You can look at someone and never know what they are thinking or what they may be going through. I don’t think you can ever truly know another person. There is another woman who takes a dance class with me. She is an amazing dancer and instructor, so poised and beautiful. After class, we started talking in the locker room and she said how she struggles so much with her confidence. It threw me for a loop; how women struggle with confidence. You would never know this woman ever suffered a day in her life. But the truth is, we do. Most women do struggle with confidence.
First things first, we need to teach our children confidence, by supporting and encouraging them. Well, that’s a no brainer. But sometimes it is hard. And sometimes we yell. I think this whole peaceful parenting thing is a load of crap. I do. I do think we need to raise our voices when our children are wrong, but it has to be at the appropriate time. It has to be appropriate to the behavior. I say emphatic “NO’s” to my one year old now. This is where she learns right and wrong. The problem is if we don’t do it the right way, it can become ineffective.
This happened to me today. And I worry, like every other parent, am I breaking my daughter’s confidence?
The same battles become exhausting. When do we push and when do we let go? And when, as parents, do we finally stop beating ourselves up?
I think about the dancing girl and I wonder why she lacks confidence. Was it parental mistakes? Was it other children breaking her down? Was it a belief she lacks in herself? Whatever it is, this is something that scares me the most about parenting. I want my daughters to be confident. And I do not want to be the cause of any lack of confidence. I don’t recall a time in my entire life when my mom made me feel bad. I hope, hope, and hope that my daughters will be able to say the same.
But the truth is, I will yell. But, I hope to do it effectively. And the truth is, I will make mistakes. But, I hope they know it makes me human. The truth is, other children may ridicule, but I hope there is a belief in them that comes from home, that’s strong.
I hope they know how wonderful they are. I hope I remember to tell them every day.
I hope they know that yelling does not mean, “I don’t love you.” I tell them that, but I hope they know.
And I hope that I can be consistent.
I hope my parenting is effective.
I hope I’m raising them right.
And I do think that if I question it, it means I’m doing something right, because we can always strive to be better.
But most of all, I hope I can trust myself, even when I doubt myself; that I would do anything to protect them.
I hope they know they are loved.
I hope they know I’m on their side.
And I hope with all hope that I can stop beating myself up and forgive myself as easily as I forgive them.
Finally, I hope they grow up and can dance in the light without self-doubt. I hope their beauty shines both within and without.
I hope that beautiful dance teacher knows how beautiful she is and how there are always people cheering her on.
After all, if anything, this is what we can do for each other. Build up. Shine on. Spread love.
Noreen Heffernan, Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies.