Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is It So Tough To Be 7?

I had a disturbing thing happen tonight. While my 7 year old daughter was in the tub, I was folding towels and we were talking about being nice to others. She said that she's not nice and that she's bad. She meant it. In a split second, I realized that I needed to treat this statement seriously so I looked around the tub door and told her that she was not mean, she was a sweet person. I also, truthfully, said that she sometimes said or did bad things but that she wasn't a bad person. I don't know if she believed me but we went on to other things.

Thinking back on this conversation now, I know how easy it is for girls to feel badly about themselves, even at her age. From what I've observed, girls tend to want to please but they sometimes reach a point where they decide they can't please or maybe they've been told too many times that they aren't being nice and so they believe they are a bad person. Something like that. Carmen has been getting more and more, well, joyless. Sarcastic. She's funny a lot of the time because I don't expect such sardonic comments from her - I mean, she is ONLY 7, with a much more mature sense of humor than we expect of her. But with that sarcasm (which I try to quell) comes a child who perhaps sees things negatively. Perhaps her self-esteem is low and so her sarcasm is a product of that. Or the other way around. I don't know. I'm chattering here because I'm trying to make sense of this and wondering what I can do for her. Got any suggestions? I know there are several of you who have girls older than mine. Is this normal for a 7 year old girl? I have two older boys, so girlhood is all new for me. I was raised with 3 older sisters along with all the influence they had on me. I suspect it's the attitude of my 10 year old son who has had the most influence on Carmen. Which could explain a lot. Perhaps I need to work on his attitude and then it would rub off on her. No? Maybe? Or send them both to a good boarding school in Europe?

So ... how does one genuinely help a child to have better self-esteem? And, is that even the issue? I think we encourage her appropriately, not too much or too little and with sincerity. I can't let this go, I need to deal with this now or it will only grow. No, I'm not freaking, just being a parent.

Let me know what you think.


Emily said...

You did totally right. You just stopped what you were doing to encourage her. That's what being a mom is all about. You passed the test Kate!

I don't really remember my now 8 yo (nearly 9) having said those things, but her spirit was definately more awakened to her own sin. Things we read from the Bible are deeper to her. She's my true Sanguine child, and life's a party. But last year we struggled with some lying issues and she was very, very different for a while. More sensitive you'd say.

Thankfully she's back to her happy-go-lucky self. Now her 'issue' is whining. :)

I think you're doing a great job. your kids are a credit to you.

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

I agree with Emily. You did what you could for the moment and that's all we can do.
Just depend on God for every situation.
I need to work on my own advice, though.