Your child is playing, you see that finger going in the wrong place. Your teacher has specifically asked you to work on that. You go to try and correct or help your child, but they just get angry and won’t let you help. How will this ever work?
What to do when your child won’t let you help.
I think every Suzuki parent has this experience, so the first thing I want to say is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. For whatever reason, this is one of those things that parents feel is only their child.
It’s easy to look over at other families in your studio. You see the progress they are making and you think “that child must listen to all the suggestions the parents give.” Most likely that family is struggling with the same sort of resistance to help as well.
The first thing to realize is that you are not going to be able to control your child’s reaction to hearing they need to work on something. It’s similar to realizing that you can’t “make” your child go to sleep. However, there are many things that you can do to help. In the case of your child sleeping, you can make an environment that is conducive to sleep. You can provide a consistent routine, a peaceful space and a sense of security. All those factors will help your child go to sleep.
Similar to that, we can create a practice environment where a child feels like they are being heard.
A Child Needs to Feel Heard
One of the things you can do to make sure your practice goes smoothly is make sure they get a chance to play through without any interruptions. If they are playing through and have something they need to work on, decide (together when possible) what you’ll be working on before hand. Then stick with that one thing.
When a child gets to make choices in the practice about what skills they will be working on, they will get a sense of ownership over the activity they are participating in. If we are just telling them what to do, they will check out and lack that sense ownership.
Don’t Tell, Ask Questions
When deciding you can ask questions to make sure you child understands what they are working on. If I see a crooked bow, I might ask about the quality of tone and what we can do to fix it. When your child has identified the problem they will have a sense of accomplishment for what they worked on.
Rely On Your Notes and Your Teacher
Your teacher can often be a mediator when it comes to working with your child. If something isn’t going well, it’s always a good idea to bring it up in the lesson. I often spend lesson time talking to both the child and the parent about ways that we can help each other more.
I hope you feel like this is a problem that is common and easily remedied after this.
Thanks for joining me on this Adventure in Suzuki Parenting and happy practicing!