Stop Nagging and Start Helping Your Child Build a Better Self Esteem for Better Behavior
This Halloween weekend I realized I have been failing my daughter... BIG TIME!
It first became obvious after Samantha sat in mustard in her brand new, custom made, My Little Pony "pinkie pie" costume. She hadn't even made it to trick-or-treating and had already stained it, with mustard all over her face, on her sleeve, and on one of the neighbor kid's coats. Grrrrrrrr! She is extremely messy.
I immediately became upset; I was disappointed that her new body suit was soiled and she may have ruined someone else's coat, which I was going to have to pay to replace. I told her to come back to our house - NOW. She was embarrassed, in tears, and I was furious. I went on to tell her how frustrated I was, and that she was so messy (YIKES! Parenting Fail). She cried that it was all her fault, that she was a horrible stupid person, and even went on to hit herself on the head. Of course, I told her she was not a horrible, stupid person, but the damage had already been done. My actions reinforced the negative. Eventually, I had the stains on her costume cleaned up well enough she could resume trick-or-treating with her friends, and I was able to get the mustard off the neighbor kid's jacket.
The next day I was in the kitchen while Samantha and Eric were in the family room. I could hear him constantly nit-picking. "'Watch out for this,' 'look at all the crumbs getting everywhere,' 'pick that up,'" and so on. I knew I had been doing the exact same thing he was doing, and saying the same things. It was then I finally realized we were failing her.
All that nagging has subliminally told her she is not good enough, she is not doing it the right way, and that she is not aware. All that negative nagging noise gets translated into her believing "I am a stupid horrible person." It's heartbreaking, and we caused it.
After Samantha went to bed my husband and I discussed the nagging issue. I told him I believed all the nagging was leading to her towards a low self esteem and playing into why she hits herself when upset. He agreed that that could be a very likely possibility.
Right then and there we decided we needed to change - find ways to help her build confidence and improve her self esteem. Only then could we see if all the self-hitting and negative self talk would decrease, too. I will be honest with you, I really don't have a real sense of what, exactly, that means we need to do just yet, but we'll figure it out.
I will keep you posted of what we do, how we do it, and what we find works (and doesn't work) so you may benefit, too. Stay tuned. In the meantime ask yourself , "Am I nagging my kids all the time?" Or, "How do I build up my child's self esteem and confidence?"