Do you have a tape recorder?
Are your kids a tape recorder? You know those moments when they repeat something that you or a family member said.
My daughter is now. She’s 2 going on 20 and she says a lot of things that shock me. Most of what she says she says with attitude, and she copies me the most. I’ve never had a bigger mirror put in front of my face until I had kids. I now see mannerisms and hear phrases I didn't know I did or said. Some things she does or says, hurts to see and hear. They sound terrible or mean, but I’ve said them.
An example would be from earlier today. She had recently been put down for a nap, but she was playing in crib like she does from time to time before falling asleep. I was peeking through the slits in her door just observing because I heard her yelling from the floor below. She was yelling at her dolls! If you didn't already know this, kids mimic the adults around them because this is how they learn. And as I stated above, she copies me the most. She was apparently yelling at her Cinderella doll telling her to stop moving while she’s changing her diaper. She's also since then yelled at them to be quiet and other things like that.
Now, I know she isn't repeating horrible curse words or anything like that, but kids are pretty transparent. How she’s using those phrases is how she interprets what I’m saying to her. Can you say #momguilt? When I first witnessed this, I thought to myself, "Wow. Your kid thinks you yell at her all the time."
I’m doing my best to not let it make me feel guilty but rather be mindful of the experience and the emotions it brought up for me. I practice what I ask my client's to practice, which is mindfulness and reframing.
Here’s how I tried to get my brain to process this and reframe my above negative thought: “ok she repeated something I yelled at her earlier today. Wow that makes me feel like a terrible mother. But I know I’m a good mother and sometimes good mothers get frustrated. Maybe next time I can word it differently or say it in a softer tone. There will always be room for improvement. She’s healthy and doing well. I’m doing my job.”
If you have ever doubted yourself or your parenting, know you are not alone! Hang in there. You are doing your best, and there is no better parent for your kid than you!