Ah the joys… and the struggles…
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter dearly. But to be honest, there are times when I
despise don’t particularly care for her actions, choices, words, or tone.
Repeatedly, I have explained the consequences of particular choices/actions
and I often hear, “I know” as a reply.
But when the time comes for those consequences, it’s quite the opposite.
“But I didn’t know!” rings through the house, often in a snippy tone and with tears.
Anyone else blessed with these battles?
Or maybe it’s just me…
Yeah, I thought not. 🙂
Last week’s battles were repeat offenders and they are extremely wearing on my patience. And I guess that lack of patience is primarily from already dealing with the same battles within myself. It’s a battle that I get to endure twice as often – her and me. 🙁
In all honesty, the hardest part for me is seeing my daughter beat herself up over and over and over. And as often is the case, things quickly spiral out of control. She is EXTREMELY sensitive! She is a perfectionist! When she struggles, her negative thought process takes over and it takes a lot to get her to refocus on the job at hand.
I understand her thinking, and for that I’m grateful. For good or bad, we are VERY much alike:
One simple mistake on my part can lead to a multitude of things: I’m a bad person, Christian, business owner, and of course a horrible mom. Why? Because I am all of those things. So if one part of me messes up, then all of me is wrong.
Now, I know that’s not the case! I know one action does not define a person! If I don’t immediately rein in my emotions, they can get away from me as fast as the speed of light. I have had to learn different techniques and managing my thought process and my habits during stressful and anxiety-filled situations. I don’t have it mastered. Far from it. But I can see improvements. It takes more to really knock me down than it used to. I guess I’m building some emotional muscles…
That brings me back to my daughter though. She doesn’t have those emotional muscles or that toolbox filled with possible techniques to handle her struggles. We are working on it. We’ve started addressing negative thought patterns, how they get overwhelming, and how to stop letting them grow.
There’s still a lot we have to work on yet, but we’re seeing progress. Friday, she was letting an assignment beat her. How? She took the struggle with an assignment as a representation that she was doing everything wrong. And ultimately, she was a bad kid. Ugh!! Talk about taking a wrong turn!!
It all started with the previous two assignments in the unit. She took shortcuts, and since they weren’t graded, I missed it. Well, that came back to bite her – a consequence of her choices. It meant she had to take two steps backward and do the previous lessons correctly in order to move on. Ultimately, she spent hours (6 to be exact) finishing this 40 minute lesson. That makes it difficult to get to other assignments for the day.
Now, before you go and judge me for making her stay on that assignment for that long, you need to know that we are down to 2 classes left – each with 4 lessons left, and she had spent the entire previous day working on the other class (avoiding it). In fact, it sat for months, nothing being done – even with gentle daily reminders that doing one lesson a day will finish it with a lot less difficulty. It’s one of those natural consequences…
In fact, once she finished the previous 2 assignments, she needed to write out the draft (that alone took her more than 3 hours – and it was copying 3 short paragraphs). Let me tell ya, this girl knows how to drag things out… my goodness!!
On the bright side, I did see a little glimmer of hope in there near the end of the day.
After “I wish I could just start my life over again, I’m so bad. I lie, cheat, and am just a bad kid!” I lost it!
I mean I lost it!
This was ridiculous!
There is ABSOLUTELY no reason that an assignment should have her thinking she’s a bad kid. She’s a great kid! Yeah, she’s learning from her mistakes, but that’s what kids do! SHE’S A GOOD KID!!
I needed to reset her thinking!
What started out as an assignment gone wrong, turned into her being a bad kid in her mind. That’s WAY out of whack and as far from the truth as possible.
I very loudly pointed out that she was letting her mind and emotions take over. That what she said was completely wrong! I firmly spoke truth about who she was, what she was capable of, and a few of the gifts God has blessed her with!
Instead, she needed to accept that the previous lessons were not her best work and that the consequence of not doing them correctly the first time was redoing them. That’s it. Now, all she could do was learn from that mistake and do her best with the rest.
She smiled! She finally smiled! After several hours of struggles and tears, she smiled!
I figured out something that works – at least for right now and I’m looking forward to making more progress along the journey.