Monday, December 15, 2008

Sorry Tears

I was showing Josie how to send an e-mail and she kept trying to tap random keys instead of listening to my instructions on what she should do next. I got frustrated and snapped at her, "Would you please just stop and listen to me?"

There must have been something in my tone of voice that really hurt her because she immediately stopped and sat still with her head down. Just seeing her like that broke my heart. I don't think she was upset that she'd done something wrong. She wasn't upset that I yelled at her because I didn't really raise my voice very much. I think what really hurt her was the feeling that her mother wasn't pleased with her.

Later that night when I was tucking her into bed, I said, "Josie I'm so sorry about snapping at you earlier today. I still feel really bad about that."

She answered with a very tiny sad voice, "Mommy, please let's stop talking about that because it's making me very sad."

I think I sometimes forget how sensitive Josie can be. I think of her as a tough girl and often remind her that she's tough, like her mother. But sometimes just a harsh word or a feeling that I'm not pleased with her for some reason cuts into her worse than any scolding, time-out, or other punishment.

I have to keep this in mind. These are not the kinds of memories I want her to have of me. I don't want her heart to ache at the thought that she had displeased me in some way.


Angel said...

I do that sometimes to my kid because I am by nature a very quick-tempered person.

But because I am also aware how much heartbreak it can cause my son and how much things like anger and violence get passed on to the people around us when we flare up at them, like you, I will usually apologize to him and explain to him why I lost my temper.

After that, I ask him if he'll forgive me. And then I hug him ask him if he is ok and he usually nods his head.

I think there is nothing a little love cannot patch up.

I had a friend whose mum caused him a lot of grief and sadness in a particular episode that took place when he was 4 years old. But now that he is 30+, he says that he turned out ok and not scarred or anything in the end because his mother had given him tonnes of love.

Natalia said...

Hi Shin.

Because she's the oldest, I often treat K. as "the tough one" and come down too hard on her for minor transgressions. I can be hot-tempered and often worry I will pass down this fault.

Thanks for writing about this. I think we often treat our kids like little adults as we rush around in daily life and need to be reminded of their vulnerability.



Daniel said...

Hi Shin.

Don't feel bad. I'm sure she will understand. Just look at this blog and I'm sure she will only be proud of her mum. Saw your previous post. I feel happy for you. Also, I want to wish you an early merry X'mas and happy new year.


Ben Lee said...

We do that to our loved ones sometimes. It is easy and human to be critical and short-tempered. But what matters most is to reflect and explain your intentions to your loved ones. Apologise if one is in the wrong.

a xx said...

My mother has a huge amount of patience. I really admire this but at the same time, it does surprise me as she could be pretty quick tempered when I was growing up always very warm and loving but perfectly capable of biting our heads of and having a rant when she was frustrated by our no doubt frustrating behaviour.

It's incredibly reassuring that I have this memory of her as I certainly can't live up to her current example. It reminds me that I'm completely normal in losing my patience from time to time and it's perfectly healthy for kids to experience this as it's all part of reality.

We're always in danger of wrapping our kids up in cotton wool although no danger of that at the moment in our household where emotions can run very high sometimes!

It's good for Josie to know her mum isn't perfect or that she has to live up to a perfect, saintly role model.

You can't be a feisty, active, dynamic personality and have the patience of a saint!

a xx

Paul said...

Kids drive you crazy sometimes (it's in their job description so they have to do it!)

When it's all calmed down I always say, "I love you even when I'm upset with you." They understand!

And you're right, Josie is tough (like her Mum) but she's also sensitive. We're all like that, different things at different times and with different people. Especially when we're growing up, sometimes we want to be grown up and independent, and sometimes we want to be a child and have a cuddle.

<*ANGEL*> said...

Paul's comment about how kids drive us crazy because it is part of their job description gets a thumbs up from me! hahaha..

Anonymous said...

It's not a perfect world and we all do that, it's part of life.