Jul 19, 2013

Shame in Her Eyes

So I'd say over the past 6 months or so, I have been anxious about some of my not-so-good parenting skills.  I've been worrying that I was pushing my daughter away.  As my daughter gets older, she becomes more in tune with social skills and what adults actually mean when they talk a certain  way.  Let me explain.  Imagine this scenario:
Taylor is sitting at the table eating her food, and I snap at her to close her mouth while eating (a huge pet peeve of mine) and say, "how many times do I have to tell you!" in an exasperated voice.....or......Taylor is dancing and accidentally knocks something over, and then I snap at her to watch what she's doing, and stop dancing around........or..........I'll tell Taylor to stop asking me questions she already knows the answers too, and then she would proceed to tell me, "what do you mean", and then I got annoyed thinking that she was just trying to annoy me....when in reality...she really didn't know.   Or even worse, we are out in public, and she does something that embarrasses me, and then I snap at her to stop acting a certain way, because I care more about what other people think about me, than my own daughter.  Shame on me.  I feel ashamed of myself.

I've realized that I expect WAY too much out of her.  She is only 5.  Sometimes I forget.  Sometimes she seems so mature to me and so intelligent that I expect her to be a certain way.
A thought occurred to me about 6 months ago.  It occurred to me that I may be  causing my daughter to lose trust in me.  That I was pushing  her away.  Pushing her away, so that when she really had something important to talk about, she wouldn't choose me to talk to.  I wept at the thought.   I started praying and begging for forgiveness.  I asked Him for help to be more patient, and to be a better mom.  I asked to be blessed with guidance, so that I could know how I should react when a hard circumstance hits.  I realized that sometimes I come across too harshly, and that I need to be more gentle and loving with her.  Once I realized this, I became acutely aware of the shame in her eyes when I would belittle her, or snap at her.  It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.  I love this little girl more than life itself.  I would do anything for her.  I would give anything for her happiness.  I've really had to take a step back.  It's taken baby steps....but I've been working very hard to be more kind when I get upset.  I've also been working hard to look at the big picture and to not take it so personally when she does something I don't like.  And most importantly, I've been working hard to consider her feelings before my own or anyone else's (friend's or random people in public).
 Children are so innocent and pure, and fragile.  I would hate to be the one that destroyed her confidence, and love for herself. 
Like I said, it's taken a while, and I'm not EVEN CLOSE to being perfect at it....but I'm working on it, and I see a HUGE improvement already.  Her eyes light up a lot more when she talks to me.  She's been a lot more affectionate with me.  She tells me out loud that she loves me all the time.  And she seems to be more confident in every aspect really.  Just seeing this change in her is amazing, and spurns me on to continue trying to be more kind and loving when upset.
I thank God that I realized this now, and not 20 years from now.  But even if it were 20 years later...I know it is NEVER too late to change.  It may be hard, but it will be worth it.


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