I scold my girls, everyday it seems.
Don’t hit your sister.
Don’t put your shoes there.
Don’t be rude.
Don’t leave crumbs all over the floor.
Don’t break that.
Don’t leave your dirty clothes lying all over the floor.
Don’t go out into the street.
Don’t do this…Don’t do that!
Telling my girls what they shouldn’t do, and not really teaching them why.
And it didn’t occur to me until early this year that all my scolding could have a negative impact on the girls.
I grew up this way. My parents disciplined my sisters and I with an iron fist, and not once did we question their authority.
But times have definitely changed.
Early this year, I yelled at Annalise because of something she did wrong. I can’t remember the crime, but I remember the reaction.
Annalise’s tears were streaming down her face as she told me, “Mommy you don’t love me anymore.”
And she felt so disconnected from me that she even drew a picture of our lil’ family with her by herself in a little bubble with an X over her face, because she thought I didn’t love her anymore.
No words could express the shame and the guilt I felt after seeing that picture. And it made me realize that as a parent, I needed to do more than just discipline.
I needed to make a change…and fast!
I gave her a huge hug and told her that I loved her very much. Telling her that even though I may be angry with her, I still love her….a phrase I use a lot nowadays.
Sometimes we forget, as parents, what life was like as a kid. I remember feeling just as Annalise did. Wondering if my parents really loved me, and constantly comparing my home life with that of the Huxtable’s and the Tanner’s. And it took me a while to realize that my parents weren’t neglectful…they meant well.
I have high hopes for my children. I want them to grow up confident and fearless of the world. To be able to stand up for themselves and to make gratifying decisions.
Ever since that scary day, I make it a point to say, “I Still Love You”. Four simple words, that over time, can spark greatness in the women, I know my girls will become.
I’ve since, thrown that drawing away and am more cautious about the words I choose, and how I discipline. Something I’ve not yet perfected, but I’m trying…and that’s the best you can do as a parent…try.