Monday, September 15, 2008

Soccer Buddy Birthday Girl and Encouraging My Own

Gracie spent Sunday afternoon celebrating a soccer buddy's birthday -- her new friend Eva turned seven. This is Gracie's first season on a team, and Sunday was her first team party. It was also the first time she expressed any concern of being embarrassed in front of others, and that disturbed me in every way possible.

Gracie is my self-confident child. She's never cared what people think of her, and laughs at her mistakes. Lately, though, she's begun asking me not to share her faux pas (not even with her dad) because my retelling will embarrass her. On Sunday, she was concerned her teammates would laugh at her because she's not very skilled at skating just yet. I assured her that they wouldn't laugh, but rather, they would likely be concerned about their own abilities. Still, she was troubled.

We started her on the same four-wheeled skates we used at homeschool skating party, but the manager caught us to say the inline skates were easier to learn on. Gracie was reluctant to try the inlines. I insisted hoping they'd be the miracle he promised, but she struggled. She actually didn't struggle on the skates -- they did seem easier to manage -- instead, she struggled with the fact that the manager noticed she was an inexperienced skater. She outright refused to give the skates a chance.

We didn't have long in the rink before we were called to the party, and there, Gracie's attitude improved. She watched all her little friends struggle across the tile, and when she saw she wasn't alone, she instantly felt more confident and comfortable. She enjoyed hot dogs and birthday cake and made her way to the middle during gift time. She played skee-ball and air hockey with her teammates. She even did the hokey pokey and played red light/green light on her skates without falling down. She made it around the rink one time and a half before she realized what she was doing and decided she was ready to go home.

As for her wavering confidence level, I think this transition is normal. However, instead of just accepting this change and letting it take her wherever it will, I've decided to be more purposeful about encouraging her and uplifting her. What about you -- how have you encouraged your little girl? Any suggested resources?

Is it just me,
or is my daughter a head above her peers?


  • Christy

    Chelsea became more self conscious around the age of 7 or 8 when girls were beginning to form cliques and excluding certain classmates. It's a tough time to go through but Chelsea learned to embrace her differences. She was the president and founding member of the Dorky Eight year-old club.

  • Randi

    Yep, she's tall! That's a tough age and I saw the same things in Kennedy ... and still do at times. I think encouragement is the key ... if home feels safe and gives her confidence, it'll translate to the outside world.

  • amy

    (psst... hey, Amanda - you're not exactly short either!) :)

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