Saturday, January 23, 2010

Willful, stubborn, bullheaded and smart

I've been working with Little Guy on the fundamentals of writing.  Things like how to hold a pencil, how hard to press on paper, the basic of basics. We've been working on tracing in his workbooks and he likes to count the lines as he traces them, but he gets bored with it easily.  Yesterday, after trying to get him to trace the final group of diagonal lines, I put the workbook away and gave him some paper to draw on.  He proceeded to draw letters out on his own. 

They were a stereotypical large and childish attempt at letters, but you could see what letters they were.  And while I am proud of him, this concerns me for a number of reasons.  I am thrilled my son is smart, I am thrilled that he catches on and figures things out quickly. But his dad and I are smart too, and I recognize the dangers of things coming so easily.  Already I can see some of the more treacherous aspects coming through. 

When he tried to write a word out and realized he couldn't, he got frustrated and tried to have me do it for him.  When I told him no, HE needed to work at it, he threw the pencil down and ran out of the room.  He's learning that, because he is a smart kid, things tend to come easily to him.  Unfortunately, he's also decided, like most smart people, that because so much comes so easily he doesn't want to waste time on the things that don't come easily.

He likes to read, he likes to draw, but if he can't get it right away, he doesn't want to wait.  That, unfortunately, he gets from me; a short attention span and a severe lack of patience.  He wants it and he wants it now, and if he can't have it now, the world will pay.  It is good that he is stubborn.  It is good that he is smart.  I just wish he hadn't inherited the character flaws. 

What I need to do is buckle down and make him work.  But I am also afraid that I will turn education into a punishment and he won't find enjoyment in it.  Finding some sort of balance between needing to work and enjoying the effort is difficult with a 4 year old.  And then I worry that I push him too hard.  He can count to 100, is reading some things all on his own, knows colors, letters, sounds, can sound out words and is no slouch in the imagination department either...  Am I pushing him too hard?  Or should I feed the beast and keep him working at it?  How do I make sure it's enjoyable without scaring him off?

Being a parent of a strong-willed, stubborn child is difficult.  Finding the path through those minefields is dangerous and exhausting.  As I tell him regularly, there's a reason why animals eat their young, he's lucky he's so skinny and worth keeping around. 

We took him to breakfast and then a trip to Barnes and Noble today.  I had finished A Clash of Kings and had to pick up the remaining two books of the series.  Normally, we'd hit the Bargain Books store, but they didn't carry the series and I needed the books. Right now, while I type up this entry, Big Guy is finishing up the last book in the Temraire series and then will likely pick up the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire. 

We've forced Little Guy into nap-time.  He's getting willful and fractious and that generally means he's tired.  Small wonder, since he went to bed at 1:30 this morning and was awake and excited before 9 am.  Soon, I'll snuggle back with my book, A Storm of Swords, and undoubtedly burn my way through that one as well.  Sadness for me when I finish it.  What will I do after I finish this series?  What shall I read next? 

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