I'm Missing Something with My DD

Updated on December 09, 2012
L.M. asks from Conneaut, OH
37 answers

I don't know how to relate to her. specifically how to help her with a project.

She is 7, the teacher assigned the kids to make a timeline of their life. The teacher sent a directions sheet sayign they could use photos, ticket stubs/memorbilia/drawings etc, what to include -milestone events like birth of a sibling, moving, big trips etc

First Dd decided to draw them, she enjoys drawing but isn't naturally talented at it. What ever i think photos would have looked better but it was her project, I suggested we look through the photo albums to remember some of the big things in her life.- she getes snotty, NO I want to draw, I ALREADY KNOW What i want to put on my timeline. I respond with a reminder bout how we speak to people. It was time to leave for something so we put it away.

My sis babysits her and i suggest they work on it, but i tell her she has to make her drawing on plain paper first and then glue that on to the paper the teacher sent home. DD grumbles but when we come home she has her events drawn.
She was already in bed but i stuggled with whether or not to point out that she over looked some major things and instead focused on odd things that were not big milestones. but i decided it was her project so i never said anything.

we worked on it on and off, she argued with me about gluing them in a straight line she wanted to make a peace sign out of her 5 4x5 drawings? time LINE? her dad convinced her a line would be better.

tonight i suggested she make a title for her time line like the teacher requires in the direction sheet, she argued with me about that and was crying because i said Linsey's TRavels is not exactly what the point of the time line is, the teacher even says a TIme line of your life the drawing she made 2 were of trips the other 3 were not, so that didn't even make sense in any form.

I"m just done tonight, I don't know if i really should just butt out and if she misses the whole concept of the time line then so be it??? I saw the ones the kids did last year when we were in for a conference, and i remember because there were tons of sweet baby photos and it was so cool to see how the kids grew and what interesting things had happened to them.

I know the teacher has showed her a few examples too. so it isn't like dd doesn't know what to do? I don';t think??

She is cantankerous about sooo many things, If my kids wanted to pick out their own outfits I would let them, I give choiced carrots or green beans for dinner, I had 10 yrs experience teaching preschool. I"m a pretty flexible Non type A person. but i just don't know how to get her to cooperate..

would family counsling help AM i doing something wrong. She said I hate her because i didn't like her title Linsey's travels WTH???

How to you get people to accept ... I hate to call it constructive critism because it isn't a critism it's brainstorming ideas and then choosing instead of blindly jumping at your first thought and sticking with it like a dog with a bone.


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So What Happened?

If i were going to do her project for her, it would have happened and i never would have posted that i am struggling with this.

I completely understand the pink bunny and the black mask stories, I truly truly get those, I am trained to say " so tell my why you chose pink for your bunny?" or as the other mom did, " oh i notice we have these lovely colored feathers over here, would you like to use those on your mask?"

So aparently, We need to work on some system where she can say, I"ve got this mom. i'll show you when i'm done. AND then Yes suffer the consequences at school, because she is able to work at a higher standard than she did.
And in our family grades at this level do matter. They aren't the end of the world, they are ways to show the teachers and parents where a child didn't get it or what they need to be shown a different way, but grades MOST certainly DO matter.

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answers from Detroit on

As tough as it may be, I would let her do it her way, let it be HER work, instead of being one of those parents who jump in and do the whole thing themselves. Then if it isn't exactly what the teacher had in mind, let the chips fall where they may and let her hear it from the teacher herself. Maybe she's just thinking "outside the box."

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You are really going to be in a pickle in a few years when she doesn't want any help with a science project, physics test or term paper.

It's silly for you to be so tied up in knots over this. Let her do it and be thankful she doesn't have to be babied through the whole thing like some kids. She has a mind of her own and she's using it. Good for her!

Linsey's Travels sounds ok to me, because it could refer to her travel through life...... Just a thought.

My advice? Butt out and be thankful she's doing it on her own. Let her get the grade she deserves. It's not a big deal! She's 7! It's a great learning experience for her... and for you as well. Because you need to learn that not everything is such a big deal and she will be fine on her own.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It was her project. If she gets a low grade on it then she gets the consequences she deserves.

I suggest that once she stated she had it under control that you just let it drop. Sounds like she doesn't want any help with homework or projects.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

You aren't missing anything mama... You know the answer to this one. You had a vision of her project because of the one you saw on the wall and you really wanted her to "get" the concept of the timeline. But you already know you need to "butt out" as you put it.

So what if the teacher gave examples of what it's "supposed" to look like. She has her own idea of HER timeline of HER life. Let her do it... and be proud of the finished project, instead of criticizing how you think she should do it. Leave her alone. Tell her "it sounds like you have an idea of how you want this to look, so go ahead and work on it and let me know if you need any help." IF she asks for help, ask her questions rather than telling her what she SHOULD do.

To her it is criticizing and it's not constructive. I second the book "How to Talk So YOur Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk."

I have found that 7 year olds are nothing like preschool kids, so that experience won't help you much. You might take a closer look at how and why you want to control things like this, because there will be many many more times when what she wants and thinks is best will not match yours. Sometimes it does require stepping in and saying "No, it's not ok to do it that way..." but most times it means allowing her to experience and learn by natural consequences. Our need to react in ways like this usually points to something in ourselves that is unresolved.

Which would you rather have... a daughter who turns in a project that is original and that she's proud of, but she misses a concept. Or a daughter who hates her project because it's been criticized and now even if it's how she wanted to do it, she's upset because it's not good enough (per you).

I'm not trying to be harsh, just offering her perspective as a 7 year old. She's trying to find her way and she's absorbing and observing information outside of you. Let her figure it out, and be her greatest supporter. You'll keep your lines of communication open as she grows because she'll know that you "get" her and trust her instincts. She'll respect you because you respect her choices, even when you don't agree.

Good luck~

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest that you're too involved in her project. I tried the same thing with my granddaughter on a similar project. She did it her way. I felt frustrated because the project excited me and I thought she could do a much better job. She received a good grade on the project. I, then, realized that my way of doing the project was too old for her.

She's only 7. She has had no experience in doing projects. She has to learn how to do them on her own in her own way. The way she rejected your ideas has nothing to do with how she feels about you. She still loves you and she'll still be close with you except when you try to take over her projects.

It would seem that this would be fun project to do together. But, for her it wasn't. Try to respect her boundaries and let her lead.

Later after your SWH: Are you saying that grades matter or that doing your best matters and grades show when you've done your best? I suggest that grades can be arbitrary and frequently do not show that the child has done their best. I also suggest that sloppy may be their best. Many factors play into an assignment. I suggest that she was learning how to plan, organize, and be creative. She won't be as good as you at doing those things. She has to have room to make mistakes in order to learn how to do those things.

Please let us know what the teacher's evaluation is on this project.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My oldest would come home from school with projects and I wanted so badly to do exactly what you're doing to your daughter, but I had learned that it's best to butt out and let them do it the way they feel is best. As someone else said, if they fail, it's not the end of the world and won't affect the rest of their lives.

I would go to the Fiesta Float Parade they have at school. The kids all have to create a float that they pull through the hallways to celebrate Fiesta. I would let the kids do what they wanted, and only help with things they shouldn't/couldn't do. Every year I sat there and watched float after float that the child's parents obviously made. You could see which ones the kids did, and which the parents did. One year, one of the teachers told me that she was so glad that I let the kids do it, instead of doing it for them. She went on to tell me that my kids were a joy to have in class. Every year I have teacher after teacher tell me that they love having my kids because they think for themselves and don't follow what other kids are saying/doing. They tell me that they think my kids will succeed in life, and go far, because I don't step all over them and hover over them. I let them fail so they know what that feels like, and how to get over it.

Step back and let your kid do what she feels is right for the project. If she fails, then explain to her why she failed. If she gets a good grade, then praise her. Either way, she will feel as though she accomplished something and did it on her own.

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

She's only 7....... the teacher isn't going to expect perfection!

Too many time parents end up making it "their" project, instead of seeing what the child can do......

Frankly, you should have let her do it the way she wanted to do.... what is wrong with the title of "Lindsey's travels"? That is how she has "traveled" through life, and that is what she saw. To her, the events she chose were the important events.

All I would have done is say.. "Let's look at what the teacher wants on this project. You need to have a title..... you need to have 5 events" ....

So what if she wanted it in the shape of a peace sign? I'm sure she could have figured out how to do it... frankly, a straight line timeline tends to be boring.... I've seen some really cute ones that look like a path or road, wandering all over the page. A class I worked with this year did a timeline, and the teacher said to mark the points as "high points" and "low points" .... one student used balloons for each event, another used notes on a piano score to highlight the events.... so very creative!

I work in a middle school, and when you give the kids a chance to be creative, it is amazing what they come up with, misspellings and all!

Also.... at age 7, kids don't see your "correcting" as constructive criticism... they just see it as criticizing their project they worked so hard on!

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Lilly, I mean this kindly but BUTT OUT already! It's HER project. She sounds like she has definite ideas about what she wanted to do and how she wanted to do it. She's 7. So what if she did a peace sign instead of a line? Good for her, she's creative! So what if some of the stuff was about travel and not traditional milestones stuff...it's what she recalls as being important in her little 7 year old head. And calling it Travels sounds very apt to me as we think of life as a journey, right?

Honestly, who cares if she doesn't follow every darn rule of the project? She's at an age when grades don't matter and I think any teacher worthy of the job would be able to recognize that she planned it and would reward her creativity and effort. My middle son is 8 and has very definite ideas about his projects. Some of them are way off the mark, but he takes ownership of them, which is more than a lot of kids do. This is between her and her teacher. Let her do her project the way she wants to and stay out of it!

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

OK - one thing that is a pet peeve of mine, and that I am trying to fight against with my son is the PARENT doing the project. It is so hard to not want to do it for them. I find it upsetting when a project is done and it's totally obvious that the kid didn't do anything but put their name on it. Your daughter wanted to do the project her way.

It sounds like she got the gist of it, but did it with things that SHE was interested on focusing on in her timeline. She is only 7 years old - constructive criticism just sounds like "you don't like my stuff". Heck, many adults fall apart from constructive criticism, so to her it feels bad when you are correcting or suggesting something different for everything she wanted to do. She's hearing that you don't like what she is doing and you think it's wrong - even though you are telling yourself "It's her project", you are thinking "but I know a better way to do it."

Maybe for the next project, instead of making "suggestions", ask her questions on the how's, why's, etc., so she can think her way through the best way to do it. But let it still be her way.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I agree with the others. Just let her turn it in the way she created it. I ran into a similar problem when our six-year-old was to decorate a scarecrow cutout for school. There were a million things she could have done and she's normally so artsy, but she chose to use markers and crayon. I had to pull myself back from it all and just let her turn it in as she envisioned it.

I am SO glad I did! Another friend's mom posted her daughter's scarecrow on Facebook and it was clear the mom did all of the work. It was like a scrapbooker's masterpiece. I was really proud my daughter did her own work.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

If I were your daughter, I would be upset too. Let her be herself. She is only 7. It is her life, not yours. She wanted to draw the events in her life that were important to her. It is a project about her life. I thought the idea to arrange her drawings in a peace sign showed wonderful creativity. Did the teacher specifically tell her that it had to be arranged in a line? You know she could draw arrows pointing in the direction her drawings go chronologically. I see nothing wrong with her title either. Through the project she is showing her journey. Aren't we all travelling through life? I don't think she needs counseling, but you trying to take away her creativity might cause her to need it in the future. She is just trying her best to get her mother to listen and accept her for who she is. Perhaps she tried nicely, but you didn't respond. So you interpreted her emphasing what she wanted as being snotty. Her project doesn't have to be perfect according to your interpretation of her homework.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was in second grade, I was asked to do a report on my favorite history story. We were to bring puppets and present it as a play. I chose Besty Ross and the story of the American flag. I wanted to make my own puppet out of an old sock and to draw the flag on some hard cardboard. It wasn't good enough for my mom. She went out and bought a pattern for making hand puppets. Then she sewed a Betsy Ross puppet with a cloth flag for me to use for my presentation. Some kids just made paper clothes and masks and put on their monkey puppet, or whatever they had. Some kids made paper bag puppets. Some used magazine pictures to make their puppets. The puppet wasn't what we were graded on, but my mother took the fun creative part of the homework assignment away from me. I got a good grade on the assignment, but I was so sad that some of the other kids had fun making their own puppets. Then, when I was in third grade, I was asked to do a presentation for science class. My uncle who lived with us had just had eye surgery using laser treatment. I was so interested in lasers and holograms. I found a couple of books at the library, and started my project. My mother kept offereing her opinion, and finally she ended up telling me how to do the project. I just wanted to do it my way. I got a good grade, but I never felt like I had accomplished it on my own. Every time you try to force your opinion on her when she has her own ideas that are not maybe what or how you would do the assignment, you are telling your daughter that you do not think she is smart enough, creative enough, etc. on her own. Kids need to fail sometimes. They need a parent who is willing to help them get through failure. That is how she will gain a healthy self-esteem.

Please stop squashing her creativity. Support her. Encourage her. I think you need to let her have a little more control over her own decisions. You are having trouble communicating with her, because you are stuck in your own opinions of what is considered good for her project. Listen to her. Sometimes kids are meant to push the teacher some as well. Let your daughter be different. Let her be herself!

ETA: You said you didn't know if you should just butt out. I think you already know that answer. Sometimes parents get caught up in the idea that if their child makes a mistake and fails it is a direct reflection on how good a parent you are. Failure and making mistakes are part of everyday life. Being a good parent is helping your child learn to cope with failure and how to fix a mistake. If I were in your shoes I would try to show your daughter you want to listen to her ideas. If she hasn't turned it in yet, I would let her do her project again the way she wants. I would apologize to her for not listening. If she has turned it in, I would probably go to the teacher and explain what you have asked here. I would ask the teacher to let your daughter do the project again on her own and not to punish her for your overstepping on your daughter's creativity. If you do that, your daughter will learn a couple of very important lessons; She will learn to admit graceously to making a mistake, how to right a wrong, to be proud of herself, and that you support her no matter what happens. That will open doors for being able to communicate better with her in the future.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Teachers totally know when the child has done the project on their own and when the parents stepped in and did it for the child. Stop trying to make her do the project the way you would like it to be and let her create her own project. It won't be perfect but it will be hers. Just run down the list of requirements again with her and make sure she has all the things the teacher requested.

My kids use to do their own projects and they were usually the worst quality in the classroom. One time at open house they had all the projects hanging up and one of the parents made a comment about how terrible my child's was. I asked which one belonged to her child (not indicating that she was pointing out my child's work) and she pointed to a perfect one. I said that I wasn't all that impressed because certainly a couple 30 something yr olds could have done a lot better. I told her that maybe she'd better take a couple art classes so she could produce a better quality of work for the next project that her 6 yr old was doing. The teacher laugh and thanked me after the couple left in a huff.

If you want a perfect timeline then put together a book about her as a project the two of you can work on together.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Something I have learned with my head strong 9 yo daughter--this is HER project to do, and she is going to have to live with the consequences, good or bad. I will offer to help her, and make suggestions, but ultimately it is up to her whether she will accept them. If she is working on the project (usually she does it right away), then I have to step back and let her learn unless she asks for help. I find it annoying to see projects come into school that are obviously the parents' project and not the kids. Let her do it her way and ask her if she wants you to read through the directions. If not, let it go.

And she is 7. And to her, those trips are the major events of her life. The baby pics you mention are YOUR major events, not really hers. You would be amazed at what her class mates projects look will come in and what titles they will use. I think at that age they just like to go with what they come up with, and honestly, "linsey's travels" for a timeline isn't too bad for a 7 yo. Heck, when I asked my 6 year old what his favorite food was last night, the told me Blue's Clues. He also did a school project saying he is thankful for fish that swim to York. WTH? who knows. Bottom line. Let it go. Nothing is wrong with either of you. certainly no need for counseling.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My sister still remembers when her Kindergarten teacher got mad at her for coloring a bunny pink. Because "Bunnies AREN'T PINK". Luckily she was headstrong enough to know that she was (is) creative and did it her own way.

Have you read the book "How to Talk so Kids will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk"? It's an easy-to-read but great book about communicating with children. One of the tips has to do with asking questions of them instead of telling them. That could be useful in relating to your daughter. I've found it very helpful with my very stubborn and creative 10 year-old daughter!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sounds like you have a little traveler who considers her travels to be the milestones of her life! To a 7 year old, they have always been here and don't recall being born, so maybe that's not as big a milestone to them as it is to their parents. Who knows? I'd say to let her do it using the milestones she wants, the medium she wants and with the title she wants. Life is a journey...so is referring to it as "travels" really so wrong? I kind of like the title. As long as she has a title, which is the requirement, I'd let it go. Let her make a project that she owns and is proud of having completed. Bask in the glow of knowing the memories that you've made with her that she considers important enough to be "milestones" in her young life. Those aren't just things that are memorable just by having occured being born, having siblings born, etc) but were events that your family made memorable for her.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

The teachers know when they get a project that was made by the STUDENT and what was made by the PARENT.
Let your daughter do her own timeline. It's hers. She will take pride in what SHE does.
If you are trying to guide her and she is not willing to be guided, I say butt out. I KNOW it's hard. I have a son who wants to do it his way or no way. And even if I know it's probably not what the teacher is looking for I let him do it his way. His teacher can let him know if she was looking for something else.
Really and truly....let her do it herself.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Holy cow!
She sounds super creative--from the drawings, to the peace sign configuration (which I'm sad you put the kybosh on!), to the title.
She's 7.
It's not an MCAT exam!
It's a kid's timeline.
Mums the word about her "missing big events."
The thing is--you want her to gain confidence in doing these projects on her own.
She asked you several times to let her do it her way.
Congratulations--YOUR timeline is done !

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Counseling over a 7 year old's timeline??? Absolutely not. You were correct when you asked if you should butt out. YES.

I remember when my oldest did that project, and I helped him get photos and stuff, but I can tell you that you absolutely should let your daughter do this the way she wants. Why would you squelch her creativity? If she wants it in a peace sign, then that's what she should do. If she wants to draw it, she should do that. Stop putting her in a box.

If her teacher has handed her a sheet with specific guidelines, (that say "no peace signs") then point them out to her. But otherwise -- this is your daughter's homework, not yours.

Spoken from experience of micromanaging things that I shouldn't have.

p.s. - I completely concur with Victoria W's experience of not letting her son fail, and now he's not motivated. I had the same scenario.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Butt out, mom. You're making this about your feelings, and it shouldn't be. It's HER project, HER timeline, HER creativity. What you think looks better, feels better, aligns better...is only going to squash HER.

For what it's worth, I was your daughter. Now, my parents admire the work I do instead of instruct, criticize, and judge. I would have felt so much better about my self and abilities, if they had recognized that in my childhood. I never felt like I could be me, there were always questions, suggestions, "help," convincing, ideas, etc. Please, PLEASE don't continue doing this to your child. Every child should feel safe to be themselves and explore their minds and creativity, at home. I still struggle with deep resentment of my mother, especially.

Yes, you are missing something with your DD. She does not think like you. She does not see things the way you do. She is her own person.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

First of all, she is 7. If she gets an F on this, it will not scar her for life, nor affect her college admissions. I would, in fact, butt out. Let her do it her way. When her teacher deducts points for not following the rubric/directions, then she will learn that she isn't so special that she gets to ignore the instructions/requirements of the assignment. It will be well worth it.

But, if you keep forcing her to change it to comply with the expectations set by the teacher, she will not learn anything, except that you are a mean old mommy who made her not do what she wanted to do. Really.
She sounds really headstrong and opinionated, and that can serve her very well in the long run. But in the short run, she needs to learn that if she doesn't follow the rules and produce the assigned project, she will receive a grade commensurate with what she DID (or didn't do). And she will have to decide what is more important to her next time: showing her personality and doing it all her way, or following the instructions and intent of the project.
Good luck.

And step away, now. If you don't, it will only get harder to let her fail later on. Been there. Trust me. With one child I was right there... he is now unmotivated. With the 2nd one, I knew better, and she does ALL her own work, to the point that I don't even know when she has a project due, b/c she does them on her own at school or in her room, unbeknownst to me, or at the table with supplies from the kitchen drawer. Part of it is personality, but part of it is my fault for not letting my son fail, early on, and learn that lessons that come with that.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Oy, I have a couple of kids who can be like this . . .

18 and 15 years later, I have learned to accept their way of doing things. And guess what - they're pretty awesome!

I am gently suggesting that this is more important to your ego (your child doing the assignment correctly and beautifully) vs. your child's need to find her own way in the world. She will quickly learn where she can exert her own creativity and vision and where she cannot. But SHE has to have those growth experiences. Have faith in her ability to do that.

Ugh - hope that didn't come across harshly. I just empathize with you. And I wanted to share my experience . . . it does get better. And you may have one of those kids who really DOES change the world.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Please let her do the project herself, and of course offer to help and give ideas if she wants, needs it and/or asks for it.
But, really, she's seven, NOW is the time when she is learning how to do these things, let her learn!
It's not like grades matter at this age.
What matters more are the successes, AND failures, of her own efforts.
ETA: and the ones you saw done by the "kids" last year? Not likely, probably done by their mothers, trying to make their kids' projects look good and "cute." Blech!!! And the teacher can totally tell, I promise :(

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You need to back off. I would have let my daughter do it in a peace sign. She was excited and created and then you squashed it. It is one grade no one will remember years from now. If she wants to call it Linsey's travels let her. It is her project not yours. You might not like this but it appears you are a type A . It is not like she didnt want to work on it and you had to push her. Its not constructive critism its what you are doing. If you do not back off soon she will hate doing these types of projects. If her first though she wants to stick to again its her project. I would focus more on did she spell everything right and the sentences were full sentences and did it have all the items the teacher wanted.

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answers from St. Louis on

I think you need to step back and let her make her own mistakes (if that's what they are) and let her express herself the way she wants to. What is the harm if her timeline is not perfect? What is the worst that could happen? Why is it important for her to have the "right" title and the "right" linear approach when she is only 7 years old and this is inconsequential in the long run?

If she IS making mistakes, let the teacher point them out to her. That will preserve her relationship with you.

Finally, kids crave approval. I know when our son was learning to play an instrument, I started out correcting him and telling him the right way to do it. Then his instructor told me that each time I correct him, it's a blow to him and he feels like I don't love him. I know that sounds crazy, but that's how kids can interpret it when they create something and put themselves on the line - and get criticized (yes, it is criticism) for it.

Remember, she is 7 years old and she has a lot of learning to do. Let her learn. Step back. She will turn out OK, even if she doesn't do assignments perfectly.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

"How to you get people to accept ... I hate to call it constructive critism because it isn't a critism it's brainstorming ideas and then choosing instead of blindly jumping at your first thought and sticking with it like a dog with a bone."

Do you see how your own words there can apply to you, yourself?

You stuck doggedly with your vision of this project, which you probably will argue was the teacher's vision (or rather, the requirements on the project guidance sheet).

And it wasn't your child's vision.

Let her learn: Either she'll get praised for her creativity or she'll get dinged because she left off item number three or number seven from a list of project requirements. Next time have her sit down, read the entire list carefully and check off each requirement as she does it, then recheck at the end. That is all you can do. You deny this but you are not being at all the "flexible non-type-A person" you believe you are, and this is your learning experience too -- you're learning that you feel her work is a reflection on YOU so you want it to look "just so" and be what teacher wants.

You also secretly want a time line just like the ones you saw, with "sweet baby photos" all over them and what adults consider milestones -- not what a kid her age considers milestones. This isn't an album of her first seven years, which is how it is in your mind; it's her take on what mattered to her, and her sweet babyhood....doesn't matter, to her. The things she chose are her own choices.

This is a great time to learn that this is ONE of zilions of projects in her school life. If you can't learn to let go on this one , what will you do when it's a tough, complex one a few years down the road? Teach her to pay attention to the rules; provide all the materials she needs; ensure she knows and follows deadlines and works a little bit each day so she's not rushed; and let the rest -- the content -- be hers. You mean well, but this is a case for choosing battles and you didn't. Next time, let it go.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Sounds like you need to let her do her own homework, Mom.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i think it sounds like she was being very creative and was frustrated that no one "got it". just like you said....:)

i think all the examples you gave, were creative, outside-the-box ideas, that were just fine. the peace sign instead of "in a line" - cool! the title, well her life is a "journey" so - cool!

if the teacher doesn't "get it" or that's not what she was looking for (and i'd hope she'd take individual personality and creativity into consideration), then her grade will reflect it and you can address it then. yes, sometimes it's important to "conform" a little, to succeed. but creativity is a wonderful quality. so is stubbornness ;)

so yeah, i'm trying to say it nicer, but since you said it - i'd butt out. wish her well, tell her, on S. thought, it's actually a really great project and she worked SO hard on it - you love it. and let it go.

ETA: sue w's story reminded me of one from my kindergarten class. when i was in kindergarten we had two cats - a black one and a gray one. well we had a sheet we were supposed to color, with two cats on it. i remember very clearly that i had a box of crayons that didn't have gray in it, so i used black veeerrryy lightly on one cat, and then black veeerrryy dark on the other one. my teacher took off points because (in my fervor to make sure the difference was obvious) i was pushing so hard on the crayon that it got out of the lines quite a bit. i was so hurt that my teacher didn't "get it". and i STILL remember that. let her be mama :)

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answers from Baton Rouge on

It's HER project. Let her do it HER way, and if it's not what the teacher wants, the teacher will let her know. I did not get involved in my daughter's homework unless SHE asked me to help her, and then I did as little as possible.

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answers from New York on

I know how you feel but I also found things change. Next year she may be asking for your help all the time. So don't sweat little things like this. And I am a type A person... And r,ember this really is all about learning in a big picture way. Knowing how to do a timeline isn't impt. It's probably the process and in her case maybe seeing what other kids bring and how it compares to hers and then she will unconsciously process what she did "right" or "wrong". that's what these early years are for!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Leave her be.....she already said it is her project and she is right. Even if she doing it wrong you need to give her credit for doing it independently, yes, even if that means she is doing it wrong too. Kids learn from their mistakes so you are just gonna have to step back and let her be. Just be there for her if she falls to help pick her up and brush her off. And don't go into I told you so mode either, ask her what she thinks she could have done differently for next time. As she gets older, she will figure out that maybe you know what you are talking about from time to time. My 12yr old DD just did a science fair project that counted for most of her grade this period and she has learned that I know a few tricks. But for the most part I let her go, it's her project, I just give suggestions when I think something needed tweaking or when she asked for my help.

Be glad she has a strong will now, less likely she will crumble under peer pressure to jump off the bridge because little Sally said it was fun!


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answers from Reno on

When my son was in kindergarten he had to decorate a cut out of a little boy to represent himself, i suggested a karate uniform (he was in karate so it made sense) NO of course was the answer and he drew himself with shorts, t-shirt and scooter (which was his favorite outfit and thing to do over summer) i kept saying are you sure and he finally looked at me with his best 5 1/2 year old voice and said MOMMY this is me not YOU. whew wake up call. After the teacher hung them all up on the wall, i had to admit it was pretty cool because he did it by himself. She is fine, this is her timeline, how she sees her past and present. and it is her travels.
good luck to you

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answers from San Francisco on

Seems to me she had an idea of what she wanted to do and you kept telling her she was wrong and to do it your way. It is her project; she is the one who is taking it to school. It should be something SHE is proud of.

The milestones that you wanted her to include were important to YOU, but apparently they were not so important to her. I think from now on, you should ask her what her plan is. If she has one, your only role is to help her implement it. If she doesn't have a plan and asks for ideas, then you can brainstorm with her.

I think she's just independent and wants to do her projects HER way. Nothing wrong with that. It's her name on the project.

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answers from Dallas on

Sounds like your daughter is smart like you!

She needs to do it herself.
It's about doing things in sequence and following directions.
If she does it herself and does well, good, it's hers to own. If she doesn't follow directions and doesn't make a good grade, good, it's hers to own and process how she can get a better grade.

They've seen better and they've seen worse.
One time I volunteered for K art. All the kids were dong masks. They had everything at their disposal. My son comes in, paints his black. I keep asking if he would like some pretty color on it, No. Colored feathers? No.
He glued black feathers on it. It was the only one black. It was kind of cool.
The boys loved it. I shut up!

Edit after swh: I don't know how much you are being sarcastic. It's hard to tell on a post. I am glad you understand the black feathers thing. But it was really just to loosen up things. I know you care about grades. So did I.
I have one who will graduate summa cum laude from college this May. The other black mask child is in the top 5 percent of his HS graduating class. I know about grades. I also can look back and prioritize differently with greater perspective. Learning is at least as important as grades. Especially at this tender age. So your daughter is a bit cocky and stubborn. She will learn and will change her tune. She has the smarts and you need to trust her that with those smarts she will realize the errors she makes and will self correct. The world will always beat her down and try to change her and tell her she is not good enough. You need to be her advocate, her cheerleader, her confidant. Now I am thinking family counseling would be a good idea.

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answers from Kansas City on

At 7 years old I would say 'this is what the teacher wants for this project' and 'let's pick out which pictures to put on. Here is the pile now you pick the special ones you would like'. Something along those lines. Sometimes when given that much freedom kids can't handle it or do but not following the instructions which they also need to learn to do. Give her a choice or two things or so not just 'do it'.

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answers from Norfolk on

I think it is very, very important to let her take the lead on this project. In kindergarten, my son made a turkey out of a pine cone. It looked pretty awful, to tell you the truth. But it was HIS turkey, made HIS way, and that was why he was proud of it. When I was privately lamenting to my husband that I could have done a bang-up job on a pine cone turkey, he astutely pointed out that, at 38, OBVIOUSLY I could make an awesome turkey.
When you see school projects from other kids that look just a little too "perfect" you can bet your boots that mom and/or dad did a lot of the project. Those cute baby photos and stuff you saw on last year's timelines were the work of the parents, I guarantee it.
Let your daughter do it her way and receive the accompanying praise or criticism from her teacher. If she can learn at this young age to read instructions better and follow them more carefully, then that's a lesson learned pretty cheaply and better sooner than later.

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answers from Columbus on


Let her do it her way and then before she turns it in, go over the instructions with her so she can figure out if she missed anything.



answers from Miami on

What your daughter needs is to fail at something, Mama. It's better to let her fail now so she learns it by the time she is a teen.

Yes, I have totally bailed out my kids when they flubbed a school project or assignment. I've also let them screw up too. Because they knew that I would let them screw up, when I DID help them out, they appreciated it more.

If I were you, I'd send a note to the teacher, telling her what transpired. Tell her that you decided to let her teacher explain to her that she didn't go by the directions. Sometimes the teacher needs to be the "bad guy" and it's okay for you to tell her that. She will understand.

That being said, when my older son was in 4th grade, he could not seem to write his biography of someone whom he had to also give a presentation on. I had to help him write it. He was not pissy with me, I will say. He just couldn't seem to write this thing. It was a big assignment. I wrote the teacher and told her exactly how much help I gave him. She and I talked about it later - she told me that there is a school of thought that sees parents "scripting" for their kids (especially boys) for a while in school to be very helpful to them. In my son's case, she was right. I never had to script for him after 7th grade, and it was mostly for larger assignments. The last thing I did was help him shape a term paper in high school, by showing him how to move his paragraphs around so that they would flow better. He is in college now and writes lots of papers and makes very decent grades.

So, go ahead and make her do the work (like you did while she was being babysat.) But let her get a lower grade after she says she doesn't want help. When she brings a grade in and marks from the teacher about how she didn't do the assignment right, THEN tell her that next time, she should listen to her mother. Maybe she won't, but at least she will start to learn the lesson.

Btw, no, you all don't need family therapy. You just need to let her find out herself what happens when she doesn't follow the directions. And after teaching 10 years of preschool, I know you aren't being sarcastic. However, you have to remember that though kindergarten is a higher standard from preschool, you are jumping a little high by trying to help her plan through her projects. Let the teacher do that.

Good luck,

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