A couple months ago, I wrote a blog about my four-year-old daughter dealing with a “mean girl” at her school. I am happy to report that the situation with this particular girl seems to be fine now, but there were several lessons I, as well as my daughter, learned along the way.
The incident first started with this little girl cutting my daughter’s hair. It escalated into a series of bruised shins over several weeks that my daughter finally told me was from this girl, and not the playground. Of course, my first reaction is that the uproariously angry momma bear comes out in me, and do what I need to make sure is my child is safe from harm. First thing the next morning, I did exactly that by alerting the teacher of what was going on. This of course thrilled my daughter that I stood up for her and handled the situation on her behalf.
A week later, she came home from school upset because a different child at school wouldn’t play with her. Immediately, she asked if I would go to school and talk to the teacher about demanding this child play with her. That’s when I realized what precedent I had set the week prior. She loved seeing me come to her rescue and handle the situation, and not once did I ever think about her handling a thing on her own. That was indeed a mistake on my part, because that seemed to have taught her that I am here to correct any situation for her. The situation with the mean girl certainly needed my intervention, because she needs to be separated from her until the mean girl can stop hurting my daughter. However, I did not do a good job explaining what my daughter needs to do to on her own to stand up for herself.
So, for the situation with the little girl who wouldn’t play with her, I let my daughter handle on her own by explaining the difference between this situation and the previous one. I am happy to report that the next day, she came home empowered and happy because she asked the girl who originally wouldn’t play with her if she wanted to go down the slide with her, and she did.
One thing I keep thinking about is that I am constantly learning with motherhood. Do I keep messing up? Yes, of course! However, it seems that as long as the focus is raising my child the best I can, learning from my mistakes, and quickly correcting them, that is what matters most. It is so important to me that my daughter grow up empowered, strong and able to fight her own battles.
How have you empowered your child(ren)?