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I Don’t Like Writing!

I Don't Like WritingI don’t like writing!

How many times have you heard this?  I hear this quite often especially from Emma.  It is school holidays in Victoria, Australia and Emma brought home a letter writing sheet to do.

I did all the warnings before saying that we were going to do the sheet and prior to completing the task she was looking forward to doing it and she kept reminding me that she had not done it yet.

Nevertheless, today was the day and goodness I copped the “I don’t like writing” both barrels.  She threw herself under the table and just started saying “NO I’m not doing it.”  I took the tact of reminding her that her writing is lovely and I searched for examples of how neat her writing actually is.  She has had lots of help from her Occupational Therapist and we do it also at home.

She got up on the chair again, looked at the work and yelled “I don’t like writing.”  She proceeded to throw the sheet and pencil and gave me an angry look.  I thought to myself “no I am not going to reprimand her for throwing things” and just said “what is up?”  She looked at me with daggers and said “I don’t like writing” and she went and curled up on the small trampoline.  I watched her heavy breathing and debated to leave it or keep going.”

So I asked her “what are you having difficulty with (in regards to writing)?”

Her reply:  “I can’t write the letters.”

So then I asked “Is it that you don’t know where to start the letters?”

She gave me the mum don’t be stupid look and yelled back “I don’t like writing!”

We sat there for about 30 seconds in silence and all I could hear was her hard breathing.

Then I said “what do you need”

She then said quite calmly “I need Jessie.” Jessie is our Golden Retriever.

I then asked her “Will Jessie help you to write or calm down?”

She said “to calm down”.

Now I do not know who is harder to call to come here, the girls or the dog.  Ten times she had to be called.  So then Emma then spent some time patting the dog.  Then she was willing to get back up on the chair. Emma commenced doing the writing task and then threw the pencil again. “I don’t like writing” she yelled.

I asked her “what is hard?”

Emma replied “I can’t do the lower case letters.”

By the end of the first line, Emma gained her confidence and completed the sheet and was happy with her work.  She even showed Dad when he arrived home.

Instead of imposing adult consequences on Emma which I knew were only going to make things worse, I simply started asking her questions to find out what was causing the behaviour.  I already knew that she could do it as even her teacher made a comment to me about how neat her writing had become.  But I needed Emma to voice what the issue is.  Together we helped each other through the task and both of our needs were met.  Emma completed the task and for Emma she was proud with her work.

She had to complete the other side as well and when I said it was time to do the task off she went and completed it.  There are always reasons for behaviours and instead of assuming what the problem was from an adult perspective, I had to find out what was so hard from her perspective.