I could tell something was wrong.
From the other end of the swimming pool I watched the Big Sister's face change. She set her jaw. The lesson finished, her teacher gave her a high-five. I wrapped her in a towel and she immediately started to cry.
Then she said it. "I'm an idiot."
I'd spent the past thirty minutes marvelling at how good her swimming has become. She'd spent the past thirty minutes counting her mistakes.
It's not the first time that she's called herself an idiot. The past weeks she's said it a few times. I'm horrified each time. I hate the idea that her internal narrative could be so mean. I want to leap to her defence. Protect her from the bully, except the bully is her.
Last night I asked her where she'd heard idiot. It's not something that her father or I have ever said to her. She said she'd heard it at school.
I'm gutted that my beautiful, clever, vivacious, empathetic daughter thinks so poorly of herself at just six. I figured there'd be a period of self-loathing during her teenage years, but that's par for the course right?
How can I help her tame her inner voice? Mine is a nasty bit of gear and its taken me well into my thirties to stop believing all the awful things it whispers to me at 3am.
Are there any parents out there with experience with this? Help please?
This is something I struggle with as well. My gorgeous 13 year old son, has the most disturbing internal dialog, only yesterday I found a note he had written himself, telling himself how stupid and ugly he is. It's just devastating, and I like you, don't know what to do about it. I just want to climb into his head, and slay that dragon, but I really think the best I can do for him, is continue to be his biggest supporter, and be sure to surround him with positive people, to hopefully outweigh what he feels about himself. Much love and big hugs to you and your gorgeous girl. xxx
Amanda Smyth says
Oh Nicole. I'd have been devastated to find that note too. I love your turn of phrase - I'd love to climb in her head and slay the dragon too. Hugs to you two as well. xx
Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says
All my three say this from time to time and it's heartbreaking, I used to see red and get angry/upset/sad. Now I try to talk about how we must speak nicely to ourselves and tell ourselves how fabulous we are. I'm sure it's just a (horrible) phase x
I dont think you can change it for her, could anyone else have changed yours? I think the best thing you can do is what you're already doing, providing a nurturing and loving environment where she can feel safe in knowing that you always believe the very best of her and love her no matter what happens, and speak postively of yourself, that's a great example for her.
Amanda Smyth says
That's a very good point Carolyn. I doubt anyone could have change mine. Thanks. x
Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid says
It's a shame we can't climb into heads and all be dragon slayers (wouldn't that be nice?!) but love is powerful and it can slay dragons too x