A few days ago, number two was feeling really low and I could see it.
Number one was all over me but she just laid beside me seemingly absent. Then I don’t recall if she asked for anything in particular what I can vividly remember was her getting up from my bed and heading to her bed saying “no worries”.
That was rather unusual.
Number two can hardly ever walk away at a “No”. She is the one to negotiate when you say “not now”.
She would typically say “okay when?”.
But that night she said “no worries”.
So, I knew something was off.
When I asked number one to retire to bed, her face changed but I knew that it wasn’t deep.
So, I called number two, to come sit with me and to my surprise she said “thank you” in a very deep reflective mode.
Then I asked her what was bothering her.
I asked her to speak up, so that we could solve whatever it was together.
Then she said “I am so sad because I make everyone angry”
“I make Ms Efe angry, I make Briona angry and I make you angry”.
My heart broke.
I have been there before. Perhaps when I was younger, though not as young as she was.
It appeared that all I did was make mistakes. I moved from one mistake to another. So I was corrected over and over and over again.
The only thing in my consciousness was the mistakes I had made, how the people I lived with felt and all that I could imagine was my next mistake.
It’s the typical case of working on egg shells. It’s crazy if you feel that way when relating with one person but it can be overwhelming when that is the summation of your entire life.
It’s overwhelming and emotionally exhausting.
You can get to a state of hopelessness and worthlessness.
The thing with number two is that she is the energetic one that has the need to keep moving. I can imagine what she is like in class, I can imagine her teacher wonder why she won’t sit still through the class. She is the one who easily uses her hands. So, her big sister has to make the list of people she makes angry. Because it is a reflex reaction to use her hands whether to push or hit.
A few weeks ago, I made her write “My hands are for helping, my hands are for caring” about 20 times.
We are all in the list of people that she is now having the burden to “not make us angry”.
I know by first hand experience that these kind of emotion is a joy stealer.
So, that night, I called her and told her to take the corrections but not to go around with the words in her head.
I told her it was as simple as remember what is right per time. And when there are mistakes, we should remember to not make them another time.
It is not possible to address all those emotions in one night. I realize that she didn’t make herself and she is truly doing her best for her age and per time.
She once told me “I wish I could be obedient all the time”.
It’s going to take a lot of talking, a kind of talking and a new kind of response to when she makes ’mistakes’.
Yes, ‘mistakes’ and ‘reflex’ follow a different kind of discipline than deliberate defiance.
With kinesthetics (kids who have the need to move), many times, excitement takes over their sense of caution. They just get up and move.
I am going to for the next few weeks give her what I once desperately needed.
I realize as parents, we can only give grace, if we remember a time we needed it.
This does not in anyway imply indulging indiscipline. My children know what standards I stand for and many parents will not hold their children to the kind of standards I hold my children to.
However, discipline has to be wholesome. It should not be done without consideration for a child’s mental well being. We have to at each time ensure that our children are hearing and thinking right after a conversation.
I really do care that they do because I also misunderstood my own parents and guardians as a young child and made very poor decisions as a result.
Today, life through parenting is giving me the opportunity to raise a generation that is wholesome.
Irene Bangwell | Co-founder KNOSK.