In recent months, I have come to learn that my firstborn, Phoebie, is a very sensitive child. She has certain expectations for herself and whenever she makes mistakes and gets reprimanded, she take things hard.
There are certain mistakes that she will dwell on for hours, and make herself miserable. She will go over the mistake again and again and her imagination carries it further, in the negative direction.
Because of this, I have learnt to be careful with how I discipline her and with my choice of words. I do not go soft on discipline, because discipline is still important, but I learn to reconcile with her faster and with more affirming words after the disciplinary actions.
Today was another of those days. She had done something that made me blew my top. She was reprimanded and had certain privileges taken away. After the disciplinary actions, I could see that she was doing to dwell on this particular mistake. I decided that since I had an errand to run, I would take her with me and talk to her while we were out.
As we walked to the mall nearby, I started to talk to her. “Phoebie, let me ask you something. Whenever I am fierce and scold you, do you think I am a bad mummy?”
“No,” Phoebie replied.
“Why not?” I asked.
“You scold me because you want me to learn, so it doesn’t make you a bad mummy,” said Phoebie.
I must say that I was a tad surprised with her answer, but her answer worked in the direction I wanted to take our conversation,
“Now,” I continued, “In the same way, just because you make mistakes sometimes, it doesn’t make you a bad daughter. We all make mistakes from time to time, but the important thing is we learn from it and move on.”
One of the things I believe comes true is the theory known as the self fulfilling prophecy. As a child, there were many negative things spoken to me, and as a result, I had very low self esteem even in my teenage years. I didn’t want the same for my daughter.
“Here’s something I want you to learn to do every time you make a mistake, Phoebie,” I told her, “Tell yourself, ‘I am a teachable child. I will learn from my mistake and move on.’ Repeat this line.”
“I am a teachable child. I will learn from my mistake and move on,” Phoebie did as she was told.
“Good,” I said, “Now, I want you to remember this and learn from your mistakes. There is power in the words you say, and again, I want you to remember that just because you make mistakes, it doesn’t mean you are a bad daughter. Learn from your mistakes and move on.”
“Okay Mama,” Phoebie replied.