Saturday, July 19, 2008

I have a "people pleaser"


My 9-year-old, Chloe, is typical of her age: chatty, funny, opinionated, bossy, enthusiastic, really an all-round lovely little girl. Her problem? She feels the need to please. Normally that wouldn't be a terrible thing BUT ... she gets an idea that her dad and I have some kind of expectation and she has to "martyr" her way through to make us happy.

Example:

Chloe used to play baseball because her dad is Mr Coach and we own a training facility. She hated it, but got it into her head that she "had" to play or we'd be disappointed. So she went to the games and spent more time kicking sand and picking daisies than actually playing ball. We pulled her out and explained that she is only allowed to play if she were having fun.

The whole idea of sport is to enjoy it. It is not supposed to be some form of torture!

So to now:

Chloe plays hockey. She has since she was six and seemed to enjoy it. She is on the same team with her best friend and even plays 3on3 all summer long at her insistence. Yesterday she played. Yesterday I had had it ... up.to.here. with her lazy, lazy, lazy play. Why bother? It was sheer torture to get her ready to go and then when she gets there her whole attitude is disinterest and no fire. No fire at all.

We had a talk. She plays house league hockey (house league = a bit competitive but mostly developmental, very little pressure) because her best friend does, and she thinks because her brothers play that she should as well even though she hates it. (Claire, her big sister does not play hockey - just everything else.)

She spent this week at soccer camp, a camp she chose. Which she enjoys, I think. I asked her, she said she does, but I don't know if she's attending because she wants to attend or because she is filling some kind need to "make mama happy". How do I get it through her head that it doesn't make me happy for her to feel forced to do something. I don't care what she does BUT she has to participate in one sport (team or individual) and enjoy it. What that sport is doesn't really matter to me but she has to be active in something. At this point I'd even consider "tag" or "skipping" an acceptable alternative!

(As for non-sport: she is very active in musical theatre - singing, dancing, acting, etc. All of our kids choose one sport and one activity either for a year or by quarter, however they are set up.)

THE POINT: How do I get her to not "martyr" herself? It's painful to watch. Of my four, she is the only one who exhibits this trait. Do you have a people pleaser? Do they grow out of it?

Argh!

5 comments:

Raquel said...

My 11 yo DS is a people pleaser of a different kind. He is friendly to just about everyone. Plus, he is very polite. Not that I am complaining about his politeness becuase he can have his moments of rudeness.
As for sports, we gave him a choice and he picked swimming. I am just glad that he enjoys it.

Krissynae said...

What a great entry. You daughter sounds like an old soul. She does not want to inconvience someone or let them go on an adventure without someone by thier side.

Michelle said...

Great post Lee.

As for her growing out of it? Well, I'm a people pleaser too and I don't think I have - I'm trying, but gah - I just can't do it.

Maybe she needs to find a sport that is both team and individual - like swimming or tennis. Swimming has done wonders for my kids - they still have the team experience but enjoy trying to improve their time.

Good luck!

Lillian said...

Wow, that is a dilemma! It's also a lovely photo. She seems to be a caring soul.

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Debs said...

Your post hit a nerve with me as I am a people pleaser and I hate it because it prevents people getting to know the real me....not sure how or why i turned out like this but i would like to suggest that you ask a professional for some idea's here...if it gets out of hand it can cause many other issues later in life and soon enough we just dont know who we really are cos we are 'conforming'!! Good luck, it may not be so bad for Chloe in the long term...:)