to ask your self how do you want to feel right now, Good or
The answer literally flew out of her mouth and landed on the floor flopping around. She babbled on how the animals hid under ground and some plugged the holes to keep the water in, and others stole old burrows.
I praised her to the high heavens. Always a dangerous thing to do as this could lead to bad behavior later on but As I watch her I'm wondering how hard her life must seem to her. Firstly she has trouble holding information in her head for any length of time. Secondly she has to fight against that oppostional mindset that she has due to her adoption. Thirdly I have to think twice Do I praise her because if I do it will lead to Mind blowing horrible behavior later on. Can I live with the consequences of praising her today, Can I live with not praising her???
Its so weird I have one who is like Arnold from Welcome Back Kotter. Squirming in her seat she knows the answer literally going Oooo Oooo pick me pick me... And one who often reminds me of Vinny Barbarino Who? What? Where?
I employed a technique from Arleta James, I praised her very specifically for the one thing, then said "I know when you get praise you tend to turn around and show me how bad you can be. It's OK I'm ready for it, in fact I'm expecting it. I'll still love you." It totally worked since she knew I was expecting it, she didn't do it. That's the way to make that mindset work for me. I've never seen a kid desire a low self worth so much. Its like she pursues it with a single focused mindset. *sigh*